THEODORE ROOSEVELT INAUGURAL SITE PLANS NEW VISITOR CENTER IN REBUILT CARRIAGE HOUSE
Letter from the President and Executive Director - Capital Campaign Closing in on $2.2 Million Goal - October 2, 2007
We are pleased to report great progress towards reaching our $2.2 million fundraising goal. With generous support from numerous sources, our vision of building a new addition on the site of the former Wilcox carriage house and making improvements to the Wilcox Mansion is close to becoming a reality.
Since we last reported progress at 55% of goal, or $1,230,000, several major gifts have been received. Through the leadership of New York State Senators Mary Lou Rath and Dale Volker, the project has received a $340,000 grant from New York State! Our state representatives supported the original restoration of the Wilcox Mansion. Along with previously noted National Park Service, trustee, volunteer, and community leadership contributions, the Capital Campaign has reached $1,950,000! We are now within $250,000 of our goal.
So what’s next? Our fundraising agreement with the National Park Service requires that all funds must be raised before construction can begin. Our goal is to begin construction as early as possible next spring so the project can be completed by fall of 2008. We are asking for everyone’s help to raise the final dollars and ensure that construction can begin on schedule.
Members will receive a letter this fall with further information about the project and a request for support. Please be generous. Your contribution really will make a difference in moving the project forward.
Thanks for your ongoing interest and for sharing information about our project with your family and friends. We welcome their support too! And as always, please call either of us with any questions or suggestions.
President Lawrence D. Seymour
Executive Director Molly Quackenbush
Letter from the President and Executive Director - Capital Campaign Progress Report -January 21, 2007
Our Capital Campaign aspires to raise $2.2 million for a new addition on the site of the former Wilcox carriage house and for continued preservation of the Wilcox Mansion. Thanks to the National Park Service’s commitment of $730,000, generous gifts from our trustees, volunteers, staff, and friends, and positive responses from three area foundations, the Capital Campaign continues to move forward. As of mid January, $1,230,000 of our goal has been reached or 55%! The Campaign’s next steps include approaching additional foundations, corporations, and our members. We are still in the Campaign’s “quiet phase” where we reach out to our closest friends and supporters. In the planning stage are numerous informational meetings and receptions that will be held over the next several months to explain the project, share architectural drawings, and answer questions. Please watch for further details this winter and spring. We hope you’ll join us and share the excitement.
Late last summer, the Site’s volunteers took on the challenge of raising $25,000 in donations for the Campaign. They called their effort “Lighting the Way to the Carriage House” because they targeted their support to help underwrite the lighting in the new building. As of this printing, the volunteer drive has raised over $30,000 with 80% of active volunteers participating! The Site’s dedicated volunteers are once again leading by example and demonstrating the crucial role they play here at the Site.
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Site’s 1971 opening and the announcement of plans for the carriage house project, volunteers from the Junior League’s 1968 Wilcox Committee reunited for a luncheon meeting last fall. The Junior League’s pledge of $50,000 plus volunteer support in 1968 was instrumental in saving and restoring the Wilcox Mansion. The remembrances, camaraderie, and pride that these individuals share for the work they accomplished together were truly inspirational. And even more inspiring is their renewed commitment to the Site and its plans for the future. Committee members have offered to record their memories for the Site’s archives, made generous gifts to the Capital Campaign, and shared their enthusiasm with other Junior League members. This wonderful initiative would not have taken place without the leadership of Carol Wagner with the assistance of Sheila Hess.
President Lawrence D. Seymour
Executive Director Molly Quackenbush
Capital Campaign off to a Great Start - $100,000 Grant Received! - October 30, 2006
On September 13, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation received the wonderful news that it had received a $100,000 grant from the James H. Cummings Foundation to help underwrite handicapped accessibility in both the Wilcox Mansion and the new carriage house addition. This is the largest single foundation grant that the Site has ever received and marks a substantial step forward in the recently launched Capital Campaign.
The Campaign seeks to raise $2.2 million for a new addition on the site of the former Wilcox carriage house and for continued preservation of the Wilcox Mansion. The National Park Service, the TR Site Foundation’s management partner, has already pledged $730,000 for upgrades to the Wilcox Mansion, which leaves $1.5 million for the Foundation to raise for the carriage house addition. Besides providing an accessible museum experience for all visitors, the project will also support expanded educational programming, improved storage for the Site’s collection, and new revenue opportunities.
In addition to the generous grant from the Cummings Foundation, we are also very proud to report that 100% of the TR Site Foundation’s trustees have made personal commitments totally $300,000, or 20% of the goal. This outstanding support provides an impressive and solid base as the Campaign reaches out in its next phase to Site volunteers and staff, as well as to additional foundations.
In August, a special event was held for Site volunteers to bring them up to date on plans for the project and to ask for their support. More than ninety people attended this upbeat and fun reception where the theme for the Volunteer Campaign was announced – “Lighting the Way to the Carriage House.” Site volunteers are well on their way to reaching their goal of 100% participation and $25,000 in donations to help underwrite the lighting in the new building. Volunteers are “lighting the way” both symbolically and literally, a tribute to the crucial role they play at the Site.
We will be reaching out to Site members early in 2007. We look forward to sharing information on the project with you, inviting you to the Site to view architectural renderings, answering your questions, and asking for your support. In the meantime, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to contact Executive Director Molly Quackenbush at 884-0095 or Board President Larry Seymour at 856-6950. We are off to a great start and feel confident that with everyone’s support we will reach our goal!
