2012 Year in Review

As a private nonprofit organization, the Foundation is heavily dependent upon its members, not just because of membership dues—which make up about 25% of our budget—but also because of the volunteer work members do and because members are our voice in the community.  As a thank you to our members, we like to have events throughout the year that are free and that highlight historic places that members would otherwise not get to see. This year’s membership committee, chaired by Jan Levinson, hosted the following events:

  • The 2011 Fall Fun-n-Friends was held at the historic First A.M.E. Church located at the intersection of Dougherty and Hull Streets. The current church was built in 1916 and designed by Louis H. Persley, the first African American architect licensed in Georgia.
  • The Spring Fun-n-Friends was held in the Buena Vista National Register District located across Prince Avenue from the Navy Supply Corps School, soon to be UGA’s medical and health sciences campus. The neighborhood, which began developing in the 1890s, is currently seeking designation as a local historic district.
  • The Athenaeum Club hosts events similar to the Fun-n-Friends and try to cater to a smaller audience and a shorter time frame so that young professionals—with or without children—can easily find time to join us. This year the A-Club visited Hendershot’s Coffee Bar, which won an ACHF award last year, Bottleworks on Prince Avenue, and the historic Camak House. They also held the 2nd Annual Historic Pub Crawl (left) in downtown Athens.
  • Three Heritage newsletters were published for our members. A very special thank you goes to new volunteer Editor, Kristen Bergman-Morales.


Community Engagement and Advocacy
Since its founding 45 years ago, the Foundation has always been about community and how to preserve and protect what makes Athens special. Advocacy takes many forms, from education…to speaking out about saving a particular historic property…to celebrating those who take preservation into their own hands. This past year the foundation partnered with various groups, financially supported others, and worked through the channels of public information to foster historic preservation and guide local decisions.  Our Community Engagement efforts this year included:

  • Giving a $3,000 Revolving Fund grant to The Morton Theatre (left) to help cover a shortfall in funds for the restoration.
  • Commissioning a county-wide survey to identify significant historic properties in the county that are not currently protected.
  • Donating – for the 2nd year in-a-row – to the Friends of Oconee Hill Cemetery, from the proceeds of Charlotte Marshall’s Oconee Hill Cemetery Heritage Walk.
  • Financial management for the fundraising for the Ben Epps Memorial Statue Committee.
  • Assistance to the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority in their plans to replace their dormitory on their historic Milledge Avenue house.
  • Fourteen Preservation Awards were given to people and projects that showed an outstanding commitment to historic preservation in Athens, including Wilmot Greene, who received the President’s Award for the rebuilding of the Georgia Theatre from its devastating fire.


Finally, the Foundation was involved in advocating for the preservation of several endangered properties:

  • The house at 165 S. Milledge Avenue
  • Barrow Elementary School
  • The Camak House
  • