Annual Report to Donors
Brighter Days Ahead: A Message of Gratitude
The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation is an invaluable educational institution committed to sharing the stories of this nation’s founding—its struggle for independence during the American Revolution, and more than a century earlier through the convergence of three cultures in a place named Jamestown. It is here, more than 400 years later, that people from across Virginia and around the world engage with us at our museums, online, and through outreach efforts.
2020 was a year of transition to new leadership with my beginning as Executive Director in January after the retirement of Philip G. Emerson. The Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors and Foundation Board of Trustees also experienced changes in leadership with the election of Sue Gerdelman and Delegate Ken Plum, respectively. But there is little doubt, the greatest impact of the year has been the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under a gubernatorial mandate and in the interest of public safety, Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown closed for 15 weeks, beginning on March 14, 2020. But we didn’t rest on our laurels. Throughout this trying time, we sought new opportunities to share stories of American history while ensuring safety of staff and visitors.
The staff quickly pivoted to offer a host of online, virtual experiences for children, adults and educators that reached thousands and attracted new audiences across the country. When we reopened our museums on June 24, 2020, the focus was on keeping employees and visitors safe while offering the best possible experiences. The initiatives undertaken reflect a dedicated and inspired staff who have worked tirelessly to bring it all to fruition. Even though we are now accomplishing it in different ways, we continue to fulfill our mission—educating Americans about the founding and early history of our nation through diverse cultural perspectives.
The future of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation is bright despite a challenging year. The successes shared in the pages of this Annual Report would not have been possible without the loyalty and encouragement of donors like you. In these difficult times, your support of our museums has made a tremendous difference. During the pandemic, it has allowed us to keep our museum doors open, to retain our core museum staff, to engage visitors with living-history interpretation, and to educate thousands of students, families, and teachers on site and online.
After this turbulent year, there are many reasons to be grateful. And you, our donors, are one of them. Your generosity has helped to carry us through the storms of 2020. As we now look to the future, 2021 brings exciting opportunities to engage new audiences and inspire children and adults with the stories of the American Revolution and the cultures meeting at Jamestown.
We thank you for being a part of our journey, for helping us navigate stormy seas, for setting our sights on brighter days ahead. We couldn’t have done it without you. We are truly grateful.
Christy S. Coleman