Watch the 2020 President's Briefing
2020 Donor Impact Report
A MESSAGE FROM SPACE CENTER HOUSTON'S PRESIDENT & CEO WILLIAM T. HARRIS
Space Center Houston, like other nonprofit organizations, relies on the philanthropic support of its community - the individuals and organizations who share an interest in human space exploration and the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs and experiences we offer.
Ticket revenue from visitors covers the general operating expenses of our science and space exploration learning center. For us to go beyond basic operations and offer visitors opportunities to experience new and innovative programming, we rely on gifts from the community.
Your generosity is important to our mission of sharing the wonders of space exploration with learners of all ages, particularly those students who we hope will one day fill the growing number of STEM-related jobs in our region. In addition, your generosity is vital to our efforts to continue opening our doors to the many under-resourced students and educators in our community. Contributions of any amount make a significant difference in helping us to increase the number of underserved students and educators we can serve through our outreach initiatives.
As we strive to serve more students and educators through new digital program offerings-many of which were created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic-we are excited about the opportunity to continue advancing our vision of inspiring the next generation of explorers, engineers and problem-solvers.
The commitment and generosity of our members and supporters plays a central role in advancing our mission and helps get us closer to achieving our goals. We simply could not do it without you. Thank you for supporting Space Center Houston in 2020.
William T. Harris President and CEO
CREATING SPACE FOR EVERYONE – THE IMPACT OF COVID-19
The unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic wreaked havoc on our world in 2020. Space Center Houston, along with many other organizations across the nation, was forced to close its doors in early March 2020 to help slow the spread of the highly contagious virus. Ultimately, the center remained closed for approximately four months.
Despite the stringent limitations imposed on our organization by local. state and national officials, our team remained committed to advancing our primary goal of creating space for everyone by keeping space and science learning accessible to all. We quickly collaborated on and off-site to build and launch plans that could keep us connected with supporters and members and meet our audience's increased demand for space-related digital content. We also carefully reviewed existing videotaped public programs and other available content to find segments we could adapt, digitize and share virtually with our audiences.
REACHING OUR AUDIENCE VIRTUALLY
To continue supporting our community during the COVID-19 pandemic, our team of educational specialists worked diligently to make the adjustment of learning from home easier for students, educators and families by producing on-demand, virtual programming. Each program provided learners of all ages with a wide range of educational opportunities related to science and space learning free of charge.
From March - December, our audiences enjoyed the following educational resources:
- 25,272 guests kept up with what was happening at Space Center Houston by visiting its weekly space history and trivia blog series.
- 22,663 guests participated virtually in Space Center Houston's "Thought Leader Series," archived TED-talk style presentations and panel discussions with leading minds in science and space exploration.
- 12,223 guests viewed "History Up Close," a weekly video series focusing on the center's artifacts and exhibits like the Mercury 9 "Faith 7" capsule, the Apollo 13 CO2 Scrubber and the Apollo 13 Lunar Module Plaque Replica.
In addition to these digital resources, we also created new distance learning opportunities featuring astronaut visits, briefings with NASA's Commercial Crew and watch parties for launches. To maximize and continue their impact, many of these programs were recorded, archived and remain available for viewing by guests on our website today.
VIRTUAL CAMPOUTS SERVE OUR COMMUNITY
In April 2020, our education team launched the first of a dozen free virtual camp-outs for community members under lockdown. Once again, educational specialists quickly adapted the same exciting in-center camping experiences that Space Center Houston is known for and made them available on select evenings for viewing from the comfort of participants' own backyards.
By the end of the 12-part series, which concluded in December, a total of 7,455 families camped in their backyards, used household items to make science come to life through engaging hands-on activities and were guided through an observation of the night sky by an education team member.
Ordinarily, our campout experiences are paid programs. However, in recognition of the financial difficulties the COVID-19 crisis created for many people, we offered virtual campouts free-of-charge and gave participants the option to "pay what you can" -an inclusive pricing strategy that eliminated financial barriers to participation.
To generate interest and excitement, campout themes were tied to current NASA missions. They also complemented traditional classroom learning by including hands-on, project-based learning activities. To encourage accessibility we provided one specially designed camp in with an ASL interpreter.
The education team worked to further enrich participants' experience with the following enhancements:
- Virtual astronaut visits from current NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and retired astronauts Ken Cameron; Brian Duffy; Anna Fisher; Mike Foreman; Fred Haise; Dotti Metcalf-Lindenburger; and Nicole Stott
- Special guest speakers including Dr. Robert Satcher, Associate Professor of the Department of Orthopaedic Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Shawn Dahl, Space Weather Forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; astronomer Jeff Hall of the Lowell Observatory; and Devon Debalsi, an engineer at Kennedy Space Center
DIGITAL RESOURCES INITIATIVE
In response to the pandemic, Space Center Houston launched its new Digital Education Resources Initiative, which helps to connect under-resourced communities with the exciting work of NASA scientists and engineers through a variety of digital offerings. The resources created through the initiative include engaging STEM lessons and activities that can be accessed online and then delivered digitally and seamlessly integrated into classroom curriculum.
