Greetings! We are thrilled to be connecting back with you after a hot summer and following the end of what has been a very eventful fiscal year. The post-Covid transition, our 25th anniversary celebrations and everything that came with that, continuing existing projects as well as beginning new ones that required us to think outside of the box, and staffing changes, all stretched us and made us a stronger partner to the Texas Historical Commission (THC) in its preservation and education mission.
None of what we do would be possible without YOUR support. I want to take this opportunity to share some of the impact YOU have made over the last 12 months on Texas history and on the real places and real people whose stories you help preserve and share through your support of the FTHC.
Last October, we joined the THC in opening the newly restored French Legation State Historic Site to the public. It was support from our donors that allowed us to help convert the old carriage house on the site into a new visitor center. In November, we participated in the grand opening of the Villa de Austin exhibit at San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site. This exhibit is the culmination of the capital campaign for this site and is a unique view into life at this historic town during the early days of the Texas Revolution.
In December, we stepped in to acquire a critical historic property—the Eideman House—as an addition to the San Felipe de Austin complex and conveyed the property to the THC in February.
We secured philanthropic support for the acquisition of a critical 50-acre parcel of land adjacent to the San Jacinto Battleground, as an addition to the historic site. This property, rich in archeological resources, will allow the THC to share a story relatively unknown so far—that of the surrender by Col. Juan Almonte, the aide-de-camp to Santa Anna during the battle at San Jacinto in 1836.
Over the last year we have continued to build our education programs, with the Real Places conference coming up in February 2023, the ongoing and growing virtual programming offered through the year, and the Preservation Scholars Program this past summer. We celebrated the 25th anniversary of our founding as a partner to the THC, and as part of this celebration, we launched a new website (at the same old address, www.thcfriends.org; please do visit, stop a while, and engage with the content. We would love to hear what you think!). And we worked with several of you to establish new endowments and grow existing ones, all toward helping build sustainability for some of the programs we support.
And of course, we have had some additional changes in staffing with Carrie Alejo joining our team as our office manager and bookkeeper. Carrie is a native of the Rio Grande Valley (Raymondville) and brings her love of Texas and public service to her role for the FTHC. She has earned her bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in human resource management from the University of Southern New Hampshire. Carrie brings to her role her experience in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, as an administrator and teacher with IDEA Public Schools as well as with the Better Business Bureau in Austin.
In all of this work, we feel privileged to be a partner to the incredibly committed leadership and staff at the THC. And we are deeply grateful to you, our friends, for your support. Your gifts help us preserve the stories and histories of all Texans, so we can continue to build community through storytelling. We look forward to your continued support!
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the staff of the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission—warm regards and best wishes for the holiday season!
Anjali Zutshi, Executive Director