Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
P.O. Box 1776
Williamsburg VA 23187-1776
Mission Statement Colonial Williamsburg's mission is to help "the future learn from the past" by preserving, restoring, and presenting 18th-century Williamsburg, and by engaging, informing, and inspiring people as they learn about this historic capital, the events that occurred here, and the diverse people who helped shape America.
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Mitchell B. Reiss
Board Chair Mr. Thomas F. Farrell II
Board Chair Company Affiliation Dominion Resources-Chairman, President and CEO
Contact Information
Address P.O. Box 1776
Williamsburg, VA 231871776
Telephone 888 293-1776
Fax 757 565-8090
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1928
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $93,021,000.00
Projected Expenses $98,567,000.00
Mission Colonial Williamsburg's mission is to help "the future learn from the past" by preserving, restoring, and presenting 18th-century Williamsburg, and by engaging, informing, and inspiring people as they learn about this historic capital, the events that occurred here, and the diverse people who helped shape America.
Impact In 2009, the reconstructed Governor’s Palace and the Capitol, as well as the Costume Design Center, which outfits Historic Area interpreters, marked their seventy-fifth years, and African American programming celebrated its thirtieth.

In 2010, we opened R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse, the first major reconstruction in the Historic Area on Duke of Gloucester Street in fifty years.

Years of planning and preparation resulted in the premier presentation of “So Far from Scioto,” part of the Foundation’s American Indian Initiative.

We launched the "Idea of America", a groundbreaking interactive, fully digital, web-based high school curriculum, which teaches history and citizenship using sixty-five case studies of pivotal events in the evolution of the nation.
The Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute provides a summer-long series of immersions in early American history for teachers from across the country.  To date 6,614 teachers have participated since 1990.
Colonial Williamsburg and the Chautauqua Institution joined to present a week of programming in Chautauqua, New York, on “The History of Liberty.”  The experience was such a success that, in 2011, Chautauqua and Colonial Williamsburg will partner with the National Museum of African American History of the Smithsonian Institution on a series of programs called “The Path to the Civil War”. 
During the year the foundation, through a refocused marketing communications program, created an emotionally appealing marketing campaign, launched as 2010 began, titled “Be Part of the Story.”
Challenge grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities—one a “We The People” grant for an African American programming endowment and another for the Virtual Williamsburg 3-D Web site—are third-party affirmation of our scholarly efforts.

Historic Area Preservation and Conservation

Repair of Margaret Hunter Shop Masonry Walls-Funds needed: $5,068

Robert Carter Brick Quarters Repairs-Funds needed: $12,685

Conservation of Early Grave Stones in the Historic Area-Funds needed: $30,000

Paint Analysis of Historic Interiors-Funding needed for the estimated three-year project: $200,000.

18th-century Type for the Print Shop-Gifts of any size are welcome to purchase type to have on hand for printing broadsides, booklets, and pamphlets.


Collections, Conservation, and Museums

“Quilts in the Baltimore Manner”-Funds needed: $7,000

“American Folk Art Portraits”-Exhibit funding needed: $22,000

"Changing Keys: Keyboard Instruments for America"-Exhibit support needed: $143,000

“Style, Function and Price: Buying Furniture in Early America”-Funds needed: $150,000


Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures - Educational Outreach

Electronic Field Trips

A gift of $500 provides your local school or another school with the seven-program series offered during the school year.

Fund a Scholarship to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute

A $1,900 gift plus funds for transportation (or frequent flyer miles)will send a teacher to Williamsburg for a week's experience that many past teacher participants have defined as “transformative.”



Founded in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is a nonprofit educational institution dedicated to the preservation, restoration, interpretation, and presentation of 18th-century Williamsburg, Virginia’s colonial capital. Today, Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the United States, with an annual paid visitation of more than 660,000 people, with 2 million estimated “visit days.”


