The newly opened MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation in Santa Barbara, has a stated mission to “ignite learning through interactive experiences in science and creativity.”

While it has arguably been doing this for its tens of thousands of visitors in its first months, MOXI is now establishing an Education Fund to support its ongoing education programs, including the launch of several new initiatives.

The first significant gift to the fund is a $500,000 matching grant from the Babich Family Foundation. The foundation has pledged this match at $100,000 annually for five years to inspire others in the community to participate.

“We are pleased to have MOXI as part of the educational landscape here in Santa Barbara and feel passionately that it should be a resource accessible for all,” said Monica and Tim Babich.

“We decided to make the first gift and challenge the community to match our commitment because organizations like MOXI need continuing support to reach as many young minds as possible,” they said.

In its first year, MOXI expects to welcome some 15,000 students. The museum’s director of education, Ron Skinner, and his team began piloting MOXI field-trip programming last month.

The museum recently opened registration for its inaugural summer-camp programs which include week-long sessions focused on hands-on robotics, engineering and design, and weather.

“This fund, and the Babich family’s generous support, will make our field trips, camps and classes accessible to all and allow us to make an impact beyond the four walls of the museum,” said Skinner.

“As a nonprofit, we rely on the support of the community and each paid visitor to MOXI, all memberships sold, and every annual gift ultimately supports our educational programming and operations,” he said.

Plans for the first two years include hiring an outreach manager to support MOXI’s efforts to extend its education programs beyond the museum throughout the region.

The museum hopes to buy a vehicle and materials for a MOXI on the Move program with mobile-education activities and a mobile makerspace.

MOXI recently completed its $25 million capital campaign, which funded the building and exhibits, and established an endowment for long-term operational sustainability.

Now the museum is shifting fundraising efforts to annual giving to provide support for key areas including specific initiatives such as the newly-established Education Fund.

Gifts of any size to the Education Fund will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Babich Family Foundation up to $100,000 per year, effectively doubling the value of new contributions.

Donors able to support MOXI with a gift of $1,000 or more will join the museum’s Innovator Circle which offers members a variety of benefits.

MOXI is open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at 125 State St. For more information, or to learn how to get involved, visit or contact MOXI, 770-5000.

— Martha Swanson for MOXI Museum.