Dear fellow Old Boys and Friends of Wentworth:
On behalf of the Executive Committee, I bring good news: the Wentworth Military Academy Museum is now DEBT FREE!
It's been three years and four months since our beloved Academy had its final formation. I remember all-too-well the meeting of alumni that took place in the Mess Hall following final parade. When the idea of starting a Museum to honor Wentworth and preserve its legacy was broached, there were many who thought it couldn’t be done. Well, I am pleased to report that not only has it been done, but it is here to stay!
The combination of being debt-free and our endowment fund (which has grown nearly 15% since the funds were first invested in March) means that the Story of Wentworth will live on well beyond any of us. Just as it should. Our children and grandchildren will be able to visit the Museum - - - just as other children and grandchildren of alumni visit the Museum on a daily basis today.
I am also pleased to relay that the effort to repair and replace the Museum’s roof was completed below budget. Alumni and friends helped us raise almost $80,000. Luckily, there was no substantial structural damage once we removed the multiple failing layers of roof. This enabled us to make some additional repairs and improvements to the building, and (along with the sale to Jubilee of some property the Museum owned), to pay off the mortgage on the building.
From a financial standpoint, our focus at the Museum will now shift to longer-term “big-ticket” objectives such as digitization and installing a fire-suppressant system (both very expensive undertakings). We also intend on building a reserve fund to address the inevitable “unexpected.” The park behind the Museum continues to be a “pay as you go project” and progresses through the purchase of bricks and restricted donations. As a reminder, the Museum’s Endowment was established to preserve our long-term viability. Those funds cannot begin to be touched for at least another 5 years, and then only in compliance with a strict formula.
Unfortunately, we are down about 15% in membership in our sustaining member society (The 1880 Society). This is due, in part, to credit card expirations and donors not continuing their support once their credit card on file expires. The Museum really relies on the predictability of those monthly donations. I believe this is the time for all of us to increase our commitment to the Museum so that we can keep the momentum going. Please consider joining us if you have not already: www.wmamuseum.org/donation.
I hope this finds each of you doing as best as can be expected during these extraordinary times. If you intend to join us for homecoming next weekend, it will be a unique one! And don’t forget… bring your facemasks.
PLEASE JOIN US!!
ACHIEVE THE HONORABLE
George J. Hittner
Chairman, WMA Museum