Amid a summer rich with outstanding Freedoms Foundation programs on history and heroes, one truly stood out: Medal of Honor Legacy: World War II. All our summer teacher courses are wonderful, but the timing made this one special; it came just a month after the 75th anniversary of D-Day. All of us who saw the images of the solemn ceremonies in Normandy were moved by the sight of U.S. veterans returning to the country and continent they liberated.
The occasion prompted us to remember what happened on those beaches on June 6, 1944. Americans sacrificed themselves to return freedom to our friends and allies, to secure it for their countrymen, and ultimately to offer it to our enemies. Understand that sacrifice, and all this nation and its people did to support the war effort, and you understand what it means to be an American.
As we approach the end of the year, your donation can help ensure that young Americans understand the sacrifices made for their freedoms by those who came before them.
That meaning hit home just a month later on our Valley Forge campus. Historian David Eisenhower spoke to a classroom full of teachers about his grandfather’s planning and execution of Operation Overlord. D-Day veteran Frank Horvath movingly recounted the actions that earned him two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, and the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award for valor. Mae Krier, an original Rosie the Riveter, related stories of the home front. And Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima, told inspiring tales of the heroes with whom he served and their many sacrifices.
Woody summed up what Freedoms Foundation is all about in our new video, The Mission. “It’s one of those central places,” he said, “where children, perhaps for the very first time, will come to some realization that, I have what I have because of the sacrifice of others.”
As 2019 winds to a close, we are looking to friends and supporters like you to invest in the Freedoms Foundation educational programs that build civic knowledge, instill civic responsibility, and inspire civic virtue in our nation’s young citizens.
Because of your efforts and support, more than 2,500 students and 450 teachers from across the country heard this message during 2019. Preparing the next generation of responsible citizens is at the heart of what we do, whether working directly with students or inspiring teachers who will go on to influence hundreds of young people in the course of their careers. For those educators we conducted a record-breaking nine teacher courses last summer, and also introduced several new one-day and weekend programs.
Students come to us courtesy of our dedicated chapters and partners. While here they are immersed in history, government, and citizenship during our History Encounters, Spirit of America, and Service Learning in Public Policy programs. They enjoy experiences no other civic education organization can provide, from interactive, experiential classes on campus to awe-inspiring field trips to Valley Forge and Independence Hall. Here they debate in a mock Congress or gavel each other to order as Supreme Court justices. On the road they walk in the footsteps of Washington at Valley Forge and stand in the very room where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution took shape.
Our chapters saluted dozens of citizens and heroes through our National Awards program this year. And eight outstanding educators — from Alaska and Maine, California and Florida, and points in between — received Leavey Awards for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education. This year the awards, started in 1977, were part of our summer entrepreneurship program for teachers, and included publication of the first edition of Teaching Enterprise: A Journal of the Leavey Awards for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education.
All of this is made possible by friends like you. Your unrestricted gift made before the end of the year will ensure that these programs remain available for students and teachers in 2020.
We’ve just completed a much-needed comprehensive Campus Master Plan, which will guide the renovation and upgrading of our dormitories, classrooms, dining hall, and other infrastructure to ensure compliance with current codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act, enabling us to better accommodate students, teachers, and other participants alike.
We have big plans for 2020, too, including:
• Potential new partnerships that will bring hundreds of new students to our Spirit of America youth leadership programs;
• Several new schools participating in our History Encounters programs; and
• An exciting new lineup of summer courses for teachers, including The Presidency and Electoral Power; Educating the Young Entrepreneur; and American Revolution, Philadelphia Campaign, along with two Medal of Honor Legacy courses, Technology and the War on Terror and World War II.
All these programs examine the continuing vitality and relevance of America’s founding ideals. It’s a busy time here, made possible by a dedicated and hard-working staff – and especially by you, our equally dedicated friends and supporters. We are grateful for all you do and hope you will continue to support our 70-year-old tradition of ensuring the American heritage is preserved and passed on.
You can make a difference. Seize the opportunity to help Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge achieve its end-of-year fundraising goals.
1. Raise $100,000 that will keep the campus beautiful and fully functioning.
2. Secure 50 gifts – of any size – from new donors.
3. Secure 150 gifts – of any size – from past donors.
4. Secure 25 sustaining gifts – any amount, donated on a monthly basis.
Whether you are a long-time supporter or new to the work of Freedoms Foundation, your donation will help ensure more young people know whose sacrifice has made possible the free society in which we live today.
As Woody Williams says in The Mission, “If we don’t teach our youth what it took to preserve us, to maintain our freedom and all of the rights and privileges that we have, how are they going to know?”
Help us make sure they know.
Chief Executive Officer
P.S. When shopping this holiday season, use AmazonSmile and select Freedoms Foundation as your charity. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to us!