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Maritime center needs to 'close the deal' soon

With just days until a March 31 deadline, the Northwest Maritime Center of Port Townsend, Wash., is within $100,000 of completing its $12.8 million building campaign but needs donations to trigger challenge grants of $600,000 from the Kresge Foundation and $500,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"We're very optimistic with the response that we've had so far," said Steve Oliver, president of the Northwest Maritime Center board of directors, in a press release. "But we still have to close the deal or we lose $1.1 million."

In addition to preserving and celebrating the nautical heritage of the region, the maritime center provides educational, cultural and practical programs (such as sail training) for youth, adults and school groups throughout the year. It is also the home to the Wooden Boat Foundation, which stages Port Townsend's Wooden Boat Festival every September.

Achieving the goal will cap the campaign and bring to a close the center's 10-year fund-raising drive. Since the beginning of this year, more than $338,000 has been raised toward the challenge, with many new donors stepping forward, the center reports.

As the campaign nears the deadline, many prior donors have reaffirmed their support by making additional gifts, including the campaign's "first donor" Camilla Chandler, who contributed $75,000 to "make it happen."

To learn more or make a secure pledge online, visit www.nwmaritime.org or call capital campaign manager Lenore Goldstein at (360) 385-3628, ext 111.

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