DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Celebrating National First Responders Day, Perot Museum of Nature and Science leaders announced Tuesday, Margot and Ross Perot have donated $5 million to expand access to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) experiences for North Texans, including free admission for first responders, active duty and veteran members of the military, and $1 admission for underserved families and schoolchildren.

The grant also provides financial aid for field trips, lab-based education programs and outreach experiences for schools.

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“The Perot Museum’s mission is to inspire minds through nature and science. Igniting a passion for discovery is key to encouraging and developing our future leaders,” said Dr. Linda Silver, Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. “Research shows that informal STEM experiences like visits to a museum are where most lifetime science learning occurs. It has long been our dream to expand accessibility to those experiences, and this incredible gift from Mr. and Mrs. Perot will help make that possible.”

Part of this grant will expand the museum’s financial aid that, since its 2012 opening, has provided visits or outreach programs to Title I schools that might not otherwise be able to afford them.

In little more than five years the museum says it has distributed more than $2.5 million in financial aid funding, serving more than one million children as part of its mission to serve the North Texas community.

The demand for financial aid continues to grow as nearly 250,000 schoolchildren from all over North Texas engaged with Perot Museum exhibits and programs in the last year alone, with approximately a third receiving some form of financial aid.

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“The museum was built with a vision to be experienced and enjoyed by everyone,” said Mr. and Mrs. Perot. “We’re delighted this gift will open doors and make this world-class museum accessible to all children and adults along with those who so bravely serve and protect our community and our country.”

Another portion of the gift will support complimentary general admission for active-duty members and veterans of the United States military along with law-enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics/EMTs plus $3 off general admission for members of their immediate families (up to six family members). Since 2015, the museum has offered this program from Memorial Day through Labor Day to coincide with family vacation time, but the museum says the demand has grown each year. Thanks to this gift, the complimentary admission will now be offered year-round.

“This gift honors the people who make incredible sacrifices for us every day,” said Mac MacFarland, CEO of GenOn Energy and chair of the Perot Museum board of directors. “And with the Perot family’s long legacy of support for our military and first responders, it was a perfect fit to have them support this initiative. We are so pleased to provide those who serve and protect us – both locally and overseas – complimentary admission to enjoy a fun day of enriching educational experiences.”

“This is more than just a gift to the Perot Museum; it’s a gift to the community,” said Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano. “By making museum experiences accessible to all children and adults, Mr. and Mrs. Perot are jumpstarting the next generation of scientists, innovators and dreamers. We greatly appreciate the opportunity for every child and adult to enjoy, learn and grow year-round at the Perot Museum.”

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