July 8, 2014
Colonial Williamsburg President Notes Positive Trends in 2013, Optimism about Foundation’s Future
2013 Annual Report Published in Summer Journal
WILLIAMSBURG, Va., (July 8, 2014) – In the 2013 annual report released this week, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation president and chief executive officer Colin Campbell expressed appreciation for the continued support of a growing donor base and reflected on 25 years of association with the foundation.
“An institutional commitment to early American history requires a firm focus on the future,” writes Campbell in the summer issue of Colonial Williamsburg, the foundation’s quarterly magazine. He noted that throughout his 25 years of direct involvement – as trustee and president – “That the future may learn from the past” remains the mission, and following that objective has required constant reassessments, reappraisals and nearly non-stop renovation.
The annual report includes 2013 financial results previously released in February, with donor support significantly outpacing the prior year and all principal business areas registering revenue increases. Colonial Williamsburg realized a 2 percent increase in total ticket revenues, reflecting higher core ticket sales, including single-day, multi-day and annual passes. A several-year trend of declining visits in the peak summer months was reversed, which Campbell called “a most gratifying and encouraging development.”
- Gift commitments totaled $75.2 million – an 18 percent increase over 2012 and included commitments to the endowment of more than $52 million. More than 113,000 donors representing all 50 states contributed, with 16 percent hailing from Virginia. Nearly 20,000 new annual fund donors chose to support Colonial Williamsburg in 2013, a 9 percent increase over the previous year. Gifts to the Colonial Williamsburg Fund, which supports operations, totaled a record $15 million.
- All principal sources of revenue were modestly higher in 2013 than in 2012. Total revenues for the calendar year, including budgeted endowment support, were $181 million in 2013, an increase of $4 million compared with 2012.
- Expenses for 2013 totaled $215 million, an increase of $1 million compared with 2012. Operating expenses exceeded operating revenues by $34 million.
- The market value of Colonial Williamsburg’s endowment was $784 million as of Dec. 31, 2013, an increase of $49 million over the 2012 year-end value. The endowment investment return was 16.3 percent for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, which compares favorably with the performance of other endowed institutions. Net assets increased by $97 million, ending the year at $907 million.
Other Highlights of 2013
- More than 208,000 people visited the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, due in large part to new exhibitions – “Painters and Paintings of the Early American South,” which opened in March 2013; and “Threads of Feeling,” a traveling display of 59 books of textile tokens on loan from Coram, a British children’s charity.
- Colonial Williamsburg’s Speaker Series featured three prominent citizens in 2013. Pulitzer-prize-winning author Jon Meacham provided insight into the life of Thomas Jefferson during a visit in May. Arianna Huffington, herself a naturalized American citizen, spoke at Colonial Williamsburg’s annual naturalization ceremony on Flag Day. New York Times columnist David Brooks discussed civility and civics in September.
- A new book, “The Idea of America: How Values Shaped Our Republic and Hold the Key to Our Future,” co-authored by Bill White, the Royce R. and Kathryn M. Baker vice president for productions, publications and learning ventures, and two colleagues, captures the value tensions in American history and reflects the intellectual underpinnings of programming in the Historic Area and educational outreach.
- The Revolutionary City, the centerpiece of Colonial Williamsburg’s history and citizenship initiative, expanded to a full-day experience creating an even stronger sense of community within revolutionary-era Williamsburg. Adding to the street activity, the completed Anderson Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury site was dedicated in November, presenting numerous trades working together in support of the American war effort: blacksmiths forging and repairing hardware, tinsmiths fashioning military accoutrements and other trade artisans repairing and rebuilding military arms, while historic foodways interpreters re-create the meals the kitchen provided to James Anderson’s diverse 40-strong work force. A $5 million gift from Colonial Williamsburg trustee Forrest Mars Jr. enabled reconstruction of the site.
- The third episode of “RevQuest: Save the Revolution” debuted in the summer of 2013, with “The Black Chambers,” an engaging game of espionage based upon actual events, with players using Internet and smartphone technology to find clues, break codes, have fun and learn history.
- A series of international conferences known as the Williamsburg-CSIS Forum met for the first time. The forum is the result of a partnership among the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a preeminent Washington, D.C., think tank, the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg. The Williamsburg- CSIS Forum seeks to engage difficult 21st-century governing issues by using America’s own revolutionary history as a frame of reference. Egypt was the subject of the first forum, followed in March 2014 by a forum that addressed political and economic challenges faced by the European Union.
- The Golden Horseshoe Gold Course celebrated its 50th anniversary in the fall of 2013, while two new retail stores opened in the Historic Area. Colonial Williamsburg launched “The Taste Tradition,” a festival of culinary arts and spirits over Labor Day weekend, attracting guests from the region and beyond to participate in a broad range of dining and entertainment experiences.
- Teacher Institute and Teacher Development conferences served 1,277 teachers from 34 states in conferences and workshops on- and off-site. The Electronic Field Trip series continued to engage students with stories such as “Civil War Ironclads,” produced in partnership with the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Va., and the National Civil War Naval Museum in Port Columbus, Ga., and “The American Revolution on the Frontier,” produced in partnership with the Missouri History Museums in St. Louis.
- Colonial Williamsburg continued to develop a strong, engaged social media-based community in 2013, with promotions and new offerings contributing to a 51 percent growth in Colonial Williamsburg’s social audience.
- The Martin Agency of Richmond, Va., was retained to help Colonial Williamsburg reach a wider audience and enlist new patrons through independently conducted research and creative advertising.
- Colonial Williamsburg continues to collaborate with Preservation Virginia at Historic Jamestowne, forging close links between the two sites in support of world-class archaeology, and new, integrated programing. Partnerships with the Virginia Arts Festival, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Williamsburg Symphonia and An Occasion for the Arts brought cultural opportunities to guests and local residents. The Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia brought emerging Virginia political leaders to the Revolutionary City.
2014 and Beyond
A conference jointly sponsored by Colonial Williamsburg and the Chautauqua Institution, entitled “Turning Worlds Upside Down: Liberty and Democracy in Revolutionary Times,” was held in February 2014. The conference brought historians and scholars together to examine how the desire for justice and human rights throughout history has motivated people to seek political change that promises a better future.
A landmark long-term exhibition, “A Rich and Varied Culture: the Material World of the Early South,” featuring many objects on loan from other major institutions and private collectors, opened in mid-February during the 66th rendition of the Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum.
“RevQuest: the Old Enemy,” the fourth in the series of interactive spy games, began in mid-March and will continue until the end of November, making 2014 the first year during which the popular interactive game has been offered throughout most of the year.
Construction on the new Market House, funded by a $1 million gift from Forrest Mars Jr., will begin later this year. When completed in 2015, the reconstructed 18th-century market house will restore one of the central features of Market Square, bringing greater vitality and authenticity to Colonial Williamsburg’s interpretation of economic and social life in colonial America.
President Campbell concluded his annual message by expressing thanks for the support and relationships developed over the past 25 years. As previously announced, Mitchell B. Reiss, president of Washington College in Chestertown, Md., since 2010, will assume the responsibilities of Colonial Williamsburg’s president and CEO in October.
“I feel I share a very special bond with the extended Colonial Williamsburg family,” said Campbell. “It is a bond born out of a shared understanding and appreciation of this special place. With your help, this unique institution will continue to make a most valuable and lasting contribution to understanding the genesis of America and the central role of its citizens in shaping our future. For your support of Colonial Williamsburg and your friendship, I thank you,” he concluded.