First-Ever Permanent Exhibit for University of Notre Dame's Landmark Science of Generosity Initiative

Author: Karen Wissing, Sci-Port Public Relations

The Community Foundation, Sci-Port Help Create First-Ever Permanent Exhibit for University of Notre Dame's LandmarkScience of Generosity Initiative in Shreveport, Louisiana

Permanent exhibit will feature newest research from ground-breaking study.

Science of Generosity related logos

For the first time ever, cutting edge research from the University of Notre Dame's Science of Generosity initiative will be featured as a permanent exhibit  at a preeminent science center in Louisiana.  Representatives from Notre Dame, The Community Foundation of North Louisiana and Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center today announced the creation of the permanent exhibit, which was made possible through a $43,884 grant from The Foundation.

"For the first time ever, scientific research that quantifies the impact of philanthropy on the individual and society is accessible in an interactive exhibit," said Paula Hickman, executive director of The Community Foundation of North Louisiana.  "We are pleased to share with the public what we have known all along:  generosity positively transforms the donor as well as the recipient."

The Science of Generosity initiative was created at Notre Dame in 2009 by virtue of a $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation.  The initiative seeks to unify research efforts carried out throughout the world in a field of study for generosity in all its forms.  It also endeavors to make this information available to the individuals, nonprofit organizations, civic groups and businesses that facilitate and benefit from acts of generosity.  The launch of the Science of Generosity exhibition represents an important step in the evolution of the project because for the first time, the public will have access to findings in a hands-on, educational exhibit.

"We're excited to house such a one-of-a-kind exhibit in our Center.  Thanks to The Community Foundation and the University of Notre Dame, this exhibit will engage our visitors with not only current, relevant science, but with research unlike anything administered before," said Ann Fumarolo, president and CEO of Sci-Port.  "The collaborative effort that has gone into the development of this project will undoubtedly warrant more hands-on science at Sci-Port."

The exhibit will feature the latest scientific findings being issued by the Science of Generosity initiative. In addition, visitors will learn more about the elements of generosity, such as philanthropy, volunteerism and altruism, through a series of interactive panels. One panel also explores emotional responses in the brain through information provided by the prestigious Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) based in Shreveport, Louisiana.

"When we started the Science of Generosity initiative we hoped that the research we conducted and supported would be practically relevant for non-profit professionals, civic organizations and the general public," said Christian Smith, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Science of Generosity initiative at the University of Notre Dame. "We want to do topnotch academic research that makes important contributions to scholarship in the Social Sciences, but we want that research to be available to those who might make good practical use of it, too. The Sci-Port exhibit is an important step in helping make that happen."

There are currently 14 research projects underway worldwide that received funding through a competitive RFP process held by initiative.  In November 2009, the initiative granted awards of $250,000 to $500,000 to four of the projects, and in July 2010, awards of up to $150,000 were granted to nine additional projects.  One of these projects is the Notre Dame Research (NDR) project, an original, primary data research project conducted by a research team at the university.

The Science of Generosity exhibit will be available to the public at Sci-Port beginning Saturday, September 3.

At The Community Foundation:
Margo Shideler, Director of External Relations
(Phone) 318-221-0582

At Sci-Port:
Jennifer McMenamin, Director of Development & Marketing
(Phone) 318-424-8673  


Karen Wissing, Marketing Manager  
(Phone) 318-424-8678

At Notre Dame:
JP Shortall, Communication Specialist
(Phone) 574-631-5953

About the Community Foundation of North Louisiana
Established in 1961, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana's mission is to strengthen communities through philanthropy.  By bringing together fund donors, their financial advisors and nonprofit agencies, the Foundation is a powerful catalyst for building charitable giving and effecting positive change in our area.  Through the generosity and vision of our family of donors, both past and present, the Foundation has granted more than $42,000,000 to vital nonprofit organizations since our inception.  In our shared endeavor to build a more robust, vibrant community, we fund a variety of critical initiatives, including education, health, arts and culture, and poverty alleviation.  Through integrity and sound financial practices, the Foundation has successfully stewarded the philanthropic interests of past donors and is poised to lead the next generation of givers to address the challenges facing our region.

About Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center
Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center is a 92,000 square-foot science and entertainment center featuring 290 hands-on exhibits, 70 interactive programs and demonstrations, a Space Center and Space Dome Planetarium, IMAX Dome Theatre, gift shop and cafe.  Sci-Port is a member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers; a LA Space Consortium member and is recognized by Parents magazine as one of the nation's ten best science centers.  The Center is located at 820 Clyde Fant Parkway on the downtown Shreveport Riverfront. For information regarding hours, IMAX showings or special programs, call (318) 424-3466, toll free at (877) 724-7678 or visit

Originally published Monday, August 29, 2011 9:00 am by Karen Wissing, for SciPort. Read the original story.