Cash contributions to the annual Colonial Williamsburg Fund grew to more than $12 million in 2003, a record, and a 3.4 percent increase over 2002. Aggregate gifts, grants, and pledge payments to the foundation during the year totaled $39 million, extending a steady upward trend in core support.
For the second year in a row, contributions came from more than 100,000 individuals. Gifts averaged $118, an increase of 2.6 percent from 2002's $115.
Contributions to the fund underwrite almost every aspect of the foundation's operations. They help provide costumes for Historic Area interpreters, books for the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, firewood for the shoemaker's shop, quill pens for children's programming, and fifes for the Fife and Drum Corps.
Such generosity helped maintain the Historic Area, build the barn at Great Hopes Plantation, and broadcast electronic field trips to classrooms across the nation.
Donor support is particularly important to a nonprofit institution like Colonial Williamsburg, which funds only a portion of its annual budget through ticket sales.
All of Colonial Williamsburg's donor societies grew in membership as well as giving. In 2003, membership in the Raleigh Tavern Society, a group of donors who give $5,000 or more annually, grew 3.5 percent to 358. Giving increased 3.3 percent to $2,553,558, up from $2,470,952 in 2002.
Membership in the Colonial Williamsburg Associates, for individuals who give $2,500 or more annually, grew 1.8 percent to 168. Giving by these donors reached $448,329 in 2003, an increase of 6.6 percent from 2002.
Membership in the Colonial Williamsburg Burgesses, for individuals who give $1,000 or more, grew by 115 in 2003 to 1,282—a 9.9 percent increase. In 2003, their total giving reached nearly $1.4 million, an increase of 11 percent from 2002.
One of the benefits of donor society membership is eligibility to participate in the study trips offered through Colonial Williamsburg's travel program. In 2003, cultural expeditions visited Vienna, Prague, and Dresden; America's Inland Waterway; and southern Italy.
All donors of $100 or more annually are invited to enjoy refreshments and special programming at the restored St. George Tucker House in the heart of the Historic Area. In 2003, a staff of seventy-eight volunteers welcomed more than 12,000 guests to the facility.