GE grants $750,000 to WWII museum, Medal of Honor foundation

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --   The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, is awarding a total of $750,000 in grants to two organizations to support initiatives in education and character development in New Orleans. Funding will go toward the museum's exhibits and interactive experiences, as well as to bring the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation's national Character Development Curriculum to Louisiana educators and students. The Character Development Curriculum uses the stories of living Medal of Honor recipients to inspire students and teach critical skills. Medal of Honor recipient Major General James Everett Livingston, right, shared his story with students and active military in attendance Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at the World War II Museum Freedom Pavilion.
Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, is awarding a total of $750,000 in grants to two organizations to support initiatives in education and character development in New Orleans. Funding will go toward the museum's exhibits and interactive experiences, as well as to bring the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation's national Character Development Curriculum to Louisiana educators and students. The Character Development Curriculum uses the stories of living Medal of Honor recipients to inspire students and teach critical skills. Medal of Honor recipient Major General James Everett Livingston, right, shared his story with students and active military in attendance Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at the World War II Museum Freedom Pavilion.

The philanthropic arm of General Electric announced Tuesday that it is giving a combined $750,000 to the National World War II Museum and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

The Warehouse District museum will receive $500,000 of the grant from the GE Foundation. The money will support the “What Would You Do?” experience, an exhibit that presents visitors with decisions people faced during World War II.

GE has previously given $100,000 to the museum.

The remainder of the new grant — $250,000 — will go to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation to support the Character Development Curriculum in the state’s schools. That program uses the stories of living Medal of Honor recipients to inspire students and teach skills associated with the Common Core State Standards, a set of expectations for what students should master between kindergarten and senior year of high school.

GE has previously given $175,000 to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s Character Development Program.

Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE, made the announcement of the newest grants at the museum’s new U.S. Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center as shareholders descend upon the city for their annual meeting. It was also the same day his company dedicated its Capital Technology Center in the Central Business District. That office has 75 employees but will expand to 300 during the next two years.

Students from Sci Academy in eastern New Orleans were in attendance for the announcement and were able to ask questions of Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. James Livingston, a former chairman of the board of the museum.

The retired Marine was wounded while leading a company in Vietnam. Injured by two grenade blasts and gunfire, he ordered his men to leave him behind while he tried to continue to fight from a prone position. His men disobeyed him and dragged him to safety.

Livingston used his time with the students to urge them to do their best in school and life.

“The Marine Corps didn’t promise me a rose garden,” he said. “That’s what the Marine Corps taught me — to push myself.”