St. John's Church Foundation
2319 East Broad Street
Richmond VA 23223
Mission Statement

The mission of St. John’s Church Foundation is to promote and preserve historic St. John’s Church, a National Historic Landmark in recognition as the original location of Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech at the Second Virginia Convention of March 1775, for the education of present and future generations.

 
Liberty is the founding ideal of our nation. And nowhere is the struggle to retain the individual rights and liberties granted to the colonists more vivid than at St. John’s Church. Here at the Second Virginia Convention of March 1775, Patrick Henry’s masterful argument summoned Americans toward independence with the immortal words, “Give me liberty or give me death.” In recognition of its significance to our heritage, St. John’s Church was declared a National Historic Landmark. Our mission is one of preservation and education.
 
Since 1938, the St. John’s Church Foundation has preserved the historic property as a powerful setting where we engage a broad public audience in the personalities and founding principles of our nation. More than 40,000 students and adults from all fifty states, District of Columbia and around the world travel to St. John’s Church annually. Our programs include guided tours (translated into the six most common languages), dramatic reenactments of Henry’s speech, classroom lessons aligned to Virginia Standards of Learning, free programs for Title I schools, a summer camp for children, a historical exhibition and the Liberty Lecture Series, a scholarly lecture exploring Virginia’s history in the context of national events. Our television program, Liberty or Death, aired nationally on American Public Television.
 
 
 
Web and Social Media
Video
St. John's Church is a National Historic Landmark
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Sarah F. Whiting
Board Chair Mr. Douglas D. Monroe III
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community volunteer
Contact Information
Address 2319 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23223
Telephone 804 649-0263
E-mail swhiting@historicstjohnschurch.org
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1939
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
 
 
Projected Revenue $499,820.00
Projected Expenses $499,337.00
Statements
Mission

The mission of St. John’s Church Foundation is to promote and preserve historic St. John’s Church, a National Historic Landmark in recognition as the original location of Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech at the Second Virginia Convention of March 1775, for the education of present and future generations.

 
Liberty is the founding ideal of our nation. And nowhere is the struggle to retain the individual rights and liberties granted to the colonists more vivid than at St. John’s Church. Here at the Second Virginia Convention of March 1775, Patrick Henry’s masterful argument summoned Americans toward independence with the immortal words, “Give me liberty or give me death.” In recognition of its significance to our heritage, St. John’s Church was declared a National Historic Landmark. Our mission is one of preservation and education.
 
Since 1938, the St. John’s Church Foundation has preserved the historic property as a powerful setting where we engage a broad public audience in the personalities and founding principles of our nation. More than 40,000 students and adults from all fifty states, District of Columbia and around the world travel to St. John’s Church annually. Our programs include guided tours (translated into the six most common languages), dramatic reenactments of Henry’s speech, classroom lessons aligned to Virginia Standards of Learning, free programs for Title I schools, a summer camp for children, a historical exhibition and the Liberty Lecture Series, a scholarly lecture exploring Virginia’s history in the context of national events. Our television program, Liberty or Death, aired nationally on American Public Television.
 
 
 
Impact

In 2017 St. John’s Church Foundation achieved the following goals:

  • Served over 3,500 disadvantaged students and their teachers at 41 Richmond area elementary schools through our free “Give Me History!” program;
  • Inspired approximately 5,000 attendees at our 23 FREE “Liberty or Death” reenactments;
  • Restored the Robert Rose tomb, the earliest visible grave marker, 1751, in the St. John's Church graveyard;
  • Completed the underpinning project to stabilize the north corner of St. John's Church at a cost of $95,000;
  • Held two lectures in our Walter W. Craigie Speaker Serie;
  • Cosponsored the film screening of “Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of the Founding Fathers” at the Virginia Historical Society’s Created Equal Film Series;
  • In partnership with the Poe Museum, held our annual graveyard tour entitled Fancy Me Mad;
  • Completed the restoration of the original colonial sounding board located over the pulpit inside St. John’s Church;
  • Held our first Naturalization ceremony, welcoming 63 new American citizens in partnership with the Commonwealth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution;
  • Took our “Liberty or Death” reenactment to the Richmond City Justice Center to perform in front of several hundred inmates as part of The REAL Program.

