I’m asking you to join with our other members from across the country to help those historic sites throughout the Shenandoah Valley that don’t have the benefit of inner circle supporters like you, that don’t have the organizational capacity of our Foundation, who don’t receive state or federal operating funds, and who are now facing an almost total loss of revenue due to closed doors and canceled events. In the best of times, many of these sites operate on a shoestring, and now many will be faced with fixed costs that they are unable to pay, and the possibility of not having the wherewithal to reopen when our communities finally begin to come out of our current situation. The funds generated by spring field trips and early summer travelers are essential for these important historic places – funds they are not likely to see this year. Our partner sites are facing a tough road ahead – and I’d like us to help.
Here’s what I propose: let’s quickly pull together a small fund – a Historic Sites Emergency Grant Fund – and create a direct grant program to disburse emergency grants to those historic sites that can demonstrate financial hardship due to the interruption of normal operations by the COVID-19 Pandemic. We would require them to complete a simple application detailing their situation and documenting the need. Look, I know that these won’t be huge grants; we’re talking somewhere between $500 and $2500 each. But for some of these sites just that little bit could make a huge difference. We don’t have the ability to make face masks or ventilators, but we can do our part to “turn over” a portion of our operation to the war effort. These other organizations just don’t have the donor base or the staff it takes to do a national campaign for assistance, and I think we can help with that. Because of you, we’ve been able to do great things for battlefield preservation – we are truly blessed to have you as part of our family. Let’s pull together to help these other organizations who are struggling to preserve and protect important historic sites throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Please consider sending a gift for our Historic Sites Emergency Grant Fund.
We want to get this assistance out as soon as we possibly can, but without you and others like you there will be no assistance to provide. Our goal is to quickly raise $50,000. That’s not an enormous amount, but it would be enough to provide grants to dozens of partner organizations – the museums, historic societies, historic homes, and battlefield groups who are keeping our history alive. Think about it. Without these sites that for years have quietly labored and preserved a patchwork of historic places, the very culture and feel of the Shenandoah Valley would be forever changed. They have long been our partners in preservation. Without them, heritage tourism – and visitation to our battlefield sites – would be dramatically and negatively impacted. I believe that we must do what we can in some small way to offer our assistance.
Congress created the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation not just to do our own important work, but also to be a leader to help partner sites throughout the National Historic District. At a trying time such as this, our leadership and support could mean more than ever. I hope that you will strongly consider making a contribution to our COVID-19 Historic Sites Emergency Grant Fund by clicking the link below.. Please help us use the strength of our Foundation to help others during this difficult moment in our history.
In the meantime, call if you need us, be well, stay safe . . . and we’ll see you soon.
CEO, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation