FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2007
Contact: Jennifer E. Mason, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
(804) 342-9665 email:
Success! Campaign Exceeds Goal
Virginia Historical Society Closes 175th Anniversary: Home for History Campaign at $57 Million
Richmond, VA – A $288,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation helped the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) exceed the goal of its $55-million 175th Anniversary: Home for History Campaign. The grant, which will be used to provide access to recently acquired manuscript collections, came just as the VHS was poised to announce the end of the capital campaign. A new wing, with an innovative long-term business history exhibition, was also a part of the six-year fundraising endeavor.
"We are pleased to announce that we've exceeded the goal by more than $2 million," said Pamela R. Seay, vice president for advancement. "In addition to meeting and exceeding the $55-million monetary goal, which included capital and endowment funds, we received additional donations of various collections valued in excess of $10 million, all relevant to our mission to collect, preserve, and interpret Virginia's history, and all contributed during the course of the campaign."
This campaign, the Society's most ambitious to date, had its share of challenges—beginning with its announcement on September 10, 2001. After postponing leadership gift solicitations in the aftermath of our national tragedy, the board of trustees increased the original goal from $50 million to $55 million in 2003, less than halfway through the campaign.
"They were just that confident," explains Seay. "It was an action motivated by the belief that our members would come through." And come through they did—in great numbers. Seay reports that more than $6 million was raised through gifts of less than $20,000 each. Nearly 40 percent of the money came from outside Richmond and central Virginia. Society research indicates that among similar historical institutions across the country, the VHS has raised more in private funds than most, many of which receive far more in state support.
A March 2006 $1-million challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation helped the VHS to meet its goal in time for a deadline of January 1, 2007. The 175th Anniversary Campaign is the third capital campaign the VHS has conducted since 1990. With its successful completion, the VHS has raised more than $110 million during that period.
"It is a great relief to close out the campaign," says E. Claiborne Robins, Jr., chairman of the board of trustees. "I am proud of Charles [Bryan, president and CEO of the Society]. His staff put in a lot of hard work to realize this success. But there are fresh goals now and a whole new set of priorities that are in need of funding for conservation, collections, and exhibitions."
"We are continually raising the bar," adds Robins. "Over the years we've challenged ourselves to create better educational programs and reach more diverse audiences through our publications, collections, and exhibitions. Now we've got to continue that forward momentum and meet the demand placed on our programs and services. We will always need support from our friends, members, and state and local partners in that endeavor."
The VHS formally thanked donors for the campaign's success at the 175th Anniversary Campaign Celebration on April 19, 2007. David McCullough, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, was the guest speaker at the event.
The VHS recently announced free admission for families on Sundays and free admission to children under eighteen daily. Major exhibitions for 2007 include Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend; Jamestown, Québec, Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings; and Lee and Grant. For more information, visit www.vahistorical.org.
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Sundays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit