Eighty years ago this month, in the holiday season of 1926, two farseeing men, philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the Reverend Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin, presented to the nation the gift of Colonial Williamsburg. Their purpose, Mr. Rockefeller would say, was "to restore Williamsburg, so far as it may be possible, to what it was in the old colonial days and to make it a great centre for historical study and inspiration." As we approach the holidays this year, I am grateful to the more than 290,000 men and women who have reaffirmed that purpose through their participation in the recently completed comprehensive campaign, and who have demonstrated their confidence in our commitment to adaptation and innovation. My colleagues and I admire the individuals, corporations, and institutions that have so generously joined in the evolving stewardship of this irreplaceable colonial capital.
We publicly announced the comprehensive campaign, the foundation's first, during our seventy-fifth anniversary celebration in 2001. By September 2006, the total of gifts, grants, and pledges surpassed the $500 million goal by $10 million. An impressive team effort brought about this wonderful conclusion.
There was, as there usually is in such ambitious undertakings, a time of preparation. From the mid-1990s to 2001, we planned and developed a set of objectives, and increased the goal as we considered the extent of the foundation's needs and the responsiveness of our supporters. We gained confidence from the silent-phase generosity of $256 million, about half our goal. This strong start provided the momentum, when we took the campaign public, that brought us to the five-year finish line.
Under the dedicated leadership of a committee co-chaired by senior trustees Estelle "Nicki" Tanner and Bob Wilson, the campaign's theme, "People, Place, and Purpose," clearly had broad appeal. During the past five years, more than thirty donors helped with contributions of $1 million or more in the overall effort to enhance staff resources; maintain, preserve, and augment buildings and facilities; and advance educational endeavors here in Williamsburg and across the nation.
With contributed funds, we endowed positions and underwrote training, built and supported the Bruton Heights School Education Center, established building and garden preservation endowments, reconstructed the Peyton Randolph kitchen and outbuildings, restored Bassett Hall, constructed Great Hopes Plantation, and built a stables complex.
Donors reaffirmed faith in the foundation's educational advances by supporting outreach programs, as well as innovative Historic Area activities, the coach and livestock program, research, and museum exhibitions and acquisitions—items important for relating the continuity of the British-American experience. Gifts supported the Nation Builders program, citizenship initiatives in secondary schools and on the Internet, and relocation of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.
Unrestricted gifts—funds meant to be employed where they are most needed—are being allocated to support necessary institutional priorities, as reflected in our annual plans. Those gifts, I should add, are welcome reaffirmations of our mission.
The campaign's success is a milestone in Colonial Williamsburg's history. It brings new friends into the fold and reaffirms valued relationships. I thank one and all for your generosity in pursuit of the realization of Colonial Williamsburg's guiding idea: that the future may learn from the past.
Colin G. Campbell
Chairman and President