Building Project Update - June 23, 2006
Planning for the Site’s building project continues to move forward on two fronts – first, the design for the new addition and upgrades to the Wilcox House, and second, the capital campaign that will make it a reality.
At the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation’s February board meeting, Schneider Design Architects was chosen as the project’s architect. Currently, Jake Schneider is working closely with the Site and architects from the National Park Service on the project’s pre-design phase. The new addition will be built on the site of the former Wilcox carriage house and will reflect the original design.
Leadership for the capital campaign was announced at a special board meeting in March. Foundation President Lawrence D. Seymour will serve as Campaign Chairman. Larry brings all the qualities necessary for the campaign’s success – commitment, generosity and enthusiasm. Joining Larry as Vice Chairs are Trustees Stanton Hudson and Maureen Saab. The campaign will benefit from Stanton’s expertise in communications while Maureen will use her development experience to help guide the process.
The Site is particularly pleased to count two very special supporters as Honorary Chairs - Jane Plimpton Plakias and Dr. J. Warren Perry. Mrs. Plakias has served as a trustee since 1991 and has a very unique insight and devotion to the Site as the great niece of Ansley Wilcox. As a child, Jane was a frequent visitor to the Wilcox home. Dr. Perry holds the honorary status of Trustee Emeritus. His leadership and dedication includes serving as Foundation President (1991-1994) and donating three personal collections to the Site that focus on Theodore Roosevelt, the Pan-American Exposition, and early Buffalo history.
As the building project moves forward, we look forward to sharing updates and asking for your input and support.
Letter From the President and Executive Director - Building Project Moves Forward
As reported in the fall 2005 edition of The Columns, planning for an exciting expansion at the Site is underway. A great deal was accomplished in the past year that has laid the ground work for our next steps. Specifically, a Master Plan Amendment and Environmental Assessment were completed and approved by the National Park Service, which designates the construction of a new addition on the site of the former Wilcox carriage house as the preferred solution for meeting the Site’s accessibility and space needs. The 4500 square foot addition will reflect the design and massing of the carriage house that stood on the property in 1901 when Roosevelt took the oath of office.
The project being undertaken is a true partnership between the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation and the National Park Service and involves both the new addition as well as upgrades to the historic Wilcox House. The addition will help the Site meet new goals – expanded educational offerings, universal access, improved collections storage, and new amenities for heritage tourists. Simultaneously, infrastructure systems within the Wilcox House itself will be shored up to preserve and protect the landmark building. While both partners are working together on overall design and construction issues, the Foundation is responsible for raising the funds to build the new addition, estimated at $1.5 million, while the NPS has committed to supporting the cost of upgrades to the Wilcox House, estimated at $730,000.
Last fall, the Foundation conducted a study to test the feasibility of fund raising for the building project. Forty individuals and institutions were interviewed including trustees, volunteers, donors, foundations, and corporate leaders. The final report was very positive, indicating that the Foundation can undertake a capital campaign with cautious optimism. The trustees approved moving forward with the campaign at a special December board meeting. The coming year will see pre-campaign planning and the “quiet phase” of the campaign.
Not since the Wilcox Mansion was saved from the wrecker’s ball in 1966 and lovingly restored through a major volunteer and community effort has a project of this magnitude been undertaken. We look once again to our supporters and the community at large to help insure this local and national landmark’s vibrant future.
Please get in touch with either of us if you have any questions or comments on the project. We welcome your input and look forward to sharing progress reports with you on a regular basis.
Lawrence D. Seymour, President
Molly Quackenbush, Executive Director
Executive Director’s Report
Our thanks to volunteers, members and friends who attended one of the public meetings in May or sent comments to us regarding the Draft Master Plan Amendment and Environmental Assessment. The process involved identifying and justifying the Site’s space needs, evaluating alternative solutions, and recommending a preferred action.
We are very pleased to announce that the Amendment has been approved by the National Park Service. The selected action is to construct a new addition on the site of the former carriage house. The addition will reflect the design and massing of the carriage house that stood on the property in 1901 when Roosevelt took the oath of office.
Planning will continue on the project design and funding through a partnership between the National Park Service and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation, the Site’s local managing entity. Next steps include designing the new addition, as well as planning for upgrades to the historic Wilcox House that will include electrical and heating systems, fire suppression, roof and exterior repair and restroom rehabilitation. The National Park Service will cover the costs of the Wilcox House projects, while the Foundation will be responsible for raising funds for the new construction. The TR Site Foundation is initiating a capital fund drive feasibility study this fall as a first step in its fundraising efforts.
We look forward to sharing information with you on all aspects of the project over the next year. Your interest and participation are welcomed and appreciated. Please call me if you have any questions, suggestions or comments.
Master Plan Amendment Process Completed.
The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site is pleased to announce that an Amendment to its Master Plan has been approved. The Amendment addresses the need for additional interior space for the safe and efficient operation of the Site. Several alternatives were considered to address identified shortcomings and were evaluated by means of an environmental assessment and public review.
The selected action is to construct a new addition on the site of the former carriage house. Planning will continue on the project design and funding through a partnership between the National Park Service and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation, which manages the site.
Plan calls for facility improvements to increase safety and visitor services.
To see the Finding of No Significant Impact, click here.