For more than 20 years, the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation has consistently supported Space Center Houston's education programs, particularly its annual educator professional development conference, the Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC). In 2020, recognizing that our ability to connect with and inspire educators digitally was more important than ever, the foundation provided a grant to assist Space Center Houston in converting the in-person conference to an all-virtual conference platform for 2021.
Complementing their support of SEEC, the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation also provided a grant to strengthen our Digital Education Resources Initiative by providing the resources necessary to conduct a needs assessment of educators in the Houston-area and beyond. The needs assessment, taking place in early 2021, will seek input from district and school leaders, curriculum specialists, and local and national educators to inform the initial design and development of digital curricular resources to support STEM teaching.
The needs assessment is essential to the Digital Resources Initiative as it will help ensure we are building and delivering digital lessons and field experiences that are both useful and tailored to the curricular needs and objectives of classroom teachers.
We are especially grateful to the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation for their continued support as it helps send a powerful message to the community about the importance of providing quality and engaging STEM programming for children, students and educators.
Space Center Houston also provided in-person opportunities for learning and excitement, in significantly reduced numbers due to the pandemic
- 26,816 guests participated in Pop-up Science Labs, presented by Chevron
- 19,433 students, including 9,839 from Title 1 schools, visited our center
- 6,390 guests participated in Distance Learning programs
- 3,032 guests participated in Camp-Ins
- 2,106 guests participated in Stars & STEM evening programs
- 1,088 elementary, middle and high school girls participated in Girls STEM Pathway, presented by Boeing
- 609 formal and informal educators participated in our 26th annual Space Exploration Educators Conference
- 582 school-age children participated in Explorer Camps
- 417 middle and high school students participated in Space Center University®
- 132 students participated in Exploration Academy
APOLLO 13 SCULPTURE
In early 2020, Space Center Houston received an extraordinary grant from The Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Illinois, to fund the creation of a seven-foot bronze statue of Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise. This one-of-a-kind statue serves to honor both the Apollo 13 astronauts and the flight controllers in Mission Control at NASA Johnson Space Center.
Apollo 13 was to be the third lunar landing; however, the mission was aborted and became a rescue mission to bring Lovell, Swigert and Haise safely back to Earth after one of the oxygen tanks in the Service Module exploded.
The astronauts and flight controllers worked around the clock for over five days to ensure the crew's survival and safe return. The statue portrays the moment Lovell, Swigert and Haise stepped down from the recovery helicopter onto the USS lwo Jima in the Pacific Ocean. Lovell says that when they stepped onto the aircraft carrier that was the precise moment when he felt they had made it home.
Lessons learned from the Apollo 13 mission continue to guide NASA today. NASA dubbed the mission a "successful failure" because of the experience gained in rescuing the crew. This new exhibit allows us to share how innovation, perseverance and true teamwork can achieve incredible success and inspire the next generation of explorers.
THE GENE KRANZ SCHOLARSHIP
In early 2017, Space Center Houston launched its $5 million "On a Mission" campaign to restore historic mission control with legendary Apollo-era Flight Director Gene Kranz leading the way. For Kranz, restoring the historic Mission Operations Control Room was a mission of the heart. He approached the endeavor just as he had the many successful spaceflight missions that had taken place under his leadership during the Apollo program, declaring to the nation, once again, that failure was not an option.
Thanks to his extraordinary leadership, the City of Webster - the first major donor to the campaign -- answered the call with a $3.5 million lead gift. Webster also partnered with us on our organization's first ever Kickstarter Campaign, which we appropriately dubbed, "the Webster Challenge" to help reach the $5 million goal for the project.
To express our gratitude to Gene Kranz for his extraordinary leadership of On a Mission, we established a scholarship in his honor. The new Gene Kranz scholarship will provide tuition support for select students to attend our renowned Space Center University - a week-long, immersive engineering design program that encourages in its students the same qualities that Kranz made famous: competence under pressure, innovative problem solving and excellent teamwork.
We thank the donors who made a contribution to the Gene Kranz scholarship program in 2020 and encourage others to visit spacecenter.org/support/make-a-gift to support this meaningful initiative.
BOEING HELPS BUILD THE GIRLS STEM PATHWAY
In 2020, Boeing donated millions to various nonprofits working to address racial equity, social justice and workforce development - especially for women and minorities - in the U.S.