  • 301 acres of the original town
  • 88 original buildings, 225 period rooms
  • Close to 500 buildings reconstructed on the basis of extensive archaeological, architectural, and documentary research

 Educational Programs

  • Education for Citizenship unifying curriculum; costumed staff interpret buildings and 22 trade sites; interpretive programming
  • Specialized/thematic tours and evening programs
  • Teacher Institute in Early American History (weeklong onsite summer sessions; 6,614 graduates as of 9/10)
  • The Idea of America
  • 58 Electronic Field Trips; CDs of primary source materials, lesson units, hands-on history kits, instructional videos, role playing games
  • Publications: 106 books currently in print; 162 out of print
  • Scholarly journal, Colonial Williamsburg, 3 issues per year
  • Colonial Williamsburg’s Art Museums & Bassett Hall

 Research Facilities

  • Bruton Heights School Education Center: Bruton Heights School; Costume Design Center; John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library; DeWitt Wallace Collections and Conservation Building
  • Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Thomas F. Farrell II
Company Affiliation Dominion Resources-Chairman, President and CEO
Term Nov 2014 to Dec 2019
Board of Directors
Board Members
Catherine O’Neill Broderick Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Mr. Richard M. Donnelly Principal, Donnelly Associates and Industrial Partner, Ripplewood Holdings, LLC
Mr. Thomas F. Farrell IIDominion Resources
Antonia Hernandez California Community Foundation
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Supreme Court of the United States
Mr. Mark J. Kington X-10 Capital Management, LLC
Mr. John A. Luke Jr.MeadWestvaco Corporation
Mr. Forrest E. Mars Jr.Mars, Inc.
Ms. Judith A. McHale Cane Investments, LLC
Mr. Steven L. Miller SLM Discovery Ventures
Ms. Leslie A. Miller Leslie A. Miller, Esq., LLC
Ms. Cynthia H. Milligan Retired - Dean of the College of Business Administration, University of Nebraska and President - Wood Stieper Capital Group
Ms. Andrea Mitchell NBC News
Mr. Louis W. Moelchert Jr.Private Advisors, LLC
Mr. Thurston R. Moore Hunton & Williams
Mr. Thomas K. Norment Jr.Virginia State Senator and Kaufman & Canoles
Dr. Mitchell B. Reiss President and CEO, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Mr. Joseph Christopher Simmons PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
Mr. Sheldon M. Stone Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.
Ms. Y. Ping Sun Rice University
Mr. Edmond D. Villani Retired-Deutsche Asset Management
Mr. Henry C. Wolf Retired-Norfolk Southern Corporation
Mr. Anthony C. Zinni General, USMC (Ret.)
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 21
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 16
Female 7
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Dr. Mitchell B. Reiss
Full Time Staff 1715
Volunteers 898
Organization has a Strategic Plan?
All of our outreach programs, designed in cooperation with K-12 educators and school administrators nationwide, use case studies to help teachers, many of whom have not taken a history course since high school, to enliven their history curriculum. National educational standards for history, civics, English, literacy, geography, and technology are addressed, and the strategies that Colonial Williamsburg educators employ are not only useful for conveying historical concepts—they can apply to any aspect of the curriculum. Graduates of Colonial Williamsburg’s programs are not better history teachers; they are better teachers.

The Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute is central to our outreach efforts. The week-long intensive seminar onsite in Williamsburg gives teachers an opportunity to work directly with museum staff and interpreters to experience museum techniques for actively engaging students in history. Educators consistently cite the Institute as an experience that has transformed not only their appreciation of America’s story but also their teaching methods and their enthusiasm for integrating history into their curriculum.  

Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)

Teaching American History Conferences are one- or two-day conferences around the country that immerse educators in early American history, life, and culture and inspire them to become more effective teachers. Teachers meet a person from the past, debate the pros and cons of the American Revolution, try on period clothing, construct biographies from primary sources, and more. Through these experiences, they learn to create dynamic learning experiences for their students by using primary documents, artifacts, and technology resources. 

