RED CLOUD, Neb. (KSNB) - The Willa Cather Foundation has announced a $6.5 million campaign to restore historic Cather-related historic properties, expand educational programming, and build an endowment for the nonprofit organization devoted to the American author.
According to a press release sent out Tuesday, the public phase of the campaign is being announced just one year after History Nebraska, a state agency, transferred ownership of six historic properties and about 8,000 artifacts to the Willa Cather Foundation. The state had owned the properties since 1978, but History Nebraska and the Foundation had operated the site together since 1994. It is the largest single collection of nationally-designated buildings devoted to an American author.
The Willa Cather Foundation is now raising the funds needed to restore the sites and enhance the visitor experience for tourists from forty-eight states and five countries who visit the National Willa Cather Center and Red Cloud annually.
Former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush is the honorary national chair for the campaign’s public fundraising effort.
Campaign for the Future has raised $4.7 million or 72% of its goal already, with just under $2 million left to be raised. The Foundation aspires to complete the campaign by its 65th annual Spring Conference in Red Cloud this June. The 3-day event will revisit the short stories of Youth and the Bright Medusa during its centenary year. Alexander Ross, Cather champion and writer for The New Yorker, will give the keynote address.
Also adding to the campaign- the Save America’s Treasures grant of $415,000 from the National Park Service for restoration of the Willa Cather Childhood Home—the jewel in the crown of the Foundation’s historic sites and a National Historic Landmark. The grant requires a 1:1 match in nonfederal funds.
The foundation says gifts of all sizes are welcome. To donate, send your contribution, clearly labeled Campaign for the Future to the Willa Cather Foundation, 413 N. Webster, Red Cloud, NE 68970. Gifts may also be made online at www.WillaCather.org.