Near Market Square, two of Colonial Williamsburg's interpreters give a lesson in eighteenth-century surveying to guests.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's $25.7 million operating deficit in 2003 was a $10 million improvement over 2002's $35.5 million deficit, and a $5 million improvement compared with the approved operating budget.
The reduction in the deficit reflects a collaborative effort across the foundation that resulted in expense reductions in all areas as staffing was adjusted to meet seasonal business demands, while assuring the provision of high quality programs and services for guests.
The foundation's goal is to continue to make disciplined progress toward returning to a balanced budget condition. Substantial progress was made toward this goal in 2003, despite the pressure of the economy, inclement weather, and the war in Iraq.
Operating revenues totaled $141.5 million, about $1.4 million less than the year before.
Ticket sales and hospitality operations tracked the impact of the war in Iraq on travel and tourism. Hurricane Isabel, which hit the area in September and caused extended power outages throughout eastern Virginia, also hurt results.
Admissions totaled 729,000, about 9 percent lower than the 803,000 tickets sold in 2002. Revenue from programs and admissions, which includes revenue from such other sources as evening programs and carriage rides, was 4 percent higher than the year before.
Operating expenses totaled $218.3 million, about $10 million lower than in 2002. Each operating division achieved savings on a year-over-year basis, in large part by adjusting staffing levels, which lowered compensation expenses by $7.0 million, or 7 percent.
Savings also were achieved in a range of nonpersonnel expenditure categories, including postage, consulting and other third-party services, and supplies expense.
At year's end, the value of the endowment was $634.7 million, an increase of $66.4 million compared with December 31, 2002. This increase was after accounting for withdrawals for operating support and the addition of new contributions during the year. In absolute terms, before such adjustments, endowment assets, primarily domestic and international equities, appreciated by $111.1 million. The endowment generated a total return of 21 percent for the year.