A Message from Gail Asper, National Campaign Chair
When we began the campaign to build the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, we were trying to sell Canadians on an ambitious dream for a very new kind of national museum - a catalyst for change that would inspire people to battle intolerance around the world; a dynamic centre for human rights study and activity; and a globally recognized architectural icon for human rights. No new national museum had been created since 1967, none had ever been located outside of Ottawa, none had ever been created in partnership with the private sector and all levels of government and none had included a built-in, funded student travel program.
It was a tall order, and many told us that it simply could not be done. But if I learned one lesson from my late father, Israel Asper, O.C. O.M, who was the visionary who dared even propose such a dream, it is that anything is possible – all you need is more determination than the guys who are trying to stop you. We – all of us who were inspired by his “reach for the stars” dream and who have carried it forward since his passing – have proved to be very determined. I am very proud to say that construction of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights began in April 2009.
I am so grateful to Canadians and people from around the globe who have reached into their pockets to help ensure that this museum is truly Canada’s gift to the world. They have come with multi-million dollar pledges and with piggy banks bursting with coins. And every one has come with the desire to be part of something that will leave a significant imprint on Canada and the world.
In addition to securing more than $160 million in capital funds from federal, provincial and city governments, Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights has so far raised more than $130 million in private sector donations. We are continuing to seek private and public sector funding until our campaign is complete.
As the fundraising body for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Friends’ efforts won’t stop when that goal is achieved. We will simply start working toward a new goal. The national student travel program will require a substantial endowment fund, and, like every national museum, the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will conduct annual fundraising to support its operations.
We need your support today and tomorrow – not only to build this museum, but also to ensure that it thrives for generations to come.