NEWPORT – The van Beuren Charitable Foundation has awarded the Preservation Society of Newport County a $625,000 grant toward the creation of an endowed “Fund for Fellows” to support original research and scholarship in history, design and preservation.
The foundation is a Rhode Island-based grant-making organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the unique characteristics of Newport County.
Combined with a $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and gifts from private donors, including a prior gift from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Preservation Society has raised a total of $1.5 million for this program.
This latest grant brings the Preservation Society near the halfway mark of its $3.3 million goal for the Fund for Fellows.
“We are tremendously grateful to the van Beuren Charitable Foundation for its generous support of this vital academic project,” said Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe. “We know this generous gift will help to inspire additional donors to support both the endowment and the restoration work.”
Coxe said the Preservation Society now has funding to support three fully endowed fellows, plus partial funding for a fourth position. The ultimate goal is to endow five fellows who will live and work in a scholars center that will be created by restoring the Carriage House at The Elms, she said.
“Investments like this one are the lifeblood of the Preservation Society,” added Coxe. “Without the support of our donors, we could not accomplish our mission of maintaining these houses and their collections and advancing our knowledge of the period of history they represent. The research that these fellows will conduct will contribute to the vibrancy of the tours and programs we offer, sustaining the economic vitality of the Preservation Society, and ultimately of Newport as a visitor destination.”
The fellowship opportunity at the Preservation Society, one of the society’s key comprehensive campaign initiatives, will provide not only academic support for scholarly research and publication, but also the opportunity to work with mentors on the Preservation Society staff developing marketable professional skills and experience in museum- and preservation-related fields.
The Preservation Society’s comprehensive campaign, An American Story, has four key fundraising priorities: to establish The Elms Scholars Center and endowed Fund for Fellows, thereby supporting original research and scholarship on Newport’s history and the Preservation Society’s collections; to build the endowment, to ensure that the Preservation Society can continue to face the challenge of maintaining its historic properties for generations to come; to invest in conservation and collections, in order to care for its more than 55,000 artifacts in accordance with best museum practices and continue to reacquire objects original to its properties; and to enhance the visitor experience, by building a new welcome center at The Breakers.
In 1986, John A. and Hope H. van Beuren established the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, which has contributed more than $50 million to the community since its inception. As an extension of the family's philanthropic values, it focuses on supporting and enhancing the exceptional natural, cultural and human resources of Newport County.
The Preservation Society of Newport County is a nonprofit accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area's historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them national historic landmarks – span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.