Chapter members at Augustus Lutheran Church (from left): Tanya Caligiuri, Sandy Cook, Jim Cook, Lisa Gould, Yvonne Serrano, John Carter, Johnny Castro, Matthew Pearl, Alison Ward, Chris Ward, Gerry Waring, tour guide Pat O’Hara, Clark Waring, Dennis Randall, Don Ward, Theresa Bradley, Paul Wehrenberg, Molly Wehrenberg, Billie Nicholson, Robert Nicholson, and Frank Hunter.

Chapter members gather for annual

Chapters and Partners Conference


Freedoms Foundation President and CEO David Harmer and Chapter Member of the Year Molly Wehrenberg.

Freedoms Foundation hosted the 51st Annual Chapters and Partners Conference on Oct. 17-20, 2019, with 23 participants, representing eight chapters, in attendance.

The weekend officially kicked off Friday morning with an address by President and CEO David Harmer on the value Freedoms Foundation provides in fighting civic illiteracy. Chapters and partners are crucial to that effort, as they work diligently every year to select students for Freedoms Foundation programs and fund-raise to keep the programs accessible and affordable.

Next up was a tour of nearby historic homes and churches related to the Revolutionary War era, including Waynesborough, home of Gen. “Mad” Antony Wayne, and the Augustus Lutheran Church, home church of Frederick Muhlenberg, the first speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The tour was ably led by Arch Hunter, Freedoms Foundation’s graduate workshop director.

Saturday opened with a lecture by Dr. Allen Guelzo of Princeton University on “Ten Things Everyone Should Know about American History,” a wide-ranging talk that covered the American founding, the Louisiana Purchase, the invention of the telegraph, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Cold War and much, much more. Dr. Guelzo led last summer’s graduate teacher program Lincoln’s Constitution.

Then it was down to work with a day of conversations on chapter and nonprofit finances, building sustainable leadership, using SalesForce to register students for programs, and updates from members of the Freedoms Foundation staff. Over lunch, chapter members and the Freedoms Foundation Board of Directors heard from Mark Prowell, chairman of the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove, on what’s been happening in the Grove in the last year.

Don Ward receives the Spirit of ’76 Award.

The highlight of the weekend was the annual Red, White and Blue Awards Banquet, an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary dedication, hard work and vision of Freedoms Foundation chapters and their volunteer members.

The William O. Perry Chapter Member of the Year Award went to Molly Wehrenberg of the Oklahoma City Chapter. The award recognizes outstanding work in the past year by an individual chapter member.

The Spirit of ’76 Award was presented to Don Ward of the Utah Chapter. The award recognizes lifetime achievement and dedication to one’s community and Freedoms Foundation.

Chapter of the Year Awards were presented to Pensacola Chapter (Small Chapter Division), Los Angeles County Chapter (Medium Chapter Division), and Sacramento Chapter (Large Chapter Division).

Robert and Billie Nicholson, of the Pensacola Chapter, received the Most Patriotic Dress Award thanks to their red, white and blue attire.

Sandy Cook, a Freedoms Foundation board member and founding treasurer of the Sacramento Chapter, capped off the evening with a talk about why it’s important to her to send her grandchildren to Spirit of America programs so they can learn to be informed and responsible citizens.

Sunday, before the long journey home, chapter members attended services at the beautiful Washington Memorial Chapel, which is located in Valley Forge National Historical Park, and enjoyed a farewell brunch back on the Freedoms Foundation campus.

Robert and Billie Nicholson accepted Pensacola Chapter’s award and were named Most Patriotic Dressers (at left). Sandy Cook accepted Sacramento’s award and spoke to fellow chapter members about sending her grandchildren to Spirit of America (center). Tanya Caligiuri accepted the Los Angeles Chapter’s award.