These contributions were aimed at increasing the number of minority and underserved students pursuing STEM education and diversifying the aerospace talent pipeline.
Space Center Houston, a recipient of Boeing's generous investment, is proud to partner with our most loyal philanthropic partner to date to maximize their impact on the future by expanding the success of Girls STEM Pathway initiative to serve more girls.
Girls STEM Pathway, presented by Boeing, is a comprehensive six-phase program that includes an introductory elementary school experience, a middle school project-based STEM experience, a summer bridge program with mentoring support and a program for high school girls to engage in authentic space challenges and scientific research. It is dedicated to engaging girls through authentic STEM learning experiences that fuel their imaginations and building their confidence with 21st century skills.
Girls STEM Pathway's foundation is built on the success of various youth STEM initiatives like Exploration Academy designed to encourage underserved middle school students to learn and apply STEM concepts and skills through hands-on learning opportunities.
During 2020, 1,052 girls participated in Girls STEM Pathway activities, both in-person and virtually.
Beyond financial program support, Boeing encourages its employees, especially female engineers, to contribute their time and energy to mentoring young girls participating in Girls STEM Pathway.
We deeply appreciate Boeing's continued support for the Girls STEM Pathway. We are proud of our shared efforts to empower the next generation of female scientists, explorers and problem-solvers and look forward to growing our mentoring program to serve additional students in need.
STEM INNOVATION IN SCHOOLS – PRESENTED BY CHEVRON
Chevron is a strong supporter of the community and a long-time advocate for education programs at Space Center Houston. We have a shared goal of preparing students to pursue STEM careers and enter the future STEM workforce.
In 2020, we teamed up with Chevron to begin planning a new pilot program to launch in 2021 to strengthen our partnership with educators in Title 1 schools in the Greater Houston-area. This experiential program, STEM Innovation in Schools, is a ground-breaking initiative designed to help expand our educational outreach to more students in and around our community and introduce authentic STEM learning inside the traditional classroom setting.
Through Space Center Houston's STEM Innovation in Schools program, our team of education specialists will create space-related challenges that can be scaffolded and completed at various levels of difficulty for elementary, middle and high school age students. Each challenge will tie directly to a current NASA mission and will serve to encourage critical thinking, enhance problem-solving skills and cultivate innovation among participants. Challenge solutions will require students to work together, conceptualize and present STEM concepts and solutions that could help resolve technical problems related to real NASA missions. Participating educators each will be paired with a Space Center Houston education specialist for ongoing support to help to encourage student success.
We are deeply grateful to Chevron for their investment in the community we share through this new STEM Innovation in Schools initiative. Thanks to their generous support, educators participating in the program will improve their confidence in using experiential learning opportunities like space-based challenges, while students will increase and sustain their interest in STEM-related skills.
Space Center Houston's third biennial luncheon, chaired by Gracie and Bob Cavnar, was set to take place May 28, but the pandemic forced its cancellation, along with many other fundraising events in the Houston community.
"Artemis - Return to the Moon, Girls Leading the Way" had been slated to honor three extraordinary female aerospace leaders (Leanne Caret, president and CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security; Ellen Ochoa, astronaut and former center director of NASA Johnson Space Center; and Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer, SpaceX) and raise funds to expand participation in Space Center Houston's Girls STEM Pathway initiative.
Later in the fall, we replaced our in-person Annual President's Luncheon with a virtual briefing on programs and initiatives. Led by President and CEO William T. Harris, the briefing shared details of the center's response to COVID-19 and highlighted major contributions to the center in 2019, including: Boeing's generous grant for the Girls STEM Pathway; Chevron's support for in-center Pop Up Science Labs; and SpaceX's donation of a twice-flown Falcon 9 rocket booster - the center's first commercial space artifact exhibit.
The briefing also included an in-depth presentation by Space Center Houston Board Member Julie Kramer White, Deputy Director of Engineering at NASA Johnson Space Center. She provided viewers with an update on the current status of the Artemis mission to the Moon and eventually Mars.
THE YEAR END CHALLENGE
In November, we launched our annual year-end campaign to support much-needed youth STEM programs and the creation of new digital education resources. Inspired by the center's progress in adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Board Member Peggy Kostial gifted the organization a generous 1 :1 match to promote participation in the yearend appeal for the 2020 Annual Fund. Thanks to this challenge gift, 100 percent participation from fellow board members and contributions from loyal Space Center Houston donors and members like you, we ended 2020 on a high note, raising $109,000 in just under two months to support youth STEM education programs.
We are deeply appreciative of our community's support, and we know that we could not have achieved our goals for 2020 without you. The entire Space Center Houston team thanks each and every one of our members and supporters for helping to advance our mission.
