Our commitment to carry the values of President Lincoln to future generations.
Dear Friend of Hildene
Last year we wrote to you about our commitment to carry the values of President Lincoln to future generations. Consistent with that commitment, we also wrote about our High School Summer Jobs Program, the launch of the Hildene Youth Corps for middle schoolers, the construction of an animal barn and the return of agriculture to Dene Farm.
This has been, in many ways, a year of follow-through. We modified the Youth Corps from lessons learned the first year and we honed the summer jobs program. We now also have alpacas, cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens and rabbits at Dene Farm. This fall, we will sell yarn in the museum store derived from a mix of our alpaca fleece and sheep wool. We are drawing visitors across the entire property, with many staying for five or six hours. This is Hildene as it should be: families piling out of cars to spend a day outside experiencing all the venues across the property.
Our extensive education programs are expensive and if we charged anywhere near what they really cost, few schools or summer campers could afford to come. We have fourteen historic buildings in need of constant maintenance. We have roads to plow and a fleet of vehicles to maintain. We do a lot with a small staff, but it all costs money. That’s just life in a non-profit.
We do everything possible to end the year in the operational black. We are a non-profit with a lot of needs, so it is always a struggle. In the last several years we have increased the portion of our income derived from admissions, museum store sales, Hildene product and private functions. That is a real achievement, but the reality is that we will always need the help of our friends to close the gap between income and expenses.
We need your help to keep this remarkable operation, doing so much good for so many, in full swing. Thank you for all you do to make Hildene the success it is.
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 have increased attendance from 19,000 in 2005 to over 42,000 in 2017;
We know that half of those 42,000 are in the area for the purpose of coming to Hildene, while the other half come 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.