Our commitment to carry the values of President Lincoln to future generations.
Dear Friend of Hildene,
Responsible agriculture, fulfilling jobs, the conservation of ecosystems and preservation of history—these are tangible contributions to community and to next generations. They are also Hildene’s values put into action. Of course, it is people who power our actions: staff, volunteers, guests, learners of all ages, members, and you—our financial contributors. In late fall, as winter approaches, we ask for your contributions to our annual fund.
More than the change of seasons is upon us. The covid pandemic has changed, and continues to change, our lives. We are fortunate at Hildene to have experienced one of the most successful foliage seasons in our history, while continuing to shift our covid protocols to keep staff and guests safe. The past year has seen much more than a resurgence of visitors despite trying times, Hildene has been highly productive. We have:
Major and minor maintenance and restoration projects across the property, including the exterior of the Lincoln home (expected completion 2022)
Additions to our Lincolniana and Lincoln family archives through the receipt of generous gifts of intriguing artifacts
Introduction of new learning opportunities including the Exploration Backpack Program, Thursdays in the Garden series, a virtual tour of Robert & Mary’s home, and virtual Pullman Porter Programs for all ages
Increased fiber production with an expanded herd of alpaca and flock of sheep
Increased food production in our gardens to address the food insecure through our contributions to Grateful Hearts and the Manchester Community Food Cupboard
Expansion of our commitment to farm-to-table based practices, where our partner caterers make use of Hildene Farm cheeses, eggs, meats and vegetables to provide truly local culinary experiences both on-property and off
Continued development of the Hildene Farm product line for The Museum Store, with a commitment to best-practice farming, community building, and the practice of slow craft
While these myriad initiatives provide a beautiful destination for the local and global community, engage guests in educational opportunities, and create food, fiber and fun, they also provide jobs. Hildene offers summer employment to local high school students on Hildene Farm where they gain an awareness of how food is produced as well as the opportunity to work hard to produce it. Twenty to thirty seasonal positions are filled across our grounds, gardens, farm, and guest services and operational support. Hildene also employs 32 full-time, year-round staff who grow as individuals, just as the organization grows by virtue of their talents and dedication.
The leaves have largely fallen and the throngs of foliage observers are heading home. As the snow begins to fly, we’ll be planting the greenhouse for next year, thanks to you. The annual fund supports our operation; it feeds and fuels. Donations are more than half of our annual budget. As you consider your annual giving, we hope you will reflect upon the totality of the mission-driven work here at Hildene and give generously.
With deep gratitude for your support,
Brian Keefe, President
SPECIAL MESSAGE: The Cares Act/New Charitable Giving Incentives
Signed into law on March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act") includes provisions designed to encourage charitable contributions of cash. It allows a growing number of taxpayers who do not itemize their returns to receive a tax deduction of up to $300 for cash donations to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations during calendar year 2020. Taxpayers who itemize returns may now deduct up to 100% of their 2020 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). The limit on corporate donations has been lifted from 10% to 25%. Your gift to Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home at this time may provide you with additional tax advantages. Please consult your tax advisor, and thank you for your consideration.
SOME OF THE REASONS HILDENE MATTERS:
We are an internationally recognized Lincoln site, drawing visitors from around the world and every state in the Union;
We are the only Lincoln site focused on promoting President Lincoln’s core values of Integrity, Perseverance and Civic Responsibility;
We increased attendance from 19,000 in 2005 to over 42,000 in 2019;
We know that half of those 42,000 visitors in 2019 were in the area for the purpose of coming to Hildene, while the other half came on the recommendation of our friends in the surrounding area;
We serve nearly 3,500 elementary and middle school children each year with excellent programming focused on natural science, agriculture and hands-on history;
Our summer jobs program provides employment and teaches life skills to as many as 15 high school and college students each summer;
Our Eighth Grade Lincoln Essay Competition, run statewide, has become a part of the curriculum in many Vermont middle schools;
We provide excellent programming for adults on topics connected to Hildene’s mission;
Our 412 acres in the middle of Manchester represent one of the great land conservation projects in Southern Vermont;
By returning agriculture to Hildene through the goat dairy on the upper level and Dene Farm on the lower, we help keep alive a vital component of Vermont’s heritage;
We plant and manage our landscape to provide habitat for pollinators;
We use only organically-derived pesticides or herbicides, even then very rarely;
We contribute $15,000,000 annually to the economy of The Shires;
Hildene provides an authentic, soul-enriching experience that draws people back year-after-year, time-after-time.