The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire will be receiving a $24,000 grant from the Roger R. and Theresa S. Thompson Endowment Fund to help provide educational materials for kids on the Seacoast.
“This is their largest gift to us, so we are incredibly thankful to have that during this difficult time,” museum president Jane Bard said.
Bard said while the museum was closed this past summer, they found success partnering with libraries in the state to provide videos and materials children could use at home. A total of 1,100 children were reached.
Now, they are working on a second round of free educational materials and plan to partner with libraries in Dover, Rochester, Portsmouth, Seabrook and Newmarket to distribute them to at least 1,250 children.
The materials will have components for parents and caregivers to help assist in the learning, Bard said.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is an annual recipient of grants from the fund, which was established by Theresa (Strout) Thompson in the memory of her husband prior to her death on Sept. 25, 2000, at the age of 89.
Roger Thompson graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in economics in 1929.
During his career, Roger Thompson worked in circulation departments at newspapers. His jobs included working at the Manchester Union Leader where he was appointed head of circulation at the Manchester Sunday News prior to serving in the Army during World War II.
On Jan. 2, 1950, Roger Thompson joined the Portsmouth Herald as circulation director.
In 1953, when Portsmouth Herald owner Justin Hartford died, his widow named a publishing board of the paper’s top managers pursuant to her husband’s will.
Roger Thompson was one of the seven executives chosen and he served on that board until his retirement on Jan. 31, 1969, according to the endowment fund’s website.
Theresa Thompson also worked in newspapers. She was an employee at the Lewiston Daily Sun and Lewiston Evening Journal, now the Lewiston Sun Journal, in Maine for 42 years before she retired in 1972 and married Roger Thompson.
The fund rewards six specific local charitable organizations each year.
Trustees Charles Doleac, Kenneth Barrett and Holly Ayes Malloy have approved grants this year for the Children’s Museum, Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, Crotched Mountain Community Care in Greenfield, Future in Sight in Concord, Pine Tree Society for Handicapped Children and Adults in Scarborough, Maine, and Berwick Academy in Berwick, Maine.
A total of $117,384 is being distributed this year.
“In the midst of a pandemic that has deeply impacted the operations of nonprofits across the nation, the Roger R. and Theresa S. Thompson Endowment Fund trustees are pleased to recognize the work of the six local organizations who have responded to the challenges of COVID-19 protocols with new models, new techniques and new partnerships by awarding this year’s grants,” Doleac said in a statement.
The Children’s Museum on Washington Street in Dover is open for limited visitation on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Bard said they are offering gift memberships which can start being redeemed whenever families are ready to return to the museum in 2021.