The Alaska Native nonprofit organization Sealaska Heritage Institute announced Tuesday that it is receiving a “substantial donation” from a large private foundation to help fund construction of the Walter Soboleff Center in downtown Juneau.
The Vancouver, Wash.-based M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust is contributing $500,000 toward the center, according to SHI’s announcement.
“So exciting!” said SHI President Rosita Worl, reacting to the news in a recording released by the institute. “I don’t know if people heard me screaming and shouting down from my end of the office, ‘We got the grant!’ It’s just marvelous to have that kind of support from these private foundations.”
According to the statement, Worl said the contribution marks the first time SHI has secured funding from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.
“This was a very significant and large grant to us,” Worl said. “It was larger than what we had hoped for, so it was really an awesome surprise for us.”
SHI is in the final phase of fundraising for the center, which will cost about $20 million to build.
The planned facility has also received support from the State of Alaska, the City and Borough of Juneau, and private organizations. Construction on the center, which is named for the late Walter Soboleff, former chairman of the institute’s board of trustees, is slated to begin this year.