In 2017 the Board of Trustees approved a three-year Strategic Plan.

Needs
1. An Gift Shop Manager position to oversee the Visitor Center, Visitor Center staff, tour booking and scheduling, manage Interpreter staff, train paid staff and volunteers, and develop communication strategies to help us reach a larger audience and tour companies.
 

 

Background

St. John’s Church, built in 1741 in Richmond, Virginia, has the distinction of being one of the most historically significant buildings remaining in American today. It is significant to all Americans as the site where leading colonial statesmen including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and, master orator, Patrick Henry met for the week-long Second Virginia Convention of March 1775 to debate the future relationship of the colonies with England. During the Second Virginia Convention 120 elected delegates argued for days about whether to pursue independence from England or to try to find common ground for peace. During the convention Henry proposed a bold set of resolutions calling for the arming and training of a militia for the colony’s defense.  He masterfully defended his resolution with his fiery speech declaring:

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God – I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

After his speech, the vote was close and Henry’s resolution passed narrowly. Henry appeared to be a visionary when shots were fired at Lexington and Concord three weeks later. “Liberty or Death” became a rallying cry throughout the colonies and lit the fire of the American Revolution.
 
St. John’s Church has evolved over the years to make room for a growing congregation but the core of the original church where Henry delivered his world-changing speech is still intact. Miraculously, the building survived the American Revolution and the Civil War. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961. While there are many historically significant buildings across American, only a few have the distinction of being declared National Historic Landmarks: exceptional places that tie all Americans together with a common history.
 
Historic St. John’s Church symbolizes the uniquely American model of freedom, independence and the protection of individual rights and liberties. St. John’s Church can be depicted as the crucible in which American liberty was forged. Henry’s words “Give Me Liberty or Death” are immortal and are still evoked across the globe today during struggles from tyranny and oppression. One unforgettable example was in 1989 in China when students displayed Henry’s words on a bed sheet in Tiananmen Square.
 
 
CEO Statement

Thank you for your interest in St. John’s Church Foundation and our mission to preserve and educate a broad public audience about one of our nation’s most important historic events, where Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other American leaders led the Second Virginia Convention in March 1775 toward American liberty and independence. This is a powerful story for our time and important to the future of our children.

Board Chair Statement

As the President of St. John’s Church Foundation, I am privileged to work with a team of trustees who work to accomplish the mission of St. John's Church Foundation. We are the stewards of St. John's Church in its role as a National Historic Landmark. We provide powerful educational programs that draw audiences from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and foreign nations who seek to learn about Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech and the founding principles of the United States of America.

St. John's Church Foundation is continuing its growth and is transitioning from a board that was internally focused on preservation of the historic building to one that is reaching out into the greater community in order to provide educational programs that partner with schools to help students achieve success. We are also an important site in Virginia’s heritage tourism industry.
 
We have strengthened the governance of our organization by implementing a trustee job description, term limits, and policies that govern conflicts of interest and other matters. We have worked with scholars, educators, and museum professionals to provide a more meaningful visitor experience that enhances their knowledge.
 
The preservation and maintenance of historic St. John’s Church and its surrounding site is extremely important.  St. John’s Church Foundation firmly believes that a building with as much national significance as St. John’s Church warrants careful treatment. Historic St. John’s Church is an extremely important and irreplaceable link in the chain of events that comprises America’s early history. Preserving St. John’s Church protects the site of one of America’s most momentous defining moments as it struggled to become a free and independent nation. If historic St. John’s Church is not carefully preserved now there is a risk that original historic fabric could be lost and the integrity of the building could be compromised. 
 
