Donor Support for the Foundation Was Strong in 2014
Our friends continued in 2014 to show their strong support for, and confidence in, Colonial Williamsburg as a leader in history education and historical preservation. Individuals, corporations and foundations committed a total of $69.5 million to the Foundation, and we were pleased once again to count supporters in all 50 states and beyond.
This summer marks the beginning of a plan to illuminate iconic buildings, such as the Governor's Palace, in the evenings.
Gifts supported a planned expansion of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
Generous support was extended to a number of educational outreach programs, including HERO Live! broadcasts.
That level of sustained commitment was all the more inspiring as the Foundation experienced a year of significant change and transition. In January, Colin Campbell announced that he would retire after 14 years of serving as the Foundation's President and CEO. The Board of Trustees announced in June its choice of Mitchell Reiss as the Foundation's next leader. Reiss, who was then president of Washington College in Chestertown, Md., arrived in October to become Colonial Williamsburg's new President and CEO, bringing to his new roles a wealth of experience in academic administration, government service and international diplomacy.
On Nov. 22, the Foundation publicly launched its $600 million comprehensive Campaign for History and Citizenship. It was during this celebration that Peter O'Neill — great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Colonial Williamsburg's founding benefactor — announced that his parents, senior trustees Abby and George O'Neill of Oyster Bay, N.Y., had pledged $13 million in unrestricted funds in support of the campaign.
Foundation leaders announced at the event that just over half of the campaign goal had already been raised during a “quiet phase” begun in 2009. By New Year's Day of 2015, the campaign total had climbed to $323.4 million.
THE COLONIAL WILLIAMBURG FUND
The Colonial Williamsburg Fund, a critical source of unrestricted support for the Foundation's daily operations, received $15 million in 2014. Of the more than 110,000 donors who gave to the fund last year, more than 22,000 did so for first time.
Household memberships in the Colonial Williamsburg Raleigh Tavern Society, Colonial Williamsburg Associates, and Colonial Williamsburg Burgesses reached 2,550 in 2014 — including a record total of 541 memberships in the Raleigh Tavern Society alone. The benefits and opportunities enjoyed by these donor groups continue to draw them ever-closer to Colonial Williamsburg and its story through cultural excursions, on-site annual meetings, and behind-the-scenes tours and demonstrations led by the Foundation's curators, conservators, tradespeople and interpretive staff.
A TRADITION OF PHILANTHROPY
Donors provided significant gifts in 2014 in support of virtually every facet of Colonial Williamsburg. These included 16 commitments of $1 million or more for programming areas, including Historic Area preservation and programming, museum collections and conservation, and educational outreach. Additionally, we received $1.3 million from the City of Williamsburg to support destination advertising.
Gifts and commitments to expand the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg — the largest of the campaign's three capital priorities — included a $3.5 million pledge from Sally and Theodore (Dick) Brickman of Huntington Valley, Pa., and a $1 million gift from Iris and Mark Coblitz of Wayne, Pa. Clint and Mary Gilliland of Menlo Park, Calif., contributed $750,000 toward the gallery expansion, while Nancy and Tom Baker of McKinney, Texas gave $100,000 toward this effort. David and Susan Goode of Norfolk, Va., created a $1 million endowment supporting museum education programs in the Susan Goode Education Studio.
Additionally, an anonymous foundation provided $500,000 for the museums' expansion project. Other key gifts from our corporate and foundation supporters included $500,000 from Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. for education and citizenship programming initiatives, and $150,000 from the Dominion Foundation for African-American programming.
Our educational outreach programs benefited from generous gifts from donors throughout the country. Senior trustee Bob Wilson and his wife, Marion, major benefactors from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., provided $250,000 for the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, Colonial Williamsburg's flagship educational outreach program they helped create 26 years ago. Patricia O. and Peter L. Frechette of Minneapolis, Minn., provided $276,000 toward their named endowment of the Director of Teacher Development position, as well as $125,000 toward HERO Live! program development. Benefactor Jane Batten of Virginia Beach, Va., continued her support for the Jane P. Batten Teacher Project for Virginia, completing a three-year, $300,000 grant through the Batten Educational Achievement Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Other major gifts included $100,000 from Dick and Sally Brickman, supporting teacher development and distance learning initiatives.
Donors also made critical gifts toward historic preservation and interpretive programming. Douglas N. Morton and Marilyn L. Brown of Englewood, Colo., continued their leading support of the American Indian Initiative, giving $400,000 toward the continuation and expansion of Native American programming throughout the Revolutionary City. Trustee and major benefactor Forrest E. Mars, Jr. of Big Horn, Wyo., continued his support of the construction of the Market House on Market Square. Other areas that received generous support included the historic trades, masonry preservation, coach and livestock, and operations and programming at Historic Jamestowne.
Numerous supporters also contributed to the endowment of the Colin G. and Nancy N. Campbell Distinguished Presidential Chair. These shows of support came in response to a $5 million challenge from Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas F. Farrell II and his wife, Anne Garland, who contributed $200,000 in 2014 toward their $1 million commitment. Other leading gifts for the endowment were received from Sally and Dick Brickman and Forrest E. Mars, Jr.
Planned gifts continued to be an important component of the Foundation's campaign, providing $27 million, or 39 percent of 2014 fundraising results.
Total planned gift expectancies exceeded $300 million for the first time last year and the W.A.R. Goodwin Society, which recognizes planned giving donors, increased its membership to 1,963.
In 2014, Colonial Williamsburg's endowment benefited from realized bequests and life income gifts totaling $9.7 million, a new campaign record.
“We are particularly grateful for a generous distribution from the charitable trust of the late Carolyn and James Millar of Atlanta, Ga.,” said Kenneth M. Wolfe, director of planned giving programs.
“A warm and wonderful couple, Carolyn once said that 'James was born in the wrong century. He loves the Colonial period.'”