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August 29, 2006

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation issues 2005 Annual Report

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation today released its 2005 annual report detailing record-setting fundraising, new innovative programming and the imminent completion of a five-year $220 million investment in facilities. Published as a special issue of the Foundation’s journal, Colonial Williamsburg, the report also highlights new technology and educational initiatives that are expanding and enhancing the living history experience.

In 2005, the Foundation’s net assets increased by $11 million to $861 million. The endowment produced a net investment return of 8.3 percent. Ticket sales totaled 710,450 up slightly from 707,000 in 2004, and total admissions increased 1% in 2005 to 734,000.

The Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg reached $471 million at the end of 2005, 94% of its $500 million goal. Grants, gifts and pledges from supporters totaled $70.9 million, while a record 109,743 individuals contributed $13.4 million to the Annual Fund.

“Our loyal donors are the lifeblood of the Foundation and their numbers continue to grow, as generous supporters realize the value of preserving Colonial Williamsburg as a true and lasting steward of our American heritage,” said Foundation President and Chairman Colin G. Campbell.

The Foundation had an operating loss of $37.8 million due primarily to the closure of the Williamsburg Lodge during renovations which negatively impacted occupancy. Total debt increased by $57 million to fund Lodge construction and other capital needs. The new Williamsburg Lodge Conference Center opens in fall 2006 and will serve as a cornerstone of the Foundation’s hospitality operations in the future.

“Investments in programs and facilities mean taking calculated risks to ensure our future,” said Campbell. “We maintained a strong balance sheet, and the endowment value reached $712.1 million at year’s end. This was achieved in the face of operating deficits which resulted from this period of transition, and which are a paramount focus of management to reduce and eventually eliminate.”

“In 2005, the Foundation’s investments in facilities restoration and innovative programming continued as we prepare for the future with a goal of increasing tourism in our region while advancing our educational mission,” said Campbell. “The completion of the Lodge and Conference Center and opening of our new spa will restore a vital component of our economic engine while positioning Williamsburg and the larger Historic Triangle as a premier destination.”

He added, “The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is proud to be a Founding Colony Sponsor of America’s 400th Anniversary commemorating the founding of Jamestown in 1607, by providing $3 million dollars in cash and in-kind support. In addition, new programming, a new folk art museum, a transformed regional welcome center, and new and expanded lodging and conference facilities will be important Colonial Williamsburg contributions to the appeal of the region in 2007.”

Collections and Museums
The new Museums of Colonial Williamsburg will open in late 2006 combining the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in one facility. Together these museums display one of the world’s leading collections of American folk art, first begun by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, wife of Colonial Williamsburg founder John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and British-American decorative arts dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The varied exhibits and diverse collections of the two museums complement each other in a way that will tell a rich story of the American people through the nation’s formative years.

Historic Area
The development of the Revolutionary City program, the new interactive street-theater performance, is indicative of the transformation at Colonial Williamsburg. The new program, launched in March 2006, is part of the Foundation’s Education for Citizenship initiative, emphasizing the fundamental importance of citizen participation in a functioning democracy. The Revolutionary City program completes the timeline of events between the landing at Jamestown in 1607 and the Continental Army’s victory at Yorktown in 1781. The new program aims to reinvent the living history experience with dramatic interpretation that engages and inspires. Revolutionary City bridges the distance between today and the 1770s through compelling reenactments that connect with contemporary issues. Early indicators suggest a positive impact on visitation.

Productions, Publications and Learning Ventures
The Education for Citizenship initiative continues to draw on technology to create innovative instructional platforms for improving history education. A partnership with the publisher Pearson Scott Foresman has resulted in a unique, non-linear history curriculum that is being adopted widely by California schools. In 2005, the Foundation broadcast seven Electronic Field Trips reaching millions of students throughout the country. Additionally, the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute grew to 23 weeks of on-site instruction to more than 500 teachers, and the number of off-site teacher workshops rose significantly, as well.

The introduction of podcasts and audio downloads reached an audience of 90,000 people per month with original material and behind-the-scenes interviews. Adding to the innovative application of technology, the recent introduction of three audio tour programs has allowed visitors to explore the Historic Area more thoroughly.

Campbell said, “The Internet revolution meets the American Revolution at Colonial Williamsburg as we embrace the digital age and apply current technology to expand our learning ventures and make the visitor experience more enjoyable and meaningful.”

Work on the Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center, a fitness center, and spa will conclude in late 2006 and early 2007. The Foundation is already witnessing significant demand for its new conference facilities, and many business organizations have already booked events for Fall 2006.

In 2005, the Williamsburg Inn again made Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s Gold List and Travel and Leisure magazine’s roster of 500 Great Hotels in the World. The Inn’s Regency Room earned the AAA’s Four Star Diamond rating and the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award. The Golden Horseshoe Golf Club won a gold medal from Golf magazine and the Gold Course received repeat recognition by Golf Digest as a Five-Star course. Conde Nast Traveler named the Inn and Golden Horseshoe resort among the “100 Top Golf resorts around the World.”

The Products Division delivered record results through high-quality, Williamsburg-inspired merchandise. Revenue from direct marketing, which includes catalog and Web sales, grew 8 percent from 2004, led by e-commerce, which grew by 38 percent. Revenue from the Design Studio, which offers interior design services drawing on the historical resources of the Foundation, increased 70 percent over 2004. Five new manufacturers joined the Foundation’s licensing program, now in its 68th year.

In 2005, the Foundation board of trustees elected two new members, Richard M. Donnelly and Cynthia Hardin Milligan.

Donnelly is principal of Donnelly Associates, a consulting firm to the manufacturing industry, and an industrial partner with Ripplewood Holdings, LLC, a private-equity firm. His career spans more than 30 years in management at General Motors, much of that focused on international operations. Donnelly and his wife, Sue, are members of the Foundation’s Raleigh Tavern Society and live in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Milligan is dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska. A lawyer and formerly a consultant to financial institutions, she is a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank-Omaha and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she serves as chairman. She and her husband, Bob, are members of the Raleigh Tavern Society and live in Lincoln, NE.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation 2005 Annual Report is available online at

Media Contact:
Tom Shrout
(757) 220-7265