With the July 31 deadline only four months away, Legacy needs $24,000 to receive the first third of its $100,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The NEH grant, plus the $100,000 in matching funds being raised by Legacy, will go into the Museum’s endowment fund, which is held by the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust. Income from the endowment will be used to pay a professional curator to research and plan the Museum’s exhibits.
If the match is not raised by the deadline, Legacy will have to forfeit the unmatched NEH money, a significant loss of funds. According to board treasurer Pat Gentry, “Forfeiture would be a terrible embarrassment for Legacy. It would look like the community doesn’t support the Museum, and it might hurt our chances of getting funding from the NEH in the future.”
The NEH is an independent grant-making agency established by Congress in 1965 to support research, education, and public programs in the humanities. Because NEH grants are highly competitive, getting one affirms the strength and potential of an institution.
The Legacy Museum was one of only seven institutions to receive challenge grants in the first round of a Special NEH Initiative for Local History. The seven institutions were selected from 93 applicants from all over the country.
“The Legacy Museum has already done important work, and it hasn’t even been open three years yet,” said board member Willie Thornhill, a member of the fund-raising committee. “Legacy has made a place for itself in the community, so the community needs to dig deep to show that it supports this museum and wants to make it even stronger,” Thornhill said.
Ron Dolan and the Rev. Haywood Robinson, Jr., are chairing the fund-raising effort, which is being guided by the Museum’s advisory committee and by the fund-raising and finance committees of the board of directors.
Checks may be written to the Legacy Museum, with “NEH Challenge” in the memo line, and sent to the Legacy Project, P.O. Box 308, Lynchburg, VA 24504. Checks may also be sent directly to the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust, P.O. Box 714, Lynchburg, VA 24504. Since Legacy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, all contributions are tax deductible.