The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission (FTHC) collaborates with the THC Historic Sites Division’s (HSD) Community Engagements Program on several initiatives to support local “Friends of THC’s State Historic Sites” groups. The FTHC’s Friends Alliance Program supports the following initiatives:
The FTHC’s Fiscal Sponsorship Program
For volunteers who wish to organize as a Friends Group for a THC State Historic Site, but do not wish to file as a 501(c)3 independent nonprofit, the FTHC offers Fiscal Sponsorships so that groups may fundraise under its nonprofit umbrella. Fiscally sponsored Friends Groups organize their own governing committee and operate similarly to any nonprofit Friends Group but are not responsible for 501(c)3 filing duties, annual IRS reports, or accounting reviews and audits. Funds raised by the group are held with the FTHC, restricted for the historic site, and are used exclusively at the request of the Friends Group. The fiscal sponsorship option exists so that volunteers may organize as fundraisers quickly and affordably, while relieving them of the administrative responsibilities required of independent nonprofit status. Contact Angela Reed, Community Engagements Coordinator—Historic Sites Division, to learn more.
The FTHC and the HSD’s Community Engagements Program staff provide several training opportunities each year, offered at a discounted rate for Friends Group members. These opportunities include online webinars and seminars, a two-day in-person workshops held at a THC historic site, and a one-day workshop held in Austin at the THC’s annual Real Places conference. The two-day in-person workshops also feature an evening networking reception, hosted by the FTHC. Attendees include Friends Group members from the region, and other history-related nonprofit leaders, philanthropists, volunteers, and professionals, as well as FTHC board members, THC Commissioners, and THC staff. Learn more and view upcoming training opportunities.
The Friends Alliance Awards
Historic Sites Friends Groups or individual volunteers that have gone above and beyond in supporting their partner site may be nominated for a Friends Alliance Award. The FTHC holds an annual awards ceremony to recognize and honor the selected groups, and presents them with a commemorative plaque and a modest cash award that the group may use for board training of their choice. The Alliance Award is offered in three categories:
Civic Engagement Award: The Civic Engagement Award recognizes outstanding efforts in promoting, educating, and advocating for a THC State Historic Site to public entities, to maintain or elevate the site as a recognized community asset.
Friendraising Award: The Friendraising Award recognizes creatively engaging and bringing together diverse community stakeholders to build on or create a supporting partnership organization that supports the THC State Historic Site.
Stewardship Award: The Stewardship Award recognizes outstanding volunteer service augmenting site staff capacity through any number of volunteer assistance: supporting special projects and programs, hiring temporary staff, fundraising for additional operational support, maintenance or preservation needs, and/or providing in-kind services or supplies.
The Friends Alliance Awards nominations for the 2023 awards are open May 1 through September 26, 2022. Friends Groups or individual volunteers may be nominated by site staff, Friends Group members, or by others in their communities, for their exemplary efforts to support the historic sites that they’re passionate about.
Step 1: Download nomination form HERE,
Step 2: Complete form and supplemental information per instructions,
Step 3: Send to CommunityPartners@thc.texas.gov, subject line “Friends Alliance Award Nomination”
2022 Friends Alliance Award Recipients
In 2022, the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission recognized the Washington-on-the-Brazos Historical Foundation (WOBHF) with the 2022 Friends Alliance Award for Friendraising, for the Foundation’s outstanding work in supporting Washington-on–the-Brazos State Historic Site in Washington near Brenham.
The WOBHF is recognized for its long-time and always-ready support for the site’s needs. In 2021 especially, the group’s gift of perseverance and their passion for the site’s history shined brightly as they quickly adapted their fundraising strategies to meet the demands of public safety during the pandemic, while also providing high quality virtual programming – through a dramatic film about the founding of Texas – for its audiences and visitors. The film, titled “Independence: A Lone Star Rises”, focused on the men who convened the Texas Convention in March 1836 to discuss, debate, draft, and sign the Texas Declaration of Independence, while also engaging a younger audience, by casting two middle-school students to play time travelers who served as 21st century witnesses to the historic events.