I personally volunteer with St. John's Church Foundation because I want to ensure that each person who visits St. John's Church has the opportunity to learn about the founding principles of our nation and sit in the very location where a defining moment in our nation’s history occurred. It is rewarding to see students excited and talking about the American Revolution and to see how adults are inspired by the events that occurred at St. John's Church. 
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Area
Richmond, City
National
Statewide
International
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Douglas D. Monroe III
Company Affiliation Community volunteer
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2019
Email d.monroe@csa-llc.com
Board of Directors
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Ms. Lynn Anderson Parham Park
Mr. Samuel Baronian Jr.Baronian & Associates, PC
Mr. David Cottrell Retail Data LLC
Mrs. Anne Geddy Cross Community Volunteer
Mr. James B. Driscoll Gateway Health Pros
Mr. Jeffrey M. Gill Troutman Sanders
Mr. Dennis W. Hedgepeth Wells Fargo
Ms. Jane Hunnicutt Senior Warden, St. John's Church
Mrs. Caroline Marvel Branding Marvel
Mr. Ashley McCune Community Volunteer
Mr. Douglas D. Monroe IIICommunity Volunteer
Mr. Ned Moore Retired
The Honorable Christopher K. Peace Delegate, 79th District
Dr. Dan Roberts University of Richmond, A Moment in Time
Mr. E. Massie Valentine Jr.Davenport & Company LLC
The Reverend Amelie Wilmer Priest-in-Charge, St. John's Church
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 16
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 12
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 100
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 0
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 3
Standing Committees
Audit
Board Governance
Executive
Finance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Sarah F. Whiting
Experience

Since August of 2012, Sarah Whiting has served as Executive Director of St. John’s Church Foundation and is in charge of the historical operations at Historic St. John’s Church, which include the historic performances of Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech, educational programs, special events and fundraising.

From 2006-2012, Whiting worked at Preservation Virginia as Revolving Fund Program Manager and later as Director Community Resources and Outreach. The Revolving Fund, a State-financed trust fund was established in 1989 by the Virginia General Assembly and valued at approximately $1.5 million in cash, investments, and properties. Through the program Whiting worked to protect and preserve publicly significant historic properties across Virginia by using options to purchase, direct acquisition, or deed of gift to acquire threatened or endangered properties. Whiting served as project manager for Preservation Virginia’s annual conference and workshops and programs.

Ms. Whiting worked for the Historic Richmond Foundation (HRF) from 1999 to 2006, where she held the following positions: Project Manager, Director of Development and Special Projects, and Managing Director. At HRF Ms. Whiting raised money for the multi-phased restoration of the National Historic Landmark, Monumental Church (1814), through federal, state, and local grant funding and donations from private individuals. Whiting oversaw restoration Phases I and II at Monumental Church, as well as, served as Project Manager for the Monument Replication Project, an international effort of scientists, artisans, and conservators to recreate the damaged marble memorial at Monumental Church.

Senior Staff
NameTitle
Ms. Amy Swartz Programs and Preservation Director
Ms. Sarah White Director of Operations
Staff
Full Time Staff 2
Part Time Staff 36
Volunteers 18
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 100
Plans
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Oct 2017
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Collaborations
We are proud to partner with:
  • The Edgar Allan Poe Museum—to provide walking tours that illuminate the role of Elizabeth Arnold Poe, his birth mother, T. W. White, founding editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, and the neighborhood that surrounds St. John’s Church which was a source of inspiration for the author.
  • The Library of Virginia—in an educator workshop that works with teachers to use primary source documents in the classroom. St. John’s Church Foundation will lead a session on tying the political protests of Patrick Henry to the foundations of our political system through primary source documents.
  • The Road to Revolution State Heritage Trail—a partnership of sites that relate to Patrick Henry and Virginia. This consortium expands our marketing to persons across Virginia and around the world through our website. The consortium members include St. John’s Church Foundation, Red Hill, Hanover Tavern, Hanover Courthouse, Historic Polegreen Church, Scotchtown, Rural Plains, Studley, Hampden-Sydney College, Hanover County, Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, National Park Service, and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Programs
Description
Reenactments of Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech at the Second Virginia Convention
 
Performances of the historical reenactment of Patrick Henry’s famous speech at the original location of the Second Virginia Convention of March 1775 have been thrilling audiences since out nation’s Bicentennial in 1975. Nine Professional actors in 1770's attire portray nine of the “founding fathers” who participated in the animated convention debates including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison. The reenactment culminates in Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.
 
The Foundation holds on average 19 reenactments a year all of which are free and open to the public. 
 
