Dear Friends of the History Center:
We are most grateful for all you are doing to help us with this worthy project! This has been a year of successes, beginning with 2022’s GivingTuesday programs and ending with this year’s. We were very excited that the Cumberland Community Foundation (CCF) generously invited us to participate again this year, and the results once again exceeded previous year-end appeals. Gifts received between November 20th and November 29th were amplified by a generous pool of funds donated by from CCF unrestricted endowments, the Fayetteville New Car Dealers Association, Elizabeth M. “Beth” Keeney, Ray and Daphne Manning, Sammy and Carol Short, Healy Wholesale, Will Gillis, and anonymous donors. We thank you all.
We also are pleased to announce that we have secured an additional $5.0 million from the State of North Carolina to bring the total from the State so far for Phases 1, 2, and 3—plus the initial $1 million planning grant—to $70.6 million. We appreciate the State’s continuing support which will help pay the increasing costs of building materials, equipment, and exhibits due to inflation.
We recently received $200,000 of a $1.0 million total commitment made by a foundation that wishes to remain anonymous, and a trust in Raleigh has pledged $300,000 over 3 years for our education program in the eastern part of the state. The trust asked us to raise $450,000 over 3 years for eastern North Carolina education as a match of their gift. The trust especially wants to see new giving to the History Center, to show commitment to education from people and organizations who have never given or who have not given in the past 18 months.
While most of our focus this year has been on exhibit design and construction plans, our core mission—the statewide education program—began in earnest October 18th and 19th with a teachers’ symposium organized and conducted by Dr. Michael McElreath, the History Center’s Education Initiatives Director, in Elizabeth City at the Museum of the Albemarle. Sixteen select teachers participated, representing nearly every county in northeast North Carolina (District 1 of the NC Department of Public Instruction). Lecturers were Dr. Melissa Stuckey of the University of South Carolina, Dr. Judkin Browning of Appalachian State University, and Dr. Gerald Prokopowicz of East Carolina University and a member of our Board of Advisors. With the help of pending private requests and your matching gifts, we will present 11 more of these symposia across the state, working with educators in teaching the “hard history” of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. We also will seek funds from community foundations across the state, since the education program will benefit every county in North Carolina. If you have contacts at a community foundation, please let us know! Our next symposium is taking place in the Asheville/Weaverville area February 14-15, 2024.
On December 14th we submitted a grant request to the Cannon Foundation, located in Concord, for $100,000 to help us offset the increased costs of our future Pavilion, whose construction is expected to begin by February 2024 and be complete in August 2024.
In the meantime, the History Center’s leadership is refining the plans for Phase 3’s main facility and grounds and continuing content development on exhibits. We expect to complete the 50,000 square foot educational center in 2027.
The costs to complete Phases 2 and 3, to run our three-year education program, and to pay operating expenses through much of fiscal year 2026-27 until the State takes over operations are estimated at $84.0 million. More than $3 million is needed to create this educational center for students of all ages with interactive exhibits, factual digital content, and outreach across the state of North Carolina and its public and private school systems.
We have updated our website to make it more modern, vibrant, and user-friendly. It contains new architectural renderings and is packed with vetted stories and historical content from the Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras. Please continue sending us your stories by clicking on this link: http://www.nccivilwarcenter.org/Share-A-Story
As always, we thank you for your support! Our best wishes to you and yours for a joyous holiday season.
John M. “Mac” Healy
Chair, Board of Directors