Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

CW Foundation navigation

Looking to Buy Tickets & Gifts or Book a Vacation? Click Here

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger
* Government grants, service organizations, schools, clubs, and library
and media institutions.

* Government grants, service organizations, schools, clubs, and library and media institutions.

2012 Contributors Give Foundation Strong Support

Colonial Williamsburg's formal development program is now in its 36th year with philanthropic support providing vital financial resources for the Foundation. In 2012 individuals, corporations, and foundations committed $63.7 million in annual, major, and planned gifts, a 59 percent increase over 2011. Generous estate commitments from distinguished Colonial Williamsburg friends contributed to the year’s total.

The Colonial Williamsburg Fund

Although the uncertain economic and political environment continued to present challenges, our supporters remained faithful to Colonial Williamsburg’s mission. More than 109,000 donors representing all 50 states contributed to the Colonial Williamsburg Fund, with Virginians comprising 16 percent of all Colonial Williamsburg donors. The Colonial Williamsburg Fund received $14.8 million in 2012, a two percent increase over 2011. More than 18,400 new donors chose to support Colonial Williamsburg for the first time in 2012.

Members of the Colonial Williamsburg Burgesses, Colonial Williamsburg Associates, and Raleigh Tavern Society contributed $5.7 million to the Fund and a total of $13.3 million to the Foundation. Membership in the societies grew again this year with 330 new households choosing to join in 2012. Donor society members enjoyed activities and benefits including study tours, assistance with travel arrangements, and annual meetings with behind-the-scenes experiences led by curators, conservators, members of the Historic Trades, and interpretive staff.

Major Gifts

Donors provided significant new gifts and pledges in Historic Area preservation and programming, collections, conservation, museums, and educational outreach. The Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Illinois, made a $2 million grant for historic preservation. The gift established the Grainger Historic Architectural Resources Department with funds available for projects, equipment, and training. Grainger support also endowed Director of Historical Architectural Resources Matthew Webster’s position. Matt is responsible for ensuring ongoing conservation of nearly 600 Historic Area structures—including 88 original buildings. A third component of the Foundation’s grant focused on Historic Area masonry preservation. David and Juli Grainger, Raleigh Tavern Society Life Members, together with The Grainger Foundation are among Colonial Williamsburg’s most generous benefactors.

Over the years, Marilyn and Robert (Bob) Asplundh of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, have been great friends and supporters. In 2012, they made a $500,000 gift, their third similar commitment, for the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg expansion project. Continuing their outstanding record of support, President’s Council members Douglas Morton and Marilyn Brown of Englewood, Colorado, provided $400,000 to create the Douglas N. Morton and Marilyn L. Brown American Indian Endowment Fund. The Kern Family Foundation of Waukesha, Wisconsin, made a $150,000 grant for religious programming. Since 2006, the Kern Family Foundation has given Colonial Williamsburg over $1 million in support of religious initiatives.

Senior Trustee Bob Wilson and his wife Marion, of Rancho Santa Fe, California, both members of the President’s Council, made a $300,000 gift for the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute for California Teachers. Through a $300,000 grant from the Batten Educational Achievement Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, major benefactor Jane Batten of Virginia Beach, Virginia, established the Jane P. Batten Teacher Project for Virginia.

President’s Council members and Williamsburg residents Linda and Donald Baker established the Donald and Linda Baker Endowment Fund for History, Citizenship, and Democracy. The Bakers’ pledge was the first commitment toward the Foundation’s aspiration to focus more intentionally on becoming a center for history and citizenship. Saint Simons Island, Georgia, residents Anita and Jim Timmons endorsed the center concept when they designated their gift funds for an international conference and created the Anita A. and James D. Timmons Fund for History and Citizenship. Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. made a $100,000 grant for the World Heritage Project and for History and Citizenship programs.

Planned Gifts

Colonial Williamsburg will benefit over the long term thanks to the 2012 estate commitments of several benefactors. Director of Planned Giving Programs Kenneth M. Wolfe said, “We are immensely grateful that so many of Colonial Williamsburg’s closest friends have included the Foundation as a beneficiary of their estate. In essence, supporters are telling us that they consider the Foundation a part of their family. These individuals feel strongly about ensuring that Colonial Williamsburg continues for future generations.

“To quote one of our benefactors, ‘Young people today do not know enough about our history and the people who sacrificed to make this country what it is. We cannot expect them to act like Americans when they do not know what it means to be an American.’

“I think that says it all. Colonial Williamsburg is incredibly fortunate to have friends like this who care so deeply about the future of America and this special place.”

A Summary of the Foundation's 2012 Financial Results


The Foundation's net assets increased by $12 million in 2012, ending the year at $810 million, largely as a result of a net increase in endowment value that was partially offset by lower operating results.

The market value of Colonial Williamsburg’s endowment was $735 million as of December 31, 2012, an increase of $26 million over the 2011 year-end value. The endowment investment return was 13.1% for the 12-months ended December 31, 2012, which compares favorably with the performance of other endowed institutions.

Operating revenues were negatively impacted during the peak summer months by lower visitation to the region and to Colonial Williamsburg and also by Hurricane Sandy in late October. Gifts to the Colonial Williamsburg Fund increased by $300,000 (2%) to $14.8 million, reflecting strong donor support of Colonial Williamsburg’s mission in a challenging economic environment. Total revenues for the calendar year, including budgeted endowment support, were $177 million, a decrease of $2 million compared with 2011.

Expenses for 2012 were $214 million, an increase of $3 million compared with 2011 reflecting planned increases in salaries and wages and significantly higher group medical expenses. Operating expenses exceeded operating revenues by $37 million.

In light of our experience in 2012 and consistent with the Foundation’s strategic plan, the Foundation is actively engaged in the following initiatives for 2013:

  • Development of a new one-day Revolutionary City experience that is more dynamic and engaging and incorporates new evening programming to extend the period of activity in the Historic Area;
  • Increased integration of the Revolutionary City experience with Hospitality and Products offerings in the Historic Area;
  • Retention of the Richmond-based Martin Agency to serve as the Foundation’s new advertising agency; and
  • Completion of significant enhancements to the website, which is the primary transaction site for the Foundation.
  • Colonial Williamsburg monitors and reports internally on the regularly recurring, or operating, revenues and expenses resulting from routine activities in order to assess the financial performance of educational and for-profit activities. It reports in the audited financial statements all revenues and expenses in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles to reflect the consolidated financial impact of all activities of the Foundation and its subsidiaries. A third reporting format is required by the Internal Revenue Service on Form 990, an annual information return for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the 501(c)(3) entity that is exempt from federal income taxes on most of its activities. The financial results on Form 990 represent the unconsolidated financial results of only this 501(c)(3) organization; the Foundation’s taxable subsidiaries—for example, Colonial Williamsburg Company—report their financial results separately on corporate income tax returns.

    The operating results reported in the top half of the consolidated income statement and statement of changes in net assets shown in this annual report incorporate: ticket sales, all revenues generated by hospitality and products; unrestricted operating gifts and restricted gifts for operations spent for their intended purpose during the year; the budgeted amount of endowment support provided by our endowment spending policy; and all operating expenses of the foundation and its subsidiaries.

    Below the difference between operating revenues and expenses line we include non-operating items, such as the difference between the total return produced by the endowment and the budgeted endowment support; all other gifts and grants, that is to say, pledges; restricted gifts received but not spent; gifts for endowment and capital projects, and gifts of objects; gains on sale of real estate; and the financial statement impact of changes in generally accepted accounting principles. The combination of the operating and non-operating items is reflected as the change in net assets, which is consistent with the audited financial statements.