2019 Honor Roll of Donors
The 2020 Honor Roll of Donors recognizes supporters who have made gifts totaling $50 or more between Jan. 1, 2020 and Dev. 31, 2020. We proudly recognize members of our Discovery Circle, whose membership includes a philanthropic gift to Space Center Houston. Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of names and data. Please bring any errors or omissions to our attention at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mallory Rogers at +1-281-283-7710.
$100,000 and above
$50,000 - $99,999
$25,000 - $49,999
$10,000 - $24,999
$5,000 - $9,999
Bud and Maryjane Scherr
$2,500 - $4,999
Betsy and Fred Griffin
Karen and Rich Jackson
Harvin C. Moore
Ellen Ochoa and Coe Miles
Kim and Dan Tutcher
$1,000 - $2,499
Combined Federal Campaign
William T. Harris
Keith and Alice Mosing
Susmita and Syamal Poddar
Vivian and Bill Wied
John G. Ball
Sharon and Joseph Carter
Kevin Clarke and Mary Urillo
Susan and Marc Dechellis
Chris and Kristin Edelen
Mary and Lou Falk
Cullen K. Geiselman
Mary Ann Goodwin
Paul and Carolyn Guercio
Patron level members
Courtney and Michael Boudreaux
Axelle and Cedric Bouleau
Yuko Toyama and Seth Cenac
Clae and Gilbert
Corrales Genith and Ed Crawford
Ann and Bill Davidson
Joanne Debyah and William Lynn
Pat and Dennis Eker
Mike and Lorrie Foreman
Elena and Dodd Hackman
Rhonda and Russell Handy
William T. Harris
Kristina and Andy Haygood
Kathleen and Denny Holt
Laura and Lee Hutchinson
Annalise and Cameron Jensen
Irene Hickey and Lindsey Kroll
Lisa and James Mathis
April and Wells McGee
Robin and Matt McKenzie
Alexis and Todd Mitchell
Kelly and Stu Obkirchner
Donna Peterson and Alan Tegeler
Susmita and Syamal Poddar
Girish and Mallik Putcha
Kelly and Mark Puzdrak
Tracy and Mike Scott
Savita and Sanjeev Singh-Varma
Nicole and James Smith
Cali and Robert Sokol
Tara and Harvey Stotland
Veronica and Marshall Sullivan
Amy and Mark Tredway
Annette Hall Wade
Nanette and Rick Waegner
Vivian and Bill Wied
Melissa and Clint Zeringue
Contributor level members
Terry and David Brownhill
Valerie Buckner and David Haglund
Lisa and Charles Campisi
Leslie and Christopher Carson
Sharon and Joseph Carter
Jamila and Oliver Chambers
Rosalinda and Joseph Curtin
Mary and Joseph Dervay
Teri and Ed Dominguez
Michelle and David Fanelli
Gillespie and Kyle Gupton
Greg Gilley and Heather
Snow Willow Grant
Linda and Mike Guilette
Christine and Dewayne High
Joy and Don Kelly
Mary and Frank Korona
Sarah and Adam Korona
San Kee and Chee Leow
Mauri and Theodore Lucas
Trish and Patrick Maynard
Jane and Travis McKenzie
Claire and Mark Mead
Linda C. Murray
Louisa B. Reid
Lacey and Chris Searcy
Joy and Timothy Vidimos
Chellsie and Emilio Villegas
Kokilaben and Pradipkumar
Vora Pam and Carl Walz
Virginia Seale Watt
Ruth and James Whiddon
Michele and Robert Wilkinson
Supporter level members
Pamela Sporing Altman and Steven Altman
Julie and Craig Anderson
Melissa and Robert Becker
Anne and Bill Bella
Irina and Igor Borbot
Tiffany Hickingbottom and Randy Brown
Beau and Millicent Briese
Michelle and Jason Clark
LeeAnna Pruski and Clint Claxton
Anna and Ben Cook
Diane and James Cooper
Susan and Marc DeChellis
Michele and Michael Echeandia
Hugh and Mary Ferguson
Elizabeth Garney and Matthew Mars
Jaclyn Gilbert and Roberto Diaz
Micah and Andy Holcombe
Pamela and Robert Hughes
Arlynn and Greg Kelleher
Joan and Mario Marchelli
Susan and Michael McCoy
Denise and Keith McIntosh
Kelly and David Rose
Raffaella Righetti and Eric Sabonghy
Veronica Vielma and Juan Pablo Sandino
Quincy and Russell Smith Nicholas J. Sucic
Geri and Ted Vidimos
Karen Villatoro and Mario Colorado
Barbara and Shawn Walker
Sandra and Julian Zapp
Join Space Center Houston's community of contributors and help us continue growing the number of learners who enter the STEM pathway! Every gift is tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations.