Friday, April 19, 2024

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Launches $600M ‘Power of Place’ Campaign

Carly Fiorina, board chair of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, addresses donors at the campaign launch event. (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

WILLIAMSBURG — The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation announced “The Power of Place — The Centennial Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg” at a campaign launch event on Saturday to raise funds and awareness for the foundation’s preservation, education and civic engagement priorities.

The campaign is designed to support numerous projects that inform and inspire people across the country and around the globe in the lead-up to 2026, the year of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and the Foundation’s own 100th anniversary, the foundation said.

“Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest U.S. history museum and one of the nation’s most trusted cultural institutions,” said Cliff Fleet, president and CEO of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “The power of this place, which was home to many of the events leading up to the American Revolution, provides us with the opportunity to offer a more complete, research-based understanding of our collective history.”

Donors gather in front of the Courthouse in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area at the campaign launch event. (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

According to the foundation, the campaign will preserve iconic spaces in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area like the Capitol, Governor’s Palace and Raleigh Tavern, while also supporting the restoration and reconstruction of additional sites like the Williamsburg Bray SchoolHistoric First Baptist Church and the new Colin G. and Nancy N. Campbell Archaeology Center.

The campaign will also equip the foundation to become the world’s largest digital U.S. history museum.

The Colonial Williamsburg Innovation Studios will drive this evolution, the foundation said, which will include relaunching the history.org website as a central place to find trusted educational content from a consortium of America’s leading U.S. history museums. A key campaign priority, Innovation Studios is also home to the Ben Franklin’s World podcast and other digital programs now under development to share “America’s complex founding history with students, educators and other audiences.”

The leadership phase of the campaign began in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the Historic Area and Art Museums for much of the year. Despite these operational challenges, the foundation said it has already raised over $325 million toward the $600 million goal set for the campaign, which is projected to conclude in early 2027.

The organization noted it benefited from a record-setting fundraising year in 2021 and a second-best year in 2022. Four gifts of $10 million each were given by individual donors.

“The work being done at Colonial Williamsburg today is truly inspiring and is already resonating with donors and visitors alike,” said Carly Fiorina, board chair of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “The early success of this campaign proves that there is an appetite for history told completely and truthfully, and no organization is better positioned to provide that than Colonial Williamsburg.”

While the campaign has enjoyed early success, much work remains to be done. For more information and the opportunity to make a gift to Colonial Williamsburg’s The Power of Place campaign, visit colonialwilliamsburg.org/give/power-of-place/.

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