News

Letter to Our Members and Supporters
 
Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017

On behalf of the board and staff, we want to thank everyone for their support of Sci-Port over the years.

Let us state unequivocally: Sci-Port is not closing.

If this is all you need to know, fantastic; you can stop reading now! Since it is Sci-Port’s mission to spark curiosity about the world around us, and we know many of our supporters are curious by nature, we are happy to take this opportunity to satisfy your curiosity and explain what’s been in the news this past week.

While we don't want to sugarcoat our finances and pretend that we have more cash on-hand than we do, we would like to clarify a few things that could have been better explained in the reporting. Nonprofit accounting and reading audits aren’t things that most people do day-to-day.

First, the only interview conducted as of Tuesday, April 11, was with the Shreveport Times. Any other reports you have seen prior to that contain no information from Sci-Port management or the board of directors. It is, essentially, second-hand reporting. We are disappointed that we weren’t asked to comment on the reports, and we are being proactive to correct the misinformation.

Second, the media refers to our year ending in 2016. That refers to our fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2016, not in December, as most would naturally infer. Sci-Port has been open for 10 months since the end date of our audit, and in this time we have actually grown our operations! In November, we opened POP (Power of Play) Children’s Museum onsite, which has garnered the generous financial support of families and businesses in our region who support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education in our region.

Was this the right decision? Absolutely! Since opening POP, we are ahead in earned revenues by 5% with the busiest three months of our fiscal year remaining.

Third, and this is the part that’s arguably the trickiest to understand if you’re not up-to-speed on nonprofit accounting, the losses reported for our fiscal years ending in June 2015 and June 2016 were overstated by the media, who did not account for depreciation of our assets when reporting our financial picture. Had they done so, you would have seen that we actually ended 2015 ahead, and we were only off by 1% of our breaking even at the end of 2016. But, it’s true that our asset to liability ratio is worsening due to a weakening economy and the liabilities incurred during the POP construction. What this means is that in order to build POP, we now have less cash on-hand and more bills than in previous years.

Overall, we are disappointed because we know the toll that viral social media takes on an organization; we’re experiencing it now. Who wants to donate or renew their membership to an organization that’s presumably closing?  

Thank you for the offers to help! The best ways are to renew your membership and visit often. Help us combat misinformation and lies that you'll see about your science center on social media. Donate to us.

Thank you letting us spark your curiosity and bring the wonders of STEAM education to you for the past 18 years. It’s been our privilege.


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Sci-Port Discovery Center
820 Clyde Fant Parkway
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101

Main Line: (318) 424-3466
Toll free: 1-877-SCIPORT (1-877-724-7678)
Fax: (318) 222-5592

Sci-Port Staff

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