Discover World held its fundraising benefit on July 29, in celebration of the science and technology center’s eleventh anniversary as a top innovation and education destination in Wisconsin.

Originally conceived as a center for science, economics, and technology by a group of business leaders and academic professionals in 1983, Discovery World started in the basement of a Boys & Girls Club located on Milwaukee’s East Side just off Brady Street.

Over 34 years later, Discovery World celebrated the 11th anniversary of its showcase facility on the shores of Lake Michigan. More than 600 guests attended the gala event that focused on supporting its educational mission, as the museum embarks on an ambitious $18 million expansion project.

The black-tie charity drive was held along the promenade, with an external tent for a dinner that was provided by long-time program partners Joe and Jennifer Bartolotta. A new 10,000 square foot pavilion will eventually fill that space as part of the first phase of the expansion project, set to break ground in August.

Discovery World is where local children can take their first steps on a path toward STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers and brighter futures. The facility operates without any public funds for financial assistance, and depends on donations and fundraising to provide programs that augment the local educational system.

Corporations, foundations, and individuals sponsored tables at the 2017 Gala. The silent auction consisted of more than two hundred items, ranging from trips, to autographed movie memorabilia, to a private dinner prepared personally by Joe and Jennifer Bartolotta.

The upper level Pilot House opened later for networking and fun, as community leaders from the Milwaukee-area and their families enjoyed music and fireworks viewing from nearby Henry Maier Festival Park where German Fest was going on.

These images capture highlights of the evening’s guests and festivities, including a special invocation by Judge Derek Mosley who offered a traditional African Libation ritual before the dinner.

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Lee Matz