VANCOUVER – WSU Vancouver’s Child Development Program will be expanding in to a private, full-day kindergarten, thanks to a $1.5 million dollar donation from the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Family Foundation.

This is the foundation’s initial gift, and the largest cash gift to date for WSU Vancouver.

The funding will be used for a variety of start-up costs, from nearly $1 million in interior and exterior construction, to curriculum development, and to staff salaries. Under current plans, the new kindergarten would open doors to students in the fall of 2010. To fully fund the program, the university will need to raise at least $3.5 million more in the coming year.

The program currently serves three to five years olds in a full-day preschool, open to the community but giving priority to WSU Vancouver students, staff and faculty parents.

“Tod and Maxine McClaskey made a commitment to help the Vancouver community in the area of youth and education,” said Foundation President Larry Ogg. “Washington State University Vancouver’s Child Development Center fulfills their giving wishes. The Foundation board is delighted to carry out their desire with this first signature gift supporting the early learning center.”

“We are honored by the generosity of the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Family Foundation,” said Hal Dengerink, WSU Vancouver chancellor. “This signature gift will catapult the expansion of the early learning program and is a permanent legacy for the McClaskey family and for WSU Vancouver.”

Tod McClaskey was known as the co-founder and owner of the original Thunderbird/Red Lion Inn & Hotel chain. The Vancouver-based Tod and Maxine McClaskey Family Foundation was established to support the communities they loved past their lifetimes, honoring their legacy as it funds important projects throughout the Northwest, primarily in Clark County, Wash.