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Birch Aquarium In La Jolla Gets $6M Donation

The Birch Aquarium Thursday announced a $6 million donation from philanthropists Robert and Allison Price to expand its educational outreach programs.

The gift is the largest received by the aquarium since 1986. The funds are designed to expand access to the aquarium's current outreach programs and support development of a new education program for students throughout San Diego County.

Aquarium officials said the Price Philanthropies Ocean Science Education Fund will advance student engagement in science and inspire interest in technology, engineering and math. It will also provide a blueprint for how teachers, informal science educators and scientists can work together to transform science education.

"Our primary interest in our philanthropy is supporting families, and particularly youth, in disadvantaged or challenged communities," Robert Price said. "So the gift is really intended to make it possible for children to take advantage of this wonderful Birch Aquarium resource, hopefully to become excited about marine biology and protecting the environment — and get a bigger picture of the world."

Allison Price said that if young people receive more education, chances will be better that they will maintain the environment.

"You never know who's going to be the next scientist that's going to discover something," she said. "It makes us feel so good to see young people getting excited. It's worth so much just to see their faces, and see the excitement."

Price Philanthropies, which used to be named the Price Family Charitable Fund, was founded by Price Club founder Sol Price and his wife Helen in 1983. Their son Robert is president of the foundation and chairman of the board of PriceSmart Inc., the largest operator of membership warehouse clubs in Latin America.

"The Price family has a long legacy of positive impact on UC San Diego and our region," said Pradeep Khosla, the university's chancellor. "Now, thanks to this generous investment in education outreach by Allison and Robert and Price Philanthropies, we can further expand UC San Diego's community outreach efforts and resources to inspire and encourage our region's youth to enter STEM careers."

STEM refers to the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

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