Teachers leave the conference with rich resources and educational materials for their classrooms including books; posters; a CD-ROM containing more than 1,200 pages of lesson plan and primary source materials; and an Electronic Field Trip. In addition, each teacher becomes part of the Colonial Williamsburg education network with access to teaching resources designed to help their students grow and become the new generation of America’s well-educated citizenry, including our e-newsletter, Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Gazette.


Colonial Williamsburg’s Emmy Award-winning Electronic Field Trips are interactive classroom events that integrate history and technology education into a dynamic history experience for students. Teachers in registered schools have access to a downloadable teacher’s guide filled with primary source materials, graphic organizers, pictures, and a transcript of the broadcast. Students can take advantage of the online activities associated with each field trip and can post questions and comments on the Internet bulletin board throughout the school year.

On the day of the field trip, students travel back in time to experience events of early America. Colonial Williamsburg interpreters—many of them young people themselves—host each program, introducing students to life in 18th-century America. Each program presents two or three historical dramatizations that enliven early American history topics. After each dramatic vignette, students from registered schools speak directly to the Colonial Williamsburg historians and interpreters live in our television studio, asking questions and expressing opinions about the issues presented in the program. 


The Idea of America, Colonial Williamsburg’s newest and most innovative scholastic program, engages our nation’s high school students in vital lessons of American citizenship.  Each generation since America’s founding has wrestled with the values that Americans hold sacred: unity, diversity, freedom, equality, private wealth, common wealth, law, and ethics, expressing and balancing these values according to the social, political, and economic climate of its times. The Idea of America uses this enduring debate as its conceptual and organizational framework.  

This distinctive program is not a textbook but a new generation basal classroom product. Students will investigate a series of 65 case studies—or chapters—across the whole range of American history from colonization to the 21st century. Each case study includes interactive living history media, classroom activities and digital resources including text, primary sources, video, audio, and gaming applications. 

As students work their way through the case studies, they discover that certain key issues have been with us for a long time. What is the best way to use our natural resources? What role does religion play in our republic? Does immigration strengthen or weaken our country? Students begin to realize that these and scores of other questions are still being debated today. Understanding how previous generations of Americans addressed these issues—sometimes well, sometimes poorly—provides critical insights into how they might address these issues today.

We expect to have the program in classrooms across the nation beginning in January 2011. Meanwhile, the current events and Virtual Republic components can be seen at

Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $93,021,000.00
Projected Expenses $98,567,000.00
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 Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$1,303,291$1,482,036$1,368,078
Individual Contributions$32,629,012$29,705,665$24,423,911
Investment Income, Net of Losses$71,838,613$61,271,976$62,874,772
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind$5,795,990$7,856,825$3,484,716
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$105,619,181$104,732,012$103,823,319
Administration Expense$23,989,371$20,152,193$19,260,068
Fundraising Expense$9,071,012$9,333,451$8,583,962
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.151.111.06
Program Expense/Total Expenses76%78%79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue27%30%33%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$1,534,434,518$1,576,330,932$1,596,186,128
Current Assets$40,948,134$41,494,452$37,400,268
Long-Term Liabilities$323,139,141$362,850,729$373,243,180
Current Liabilities$48,084,016$16,519,297$17,724,447
Total Net Assets$1,163,211,361$1,196,960,906$1,205,218,501
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities0.852.512.11
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets21%23%23%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose Colonial Williamsburg’s “Campaign for History and Citizenship” is intended to help secure the Foundation’s future through raising gift funds to make strategic investments, primarily in history and civic education, museum programs, and preservation of the colonial capital.
Goal $600,000,000.00
Amount Raised To Date $307,400,000.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit Application Confirmation 1/2016View
Foundation Comments
  • Revenue from "Individuals" may also include support from corporations and foundations
  • Form 990 completed internally by the organization
  • Audit prepared by Deloitte & Touche, LLP
  • Audit represents the combined financial position of the The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and its subsidiaries
  • Form 990 represents solely the financial position of the Foundation
  • Financial information provided by audit