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Rokeby lands several major gifts

FERRISBURGH — The Rokeby Museum recently garnered more than $130,000 in new funding.

A $75,000 anonymous gift will enable the Rokeby to continue sustainable growth, said officials at the Ferrisburgh institution.

Starting this month, an anonymous donor is committing $25,000 per year for three years to spark continued growth at the Rokeby.

The anonymous donor had been a loyal member and enthusiastic supporter of Rokeby Museum for a number of years. In a press release, the donor said they were very excited over the last few years to see the institution’s forward movement, both as a museum with a specific cultural role to play and as a well-managed contemporary nonprofit organization.

“We are confident that our contribution will further the excellence of Rokeby’s creative programming and its clear commitment to social justice,” the anonymous donor said in the press release. “It is our hope that others will join us in furthering Rokeby’s present progress and securing its promising future.”

In addition to this three-year gift, the museum received two separate donations of $20,000 and $12,000 to support the institution’s operations and educational opportunities. The Rokeby Museum also received a $25,000 grant from the A.D. Henderson Foundation to support the development of a pre-K program that focuses on anti-racist education.

Donor and Rokeby Board Trustee Kate Schubart noted why she gave to the museum:

“It provides visitors with the kind of people-centered history that makes critical shifts in the American experiment, such as the abolitionist era, come alive. The knowledge it so memorably embodies gives us the tools to know history better, so we are less likely to be ‘doomed to repeat it.’”

These new funds will enable the museum to expand its programming to new audiences and ensure the long-term sustainability of the educational staff and senior staff at Rokeby, noted museum Director Lindsay Varner.

“Rokeby Museum greatly appreciates these generous donations and the support of the A.D. Henderson Foundation,” Varner said. “Over the past couple of years, Rokeby committed to increasing its staffing capacity to grow its programming and outreach to share the nationally significant story of the Robinson family. This includes hiring a full-time director for the first time in the museum’s history and adding a part-time education programs manager to focus on the development of grade school programming. Gifts and grants like these keep the museum moving forward and ensure Rokeby remains relevant in the community.”

The Rokeby Museum is a designated National Historic Landmark situated on 90 acres off Route 7 in Ferrisburgh. The museum introduces visitors to four generations of the Robinson family and their contributions to the Abolition movement, agriculture, art and literature. The education center features an award-winning permanent exhibit, Free & Safe, that documents the site’s Underground Railroad history.

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