February Charity of the Month: The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association
February 1, 2012
Newt and Callista Gingrich
The Gingrich Foundation is proud to announce that the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is February’s Charity of the Month in honor of Presidents Day and the birthday of President George Washington.
As the leader of the American Revolution and the first president of the United States, George Washington’s legacy is perhaps the most enduring in American history. Washington devoted his life to securing American liberty. Following the American Revolution, Washington returned to his home on the Potomac River, Mount Vernon.
The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is the oldest national historic preservation organization in the United States. The Association is charged with maintaining George Washington’s home and estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. It was founded in 1853 by Ann Pamela Cunningham, a resident of rural South Carolina.
Under Ms. Cunningham’s leadership, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association sought to raise $200,000 in a national appeal to save Washington’s home. Five years later, the Association purchased Mount Vernon from President Washington’s great-grandnephew and began to restore it. Because the site had not been cared for and the interior of the mansion was mostly vacant, the Association was faced with the task of both repairing the building and restoring its contents. In 1860, the Association finally opened Mount Vernon to the public, and it has remained as a monument to the Father of Our Country for over 150 years.
Today, approximately one million people visit Mount Vernon each year. The mansion, now restored with many of its original furnishings, is open for tours. Guests are free to roam the gardens and grounds, where a variety of original buildings still stand. On a hillside overlooking the Potomac, President Washington is buried with his wife Martha and several other family members. At the pioneer farm site, as well as at the working blacksmith shop, distillery, and gristmill, visitors to Mount Vernon can get a better sense of Washington’s life as a farmer by seeing important components of his estate operating much as they were when Washington died in 1799.
Several recent additions to the Mount Vernon property help supplement the education of its many visitors. The Ford Orientation Center presents an 18-minute video introduction to Washington’s life and accomplishments, and the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center features 23 galleries and theaters to learn about Washington in further depth. The Museum even has Washington’s famous dentures, made of human and animal teeth.
The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association cares for one of our country’s most important historic sites — the home and estate of our first president, George Washington, without the use of public funds.
“We appreciate very much that the Gingrich Foundation has set an example for others to follow,” said James C, Rees, president of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. “Because we don’t receive any government support, we depend upon the generosity of a wide range of patriotic Americans.”
Please join us in supporting the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association today.
Newt and Callista Gingrich