 
 
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Budget $58,400.00
Short Term Success
Attendees are consistently inspired and gain a greater appreciation for the founding of our nation.
Long Term Success
Demand for this program is consistent from year to year.  Attendees arrive as early as Noon to stand in line before the doors open at 1:15 p.m.  Attendees continue to appeal for seats, always citing how far they have traveled to be here.
Description

Since 2009,“Give Me History!”has served over 42,000 elementary and middle schools students and teachers in Richmond City and Henrico County public schools by providing a free educational program at historic St. John’s Church. “Give Me History!”provides Standards of Learning-based history lessons that give economically disadvantaged children in Title I schools an educational boost. Title I is a federal designation given to schools that have a high concentration of economically disadvantaged students who are at risk of failing academically.

 

"Give Me History!"provides an educational experience at no cost to schools, students, teachers or parents. The program includes the following:

  • Free guided tours by costumed interpreters of Historic St. John's Church;
  • Free reenactments by professional actors in period costumes of the Second Virginia Convention;
  • Free educational materials and lesson plans delivered free of charge to classrooms prior to each field trip;
  • Free transportation from schools to and from Historic St. John's Church.

 

Success in education is a strong indicator of success in life."Give Me History!"contributes to student success in school by reinforcing the content covered in the classroom and the Virginia Standards of Learning test. Presenting the history lesson in the original location- where Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington were- engages the students' imagination and seeing a live performance of the "Give me liberty" speech presents the information in a manner that reaches students with varying styles of learning.
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Budget $42,500.00
Long Term Success
Feedback from educators told us:
  • “Students were fascinated they were actually in the place where Patrick Henry made his speech”
  • “(The reenactment) felt as though we were actually back in that time period. That made it very realistic.”
  •  “It brings the past to the present to sit in the church where Patrick Henry made the speech”
  •  “I love the program and think it was very beneficial”
  •  “SOL aligned, excellent review and study guide”
  • “The presenter discussed key people and quotes . . . key events and conflicts”
  • “Everything was relevant to our curriculum”
  • “I think the materials and classroom instruction worked hand in hand”
Richmond Public Schools told us what a valuable program this is for their students and said that it would be valuable again for the next school year.
Description
St. John's Church Foundation provides tours seven days a week.  The tours explores the political career of Patrick Henry, and the ideas and events that led to Henry's Liberty or Death speech and the founding of our nation.
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Budget $168,000.00
Long Term Success
We do not conduct a formal evaluation of our tours.  Anecedotal remarks entered into our guest register are very positive.  The tours are also intellectually stimulating as evidenced by the large number of books sold in our Visitor Center.
CEO/ED/Board Comments

The Board of Trustees of St. John’s Church Foundation has taken steps to strengthen its leadership and operations.  The Foundation began by reaching out to community leaders who had a passion for its mission, who could strengthen its governance through various areas of expertise and leadership, and who represented a younger generation of leaders.  The Foundation adopted best practices in non-profit management by hiring an executive director, instituted a development program, instituted term limits, adopted formal policies and procedures, and continued to follow a financially balanced fiscal model.

 The Board approved a three-year strategic plan at its annual board meeting in October 2017. 
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $499,820.00
Projected Expenses $499,337.00
Endowment Value $1,167,881.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage (if selected) 4.5
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$163,000$141,000--
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified------
Individual Contributions$136,956$121,800$410,867
------
$184,661$179,335$136,421
Investment Income, Net of Losses$56,796$59,974$113,941
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind$15,484----
Other$34,360$56,333$29,611
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$380,895$740,824$409,778
Administration Expense$73,735$64,191$66,685
Fundraising Expense$12,215$21,344$13,175
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.270.681.41
Program Expense/Total Expenses82%90%84%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue4%8%3%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$1,502,067$1,353,508$1,670,686
Current Assets$402,430$273,093$538,758
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$153$232$214
Total Net Assets$1,501,914$1,353,276$1,670,472
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities2630.261177.132517.56
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 5/2016View
Comments
Organization Comments


Foundation Comments
  • Revenue from "Foundations and Corporations" also includes support from individuals.