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CAMPAIGN TO RE-OPEN STATUE OF LIBERTY RECEIVES GROUNDSWELL OF SUPPORT Foundation Provides Update on Fundraising and Project Status
Today The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. provided an update on its Campaign to Re-Open the Statue of Liberty, which has been closed since September 11, 2001, due to safety and security concerns. The Foundation announced that with funds collected and pledged since the campaign’s launch in September 2003, it has passed its original estimated milestone, with a total of $5.6 million raised. However, it added that the scale for the project’s plans has broadened during the development phase indicating that the cost will be approximately $7 million. The Foundation will therefore continue its fundraising campaign at least until this need is met. The National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior (NPS/DOI), the steward of the Statue of Liberty, is actively working to design a plan that protects visitors, employees and the Statue itself. Ultimately, a final decision for the work at the Statue, which would lead to the re-opening, rests with the Secretary of Interior. Major contributors to the campaign have included American Express, the project’s Principal Partner, which donated $3 million and launched a major public awareness effort by commissioning a documentary by Martin Scorsese and promoting the campaign through print and television advertising. Folgers Coffee, the project’s Official Sponsor, has pledged to help raise $1 million for the effort primarily through a major promotion to be launched in Spring 2004. The Annenberg Foundation added its support with a $1 million grant to the project. In addition, the New York Daily News has pledged $100,000 and has asked its readers to join the cause by making individual donations, the MetLife Foundation has contributed $100,000 and individuals across the country have supported the effort through donations made at the project’s website www.statueofliberty.org The Foundation was asked by the NPS/DOI, who runs the Statue of Liberty and is its sole decision-making body, to raise the funds necessary to make a number of critical improvements to the Statue including: upgrading safety, fire and emergency notification systems, creating additional exits from the Statue’s base and enhancing visitor safety measures throughout the Statue. The Foundation has engaged architects and engineers to provide a variety of design solutions for additional egress from the Statue. The NPS/DOI is currently reviewing the possibilities along with the New York State Historic Preservation Officer who by law must be consulted on decisions affecting historic structures. Once a specific plan is selected by the Secretary of Interior, architectural drawings will be made available. “We are extremely gratified by the level of support we have received from our sponsors, generous benefactors and the American people,” said Stephen A. Briganti, President and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. “While we await a final design decision by the NPS/DOI, we recognize that the costs of the project will be greater than originally envisioned. The Foundation will therefore continue our campaign until this new need is met.” On 9/11, the National Park Service closed the Statue of Liberty National Monument due to direct terrorists threats. On December 20, 2001 Liberty Island reopened to the public and since then more than four million people have enjoyed the park. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation works in partnership with the National Park Service to enhance the protection of the monument and safety of her visitors.