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SIMI VALLEY (AP) — The Ronald Reagan centennial endowment campaign surpassed its $100 million goal Saturday, hours before the Gipper’s 100th birthday.

The nonprofit Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation told The Associated Press that the milestone was reached about two years after the foundation set its $100 million endowment goal.

Foundation board chairman Frederick Ryan said achieving the steep milestone for the nation’s 40th chief executive, and the timing, were remarkable.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better present on President Reagan’s 100th birthday,” Ryan said during private reunion of Reagan associates at the Ventura County library some 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles. “Just over two years ago, we set a steep goal of raising $100 million for an endowment that will ensure the Reagan Foundation and its work will live on in perpetuity.”

The endowment means Reagan’s legacy will be preserved and promoted, Ryan said. The endowment also maintains and expands the foundation and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

Reagan was 93 when he died on June 5, 2004, after a 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Library executive director John Heubusch said the foundation’s mission is “ensuring that our next generation of leaders has the opportunity to learn about President Reagan and his impact on U.S. and world history.”

“As President Reagan himself once said to America’s youth, ‘We need you, we need your youth, your strength, and your idealism,”’ Heubusch said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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