NATCHITOCHES – Contributions of any size are being sought through October to match a $250,000 challenge grant supporting the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum exhibits, after the challenge has been extended until

Oct. 31 from its origination on Sept. 1.

The museum in Natchitoches, a 27,500-square foot structure facing Cane River Lake in the downtown National Historic District, is nearing completion while the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation is seeking over $700,000 in private funding to complete exhibits for an opening next summer. Successfully matching the $250,000 challenge grant will provide $500,000 of that target.

Until Oct. 31, every gift up to the $250,000 total made to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation in support of exhibits for the museum will be matched, by a philanthropic foundation based in Louisiana. Lisa Babin, president and chief executive officer of the Hall of Fame Foundation, said over $141,000 was given in September.

The Hall of Fame Foundation is a registered 501-c-3 non-profit entity, meaning contributions to it do earn tax advantages for individuals and businesses.

‘We're across midfield, to use a football analogy, and we can certainly strike paydirt and reach the proverbial end zone by the end of October,’ said Babin. ‘We just need sports fans to make their best gift. It might be $25 or $250. It could be $50 or $500, $10, $100 or $1,000. In any case, it is instantly doubled by our Challenge Grant.’

Gifts of any amount can be made in a secure online transaction by visiting the website and clicking on the Meet the Hall of Fame Challenge button. Donors can scroll to ‘online payment’ and select ‘Museum Exhibits’ for the gift type.

Gifts by check are also welcomed. Checks should be issued to La. Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, with a footnote of exhibit account, and mailed to the Hall of Fame Foundation office at 500 Front Street, Natchitoches, LA, 71457, for arrival by Oct. 31.

‘The Hall of Fame Museum is the realization of a decades-old dream of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, celebrating our state's incredible sports culture, from Lake Providence to Lake Charles, from Ida to Gr

and Isle, all around Louisiana. Those stories from every part of Louisiana will be showcased in this fabulous museum,’ said Babin. ‘We are asking sports fans all around our state to step up and meet this challenge with whatever contribution they can provide. Any amount, every gift helps us approach the goal line.’

For additional information, contact Babin at via e-mail or at 318-485-0166 by telephone.

An original target of $1.1 million to complete exhibits as designed was reduced after $367,000 was secured previous to the challenge grant being issued, said Babin.

Babin said the challenge grant donor wishes to remain anonymous but specifically issued the challenge grant in an effort to encourage immediate donations.

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1958 by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association to honor the elite figures in state athletic history. A total of 293 competitors, along with 52 sports journalists and 11 administrators and officials who have received the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award, are members of the Hall as of the 2012 induction class.

Louisiana's sports impact is immense and expanding. Its sports greats are produced in numbers disproportionate to the state's relatively modest population, and they make impact that stretches not only around the USA but frequently around the world. Anyone can start a list of Louisiana sports luminaries that compares favorably to any state. The list is endless as current day Louisiana stars are shining brightly in the pro, amateur and college ranks.

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum is located in Natchitoches, which has been called ‘our state's Cooperstown,’ the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, older even than New Orleans. The Hall of Fame Museum will be professionally run by the Louisiana State Museum system.

An economic impact study in 2005 indicated the Hall of Fame museum, functions of the Hall of Fame Foundation, and construction costs could generate more than $100 million in statewide economic impact in the first year once the museum opens its doors.


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