Press Release: Fundraiser for Discovery Park of America’s Kirkland Scholarship Fund to be held at the home of the late Robert and Jenny Kirkland

(Union City, Tennessee, September 14, 2023) — A Fundraiser for Discovery Park of America’s Kirkland Scholarship Fund will be held at the Union City, Tennessee home of the late Robert and Jenny Kirkland on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, 5-8 p.m. Admission for one donor is provided for each $500 contribution to the fund.

The Mediterranean-style villa houses extensive artifacts, art and unique collectibles accumulated by the couple during their travels around the world. Inspired by noted architect Addison Mizner, the estate embodies the idea of centuries-old connoisseurship of the decorative arts grounded by classic design.

The fundraiser, limited to 100 guests, will be the first time the home has been open to the public. During the event, guests will experience guided tours of a portion of the landscaped gardens and all three floors of the home. Entertainment will be provided by pianist John Alex Warner and heavy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar will be included.

“This will be the first time our family has opened our parents’ home for entertaining since their passing. My brothers and I believe they would be honored to know that their home is being shared with those who have been generous enough to support The Kirkland Scholarship Fund, a cause they would have wanted to see continue,” said Macy Kirkland, daughter of Robert Kirkland. “With the help from those who share the same values, children who otherwise might not be able to visit Discovery Park will have the opportunity to experience something new that might possibly pique their curiosity to explore something different and See Beyond.”

Thanks to the Kirkland Scholarship Fund, students from all K-12 schools with 50% of the students qualifying for free or reduced lunches qualify for scholarships that pay for 100% of the ticket price to visit Discovery Park. Since its inception in 2015, the Kirkland Scholarship Fund has provided free admission for more than 14,000 students, most of whom would not have had the opportunity to visit without the Kirkland Scholarship.

“A gift of $500 brings around two classes and a gift of $1,000 can provide complimentary admission for an entire grade of many schools,” said Dr. Emalee Buttrey, Discovery Park’s director of education, programming and museum experience. “We’re grateful so many students will get to visit the museum and park over the next few years because of the generosity of our donors.”

The planning committee for the fundraiser included many who were close friends of the Kirkland family: Betty Anne Tanner, Brenda Cartwright, Linda Simerell, Michelle Creswell, Grace Gary, Holly Seng, Emily Billingsley, Pat Wade, Bettie Graham, Ann Joiner, Selle Shanks, Lindsey Hopkins and Tammy Sparks.

“As we planned this event, you could truly tell it was truly a labor of love,” said Mary Nita Bondurant, Discovery Park’s director of development. “Many of us were present as Robert and Jenny Kirkland first introduced the idea of a museum and heritage park that would inspire children and adults. This event is a small way for us to contribute to that vision and provide access to students who may otherwise not get to visit.”

Make your donation and reserve one of 100 tickets to experience The Kirkland Scholarship Fundraiser at or email Mary Nita Bondurant at by Oct. 5, 2023.


Photo caption: The late Robert and Jenny Kirkland
on one of the patios of their Union City home. The
upcoming fundraiser for Discovery Park of America’s
Kirkland Scholarship Fund will be the first time their
home has been opened to the public for an event.



About Discovery Park of America

The mission of Discovery Park of America, a premier world-class museum and heritage park located in Union City, Tennessee, is to inspire children and adults to see beyond. Included is a 100,000-square-foot museum featuring 9 interactive exhibit galleries with additional space for temporary exhibits from around the world and a 50-acre heritage park. Discovery Park of America is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations including its principal funder, the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation. For more information, visit, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

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