PRESS RELEASE –31 January 2011 –
The Marco Gonzalez Board of Directors is proud to announce its’ first grant for the archaeology project on the southern tip of Ambergris Caye. Matt Fowler, owner of Mr. Joe’s Grocery, is a family member of the Frederick S. Upton Foundation in the United Stated. Mr. Fowler has developed an interest in the Maya Site and encouraged submitting a grant application in the fall of 2010.
The amount of $5,000 USD was awarded, along with a Challenge Grant of $10,000 USD. Matt is also a member of the Board of Directors of Marco Gonzalez. Matt Fowler personally delivered the check to Jan Brown, Chairperson of the Board.
Fundraising ideas are being discussed of how to meet the Grant Challenge since once an additional $10,000 USD is obtained, Upton Foundation will match that amount. This will put the Project on its’ way to meet the anticipated $1.5Mil USD needed for the exciting venture.
The Vision statement for the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site Project is: “To unfold the mysteries of a 2000 year old Maya Site on Ambergris Caye, Belize, and provide education of the ancient Maya island lifestyle to persons of all ages.” Due to the location of the site, an ecologically friendly raised boardwalk will be built at a distance of over a quarter mile across mangrove marshland to reach the 7.57 acre site.
Future plans include a Visitor/Education Center which will serve a dual purpose; the building will showcase artifacts and history of the Maya site and have an educational center for the over 2,000 children on the island to study their Mayan history up close and personal. This Center will provide many jobs for Sanpedranos as well as develop into a wonderful tourism site for our visitors.
Eco-visits are available to the public now that a temporary footbridge has been constructed. A second amount of $5,000 USD was also awarded from Mr. Fowler for the construction done last summer to accommodate a field school. Soon there will be a sign giving credit to the Frederick S. Upton Foundation for their generosity.
Additional donations are being accepted by contacting any of the Board Members – Dee Thomas, Josie Nuñez, Matt Fowler, Pete Salazar Sr., Joe Lawrence, Frank Panton, Manuel Heredia III, Giovanni Marin, or Jan Brown, 226-2059 or 662-2725. To schedule an eco-visit, please call Jan Brown. She is looking forward to a government document being gazette within the next few months so local tour guides can be hired and trained for Marco tours.