A letter from Germanna Foundation President Marc Wheat begins our 2017 Fundraising Drive to raise end-of-years funds to support next year’s work of the Foundation preserving the legacy of Germanna and making Germanna a national asset for all Americans.
Click here for more information on the different ways you can donate.
Dear Germanna Supporter,
Three hundred years ago-1717, when Blackbeard the Pirate was a threat-an intrepid group of German-speaking families (many of whom first met in London) arrived tired and weary at Fort Germanna in Virginia, which was the western frontier of the fledgling American colonies. There they joined other German colonists who had arrived a few years earlier and now made their homes at the Fort and worked as rangers to identify likely iron mines.
This second group of colonists had been packed off as indentured servants by the captain of their ship and forced to work in Virginia, instead of their original destination of Pennsylvania. This was not what they had planned and you can imagine the conversation around the camp fires and hearths.
After seven long years, they were given their long-sought freedom.
They could finally begin experiencing the opportunities that the promise of America held for those who worked hard, made sacrifices for a better future, and cherished freedoms and liberties that no other country allowed. They came to America to honor God as their conscience would direct them by planting their families and their new community on the frontier of America.
The story doesn’t end there. The descendants of the Fort Germanna colonists grew more numerous and spread throughout the country as it also grew. Every State in our Union has someone like you who is connected with Germanna and has made an impact there on their family, community, State and Nation. Even through ups and downs, those basic core Germanna values have remained.
But now 300 years later, a general amnesia seems to have descended on Americans. They have forgotten their shared core values because these are either not taught in school or aren’t being passed down from previous generations. Looking at the news headlines of today shows the result of this: a false narrative of our common history that is being distorted, with increasing tendency towards violence, hatred and division.
America needs more than ever before in her history to remember and return to the core values that the Germanna colonists believed in as new Americans. And here is how you can help keep their story and legacy alive—and impact today’s world.
The Germanna Foundation that you help support doesn’t just preserve buildings. We as a community pass on our precious heritage and core values to America that our 300 year perspective provides.
Recalling another important anniversary this year when 500 years ago Martin Luther stated, “here I stand, I can do no other,” we, too, believe in the importance of these core values also state to the world: Here we stand; we can do no other.
To promote these basic core American values means the focus of the Germanna Foundation is educating and engaging the public about the deeper, hopeful story of Fort Germanna, its colonists and their descendants throughout the country:
- We completed our second full season of archaeological investigations by Dr. Eric Larsen and other professional archaeologists and student interns to find Fort Germanna. Renowned archaeologist William Kelso, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for discovering Fort Jamestown, is our advisor and visited the Fort Germanna site in July to see its progress. Our goal is to have the Fort Germanna/Enchanted Castle site be named a National Historic Landmark which will guarantee the Germanna story—which is your story-will be remembered for posterity among all Americans.
- This year we unveiled a new orientation video on our website and at the Visitor Center that explains the story of Germanna to visitors. Be sure to watch it on Germanna.org!
- Our Foundation investigates and researches Germanna’s history and her “family of families.” While we learn of our people’s greed, folly and sin, we also learn how they rose above it all through generosity, stewardship and redemption. This year we completed the 21st Germanna Record publication of a Germanna family and more are planned.
- We are a depository and the safe keepers of your genealogical research into your Germanna families to ensure your hard work and legacy is not lost. Our Germanna descendant database now has over 113,000 individuals. Have you sent in your research to the Germanna Foundation yet?
- Our Germanna DNA project continues under the leadership of Germanna descendant Glenn Cress (who worked on NASA’s Apollo program in Mission Control), which helps people like you find their way back to their Germanna roots through innovative 21st century technology.
- We have a vibrant and active community of people like you who share a love of history and genealogy. We see this every year at our annual conference and reunion held for the past 60 years since 1957 where “cousins” meet and lasting bonds of friendships are formed. This year we hosted the largest reunion ever.
- We take seriously our stewardship of a historic and architecturally important 18th century manor house called Salubria. Because of your support, we were able to make post-earthquake repairs and now Salubria is becoming the center of community life again as it hosts public and private events. Its dramatic and original architecture has also made it a popular wedding photography session site. Wonderful memories are being made there again—all because of you.
Here is a beautiful new publication of ours that gives you a deeper overview of all that the Germanna Foundation does and the important part you play in furthering our mission as well as how to make our shared goals a success by a variety of gift-giving options. Please read it carefully and you may be surprised to find that the Foundation’s stewardship responsibility is much bigger than you realized!
Fort Germanna / Enchanted Castle Archaeological Site
- National Historic Landmark Status: Conduct research, prepare written materials and submit application. Cost includes historian/consultant fees.
- Staff Archaeologist: Discover Fort Germanna through archaeologist salary, benefits, administrative expenses, insurance and taxes for two years (through 2018).
- Interior Improvements for Archaeology Lab: Build out interior including special purpose improvements as well as all laboratory equipment.
- Site Protection & Security – Fence: Erect about 4,500 feet of fencing along property line, post signage, and install new gate on access roadway around the Fort Germanna site.
- Archaeological Fieldwork: Sponsor costs for annual field school with Virginia Commonwealth University. Cost includes part-time staff/contractor/intern assistance.
- Archaeology Equipment: Acquire surveying equipment for fieldwork, including high precision GPS equipment for Fort Germanna site surveys.
- Archaeologist Support & Administration: Provide funding for archaeological computing tools (hardware/software), travel/per diem, office supplies, training. Your donation will help Germanna fund conference presentations based on our archaeological findings.
- Reconstruct Second Floor – walls and doors: Reconstruct the second floor hall and bedroom walls.
- Reconstruct Second Floor Ceiling
- Restore/Rebuild Windows: Restore/rebuild the interior second floor windows (14) using dining room window reconstruction and existing original timbers as model/guide.
- Archaeological Survey: Conduct Phase I archaeological survey of property to locate additional site(s) to protect or preserve, and continue the search for Lady Spotswood’s grave, which oral history tradition states is on the property.
- Salubria Exhibit and Tour: Research and design interpretive tour of Salubria and property, produce materials, erect exhibit sign(s), recruit volunteer tour guide docents, and prepare property for regular schedule of public exhibit (or opening) dates/times.
- Drainage: Enhance grading and drainage, for copper gutter system completed following 2011 earthquake damage.
Brawdus Martin Fort Germanna Visitor Center / Siegen Forest
- Repair and Maintenance for Visitor Center
- Grounds Beautification: Design annual landscaping/gardening plan, purchase plants and materials, install new watering system and develop schedule with a combination of part-time/contract gardener(s) and volunteers to ensure grounds, including Memorial Garden, are landscaped and maintained through all seasons of the year.
- Complete/Repair Outdoor Lighting System: Finish installing planned outdoor lighting at Memorial Garden, repair flagpole lighting, add 2 flagpoles to honor the British and German heritage of the property, and install additional security and safety lighting as needed in parking area.
- Siegen Forest Interpretation: Promote public access by revising and publishing new trail guides, erecting additional outdoor signage, and conducting a grassroots PR campaign (trails are open to the public).
Foundation Operations & Administration
- Annual Audit & Tax Services: The Foundation has engaged Keiter, Inc., of Richmond, VA, to conduct an annual independent review of the Foundation’s financial records and to provide tax services (through 2019), a requirement for some grants-making organizations and to ensure accountability to our donors and members. Keiter audits Preservation Virginia and the Virginia Historical Society, among others.
- Personnel: Managing multiple projects and Foundation operations requires a dedicated professional staff. Salaries, benefits, insurance and taxes for Membership Development Manager, Office Manager, and Volunteer Coordinator (expanded hours) through 2018 (archaeologist position listed separately).
- Operations & Maintenance: Provide for ongoing expenses covering property insurance, utilities, security and buildings/ grounds maintenance; office and staff administrative support and infrastructure (phones, IT hardware, software systems, hosting and maintenance for websites, postage, business fees, etc.); travel; fundraising and marketing/member communications through 2018.
- Peer-Reviewed Germanna Research: Commission historian to research, write and publish a scholarly article concerning the German speaking transatlantic network that included Germanna.
- Annual Germanna Conference: Fund all activities for the next Reunion and Conference.
- Fort Germanna and Salubria Highway Markers: Create signage for local roads to guide the public to the Fort Germanna Visitor’s Center and property. (10 signs)
- Fishback Genealogy, Germanna Record #23: Provide funding required to underwrite research and publishing costs.
We are at a true crossroads in America. Will you take your stand AGAINST the rising tides of amnesia and false history in this country and FOR the basic American core values that your Germanna ancestors believed in? Your generous support of the mission of the Germanna Foundation helps us keep these values alive and well. Please consider giving $100, $1000 or even more. Every gift counts and will have lasting impact.
Thank you for your support,
J. Marc Wheat
The Germanna Foundation
Three easy ways to donate:
- Call the Germanna Foundation at 540-423-1700 Monday through Friday, 10 am to 4:00 pm
- Fill out this FORM (pdf) and mail it to the Germanna Foundation along with your check
- Donate securely online via our partner FastTransact: CLICK HERE for the online donation form
Did you know? More than 90% of the Foundation’s funding is provided by donations from individuals like you (the remaining 10% comes from membership dues). Donations to the non-profit 501(c)3 Germanna Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Matching Gifts: Many employers will match charitable gifts made by their employees, letting you add to, or even double, your donation to Germanna. Please talk with your human resources or personnel office about your company’s matching gift program and consider taking advantage of this great way to make your gift have even more impact. The Germanna Foundation’s nonprofit tax ID # is: 54-6048585.
- Annual IRA Gift (The 2015 Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act allows taxpayers age 70½ or older to donate up to $100,000 annually from their IRA accounts directly to charity without first having to recognize the distribution as income.)
- Life Insurance
- Real Estate
- Retirement Plan Assets
- More information about Planned Giving