Annual Fund

Our commitment to carry the values of President Lincoln to future generations.

October 2020

Dear Friend of Hildene,

I hope this letter finds you safe and well.

This has been a year like no other – for all of us. In the spring, we were closed for over two months while preparing for a reopening that came slowly. While our guest count continues to improve, and we hope for a great foliage season, the truth is we will not make up all our losses.

We have adapted, however, and our 412-acres have proven to be an ideal place to be together-apart, enjoying and engaging in history, trails, gardens, and farms. For our youth education programs, which are at the heart of our mission, we replaced our summer camps with Camp-in-a-Box instructional kits with all the tools needed to peak a child’s curiosity about the wonders of the natural world. With school back in session, or students learning at home, we created home study kits that support the Next Generation Science Standards while providing opportunities for children to explore, learn, and make their own discoveries.

Meanwhile, we have seen a considerable drop in “earned” income from admissions, museum store sales, farm products and private functions. We now think we will end the year with admissions at about 40% of last year and earned income at less than half of the $1.6 million we had projected at the beginning of the year.

Like many businesses, nonprofits, and families, we are grateful for assistance from federal and state COVID relief programs. But we still face a considerable gap. More than ever before in our 42-year history, we are relying on the continued generosity of our loyal donors, like you.

To encourage an enthusiastic response, Hildene Trustees have reached deep and offered to match all new giving from our supporters. In other words, if you are able to make an annual gift, our Trustees will match your gift dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.

Would you be able to make a gift, knowing that it will be matched and help us continue to meet our mission, putting Values into Action and inspiring others to do the same?

Times like these have only reinforced the need for a place like Hildene: a place to engage in history, enjoy our gardens and the animals on our farm, and seek the solace of our trails.

Please be as generous as you can. Together we will emerge even stronger.

Thank you,

Brian Keefe





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.



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.