University Gift

A major U.S. foundation, which wants anonymity, has offered $9 million to Christian evangelist Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va., provided the school raises $3 million to match the gift.

Falwell spokesman Marc DeMoss said the offer, made in August, is the largest gift to the university. The money would go toward expansion of the Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center, where most of the school's classrooms, faculty offices, computer labs and library facilities are located. When complete, the facility will accommodate 10,000 students.

The center is named for a Philadelphia businessman and Christian philanthropist who died in 1979, leaving a foundation with $300 million in assets. Now run by his widow, Nancy DeMoss, the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation has underwritten various antiabortion campaigns and the "Power for Living" advertisements seen on television and in Metro stations.

Marc DeMoss, son of the foundation's founder, said that Liberty, where Falwell is chancellor, has raised about $500,000 in matching funds toward the grant and has a year to raise the rest.

-- Caryle Murphy

Free Tickets

Unity of Fairfax, in Oakton, booked the 3,700-seat Constitution Hall for Friday and invited best-selling author Marianne Williamson to speak. But a week before show time, only 400 people have paid the $25 admission price. The church is trying to beef up attendance by giving tickets to anyone who cannot afford them.

The offer is being extended to "anyone in the D.C. area who cannot afford to pay," including senior citizens and the homeless, whether individuals or groups, said volunteer Carleton Meyers.

"It's a great opportunity to hear and be inspired" by one of today's most popular speakers on spirituality, "even if they don't know who Marianne Williamson is," Meyers said.

Williamson is one of the country's most popular writers and lecturers on metaphysics and spirituality, although she should not be confused with Martha Williamson of "Touched by an Angel" fame.

Marianne Williamson is the spiritual leader of the Church of Today in Warren, Mich., and the author of several best-selling books, including "A Return to Love," "Woman's Worth" and "Illuminata." Her latest book, "Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power of Intimate Relationships," has just been published by Simon & Schuster.

Williamson is scheduled to speak at 8 p.m. Friday at DAR Constitution Hall, 18th Street between C and D streets NW. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through TicketMaster. For free tickets, call 703-281-1767.

-- Bill Broadway

Victims of Floyd

* Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, 4606 16th St. NW, has joined forces with Shiloh Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C., to collect supplies, food, clothing and water to aid victims of Hurricane Floyd in North Carolina. The D.C. congregation is organizing an effort to send a tanker truck of water to the area. To offer assistance, call 202-829-2773.

* Alfred Street Baptist Church, 301 S. Alfred St., Alexandria, is collecting unused household and personal items to send to hurricane victims in Virginia and North Carolina. Donations of sheets, blankets, pillows, undergarments, cleaning supplies, toiletries, diapers and other products are being accepted through Oct. 25. For drop-off information, call 703-683-2222.