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February 3, 2006

CW experiences gains in ticket sales, donor support, Fund-raising campaign reaches $471 million

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s initiatives designed to boost attendance in 2005 and increase support from donors generated positive results. Development of new programs and promotional initiatives are keeping Colonial Williamsburg moving forward while maintaining its central focus on historic preservation and education.

“We continue to focus on our objectives of keeping Colonial Williamsburg relevant and preserving a site that was so central to the founding of the nation,” said Foundation President and Chairman Colin G. Campbell. “We have several initiatives well under way that will allow us to build on the transition in which we have been engaged over the past six years and to attract new and returning visitors.”

After several years of decline in annual ticket sales, Colonial Williamsburg experienced a slight increase in paid admissions in 2005 over the previous year. With the spring launch of the new Revolutionary City program, the Foundation is planning for a continued rise in visitor numbers. Colonial Williamsburg recorded 710,450 paid admissions and 733,463 total admissions, including complimentary tickets. This is an increase from 707,333 paid admissions and 728,812 total admissions in 2004.

The Foundation’s multi-year Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg reached $471 million. The Campaign recorded new gifts and pledges totaling $70.9 million. Sharp increases in gifts of more than $1 million and of $100,000 - $250,000 reflect among other factors the continued strengthening of the major gifts program and the continued success of the planned giving program.

At the same time, increased donor activity in 2005 resulted in the fourth consecutive year that the number of individual supporters topped the 100,000 mark. The Annual Fund came in at nearly $13.4 million, almost $1 million over last year for a record-breaking increase of 7.6 percent. Particularly impressive is the record number of individuals making gifts, exceeding 109,000 donors for a 6.3 percent increase.

“This national support is very encouraging in a year when so much fund-raising attention was focused necessarily on recovery from natural disasters both in this country and overseas,” said Campbell. “Our donors continue to respond generously to the importance of Colonial Williamsburg’s message in the 21st century.”

Colonial Williamsburg anticipates an increasing impact from high quality programs such as the award-winning Electronic Field Trip series and a website that recorded more than 10 million visitors in 2005. Many of those who have never been to Williamsburg perceive the significance of the Foundation’s mission—that the future may learn from the past—and of preserving the historic community for future generations. Helping young people learn about the responsibilities and attributes of citizenship makes Colonial Williamsburg an institution that people continue to visit, support and preserve.

“As we enter 2006, we have more exciting developments ahead for the Historic Triangle,” said Campbell. “These include the sail of the Godspeed up the east coast beginning this spring to draw attention to the Jamestown 2007 commemoration and an expanded Visitor Center that will provide services to guests to the Historic Triangle.

The 225th anniversary of the Victory at Yorktown in October will signal the beginning of official on-site Jamestown 2007 events, marking America’s 400th anniversary.”

Media Contact:
Tom Shrout
(757) 220-7281