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Living Coast Discovery Center Raises Enough Money To Remain Open

Evening Edition

Aired 10/28/13 on KPBS News.

An outpouring of community support will allow The Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista to keep its doors open after a $200,000 deficit.

The Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista has raised enough money to avoid closing its doors.

Earlier this month, representatives of the 26-year-old zoo and aquarium announced that a lapse in grant funding had resulted in a budget deficit of $200,000. The center had a deadline of Oct. 28 to raise the money, and created a closing plan that would be implemented if the fundraising goal was not met.

On Oct. 28, Sherry Lankston, manager of the center, announced the Living Coast Discovery Center were not closing, but had raised nearly twice the original goal. In 27 days, local business, foundations and private citizens donated $401,064 to keep the center open.

LJ Livingston, a frequent visitor to the center, took to social media to raise awareness about Living Coast’s fundraising goal.

“We did everything we could to spread the word. I was on Facebook every day and we created some fundraisers,” Livingston said.

Ben Vallejos, chief operating officer of the center, said the extra money will allow for the center to not just stay open, but thrive.

“We are grateful to now be in a strong financial position to execute our new strategic plan and achieve long-term sustainability for the center. Our future has never looked more promising,” Vallejos said.

Living Coast’s strategic plan includes expanding programs for students and collaborating on research with scientific organizations.

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