The chief executive officer of the National Medal of Honor Museum is in Denver this week pitching local philanthropists on a vision for a project that aims to transform and inspire the lives of millions of people.
In June, the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation named Denver and Arlington, Texas, as the two finalist cities to land the museum. The project is estimated to cost $150 million, create hundreds of jobs and attract 1 million visitors to town each year.
A decision is scheduled to be made on Oct. 2.
When it comes to annual visitors, Denver has the edge over Arlington by about 5 million people. But Arlington’s metro population is 2.5 times larger than Denver’s, meaning it could also have a larger donor base, which is a critical factor in choosing a city to build the museum, said Joe Daniels, CEO of the museum.
“Frankly, we’re looking to raise $150 million, so we need to understand the appetite within the philanthropic communities of Arlington and Denver,” said Daniels, who spent 12 years as president and CEO of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.
While building out the 9/11 museum — a project that raised $450 million to build the two fountains at the footprints of the twin towers — Daniels said a majority of the money came from the New York region.
“We expect the same to be true for this museum,” he said.
Joe Daniels, CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum, speaks to members of the media Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the offices of the Downtown Denver Partnership.
The other key component of the project is securing the land. The state has set aside land for the project that it owns at the northeast corner of the intersection of Lincoln Street and East Colfax Avenue, near the Office of the State Auditor.