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Children’s Science Center and Dominion Energy Foundation

(March 27, 2019) Catherine Read sits down with Deborah Tomkins Johnson, Regional Director at Dominion Energy and Nene Spivy, Executive Director of the Children’s Science Center. Their discussion touches upon Dominion Energy’s philanthropy and the future of the Children’s Science Center.

In the first segment, Catherine speaks with Tomkins-Johnson about Dominion Energy’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. Dominion is active all across the Commonwealth in organizations and programs that are important to their employees and the community at large.

Dominion Energy focuses its time and resources in four basic categories:

  • Human Needs: grants that increase food security and access to housing and shelter, and basic medical and healthcare.
  • Environmental Stewardship: grants to protect natural resources and help nonprofit organizations make efficient use of energy.
  • Education: grants to develop the capacity of the future workforce, especially in STEM and energy fields.
  • Community Vitality Grants: to foster an appreciation of diversity, revitalize neighborhoods and ensure a vibrant community life through support of cultural endeavors.

Dominion has forged public-private partnerships to help address problems and support initiatives across all sectors. Tompkins-Johnson points out that one of their signature achievements has been the establishment and support of the Junior Achievement Finance Park campuses that are located throughout the state. This is a program geared at teaching financial literacy starting in middle school. Dominion supports the program financially, and also encourages employees to volunteer at Finance Park.

Dominion employees are encouraged to bring organizations and programs that are important to them to the Foundation’s attention. That is how Dominion has learned about, and become involved with, many of the projects that they have taken on to date. The Children’s Science Center is one of these programs that an employee, Tim Sargent, brought to their attention in its infancy. Dominion has been a strong supporter of this initiative since inception.

Nene Spivy Deborah JohnsonIn the second segment, Catherine speaks with Nene Spivy, Executive Director of the Children’s Science Center. The Children’s Science Center was established 14 years ago with the dream of building the first children’s museum in the Washington, DC metro area. After sitting on the board for several years, Spivy was promoted to Executive Director in 2010. During her tenure, she has seen the museum open their doors as a “Lab” site at the Fair Oaks Mall.

In addition to the 2700 square feet of museum “lab” space that welcomes approximately 50,000 visitors on an annual basis, the Children’s Science Center operates as a “Museum Without Walls” by bringing their exhibits and curriculum out into the community.   They serve an additional 20-25,000 people by visiting schools and community events throughout the region. Their mission is to help children define science in a broader fashion, and encourage them to explore and appreciate the world around them.

The Children’s Science Center is entering its next critical phase. Land in the Dulles area has been donated, and they are looking to build a 70,000 square foot state-of-the-art, world-class interactive science center. Spivy is appreciative of the support from both the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, who approved an initial investment of $15 million, and the Virginia General Assembly who just allocated in the most recent budget cycle, $2.3 million for the initial design phase of the project. Visit the website to learn more about the center and how you can support their efforts.

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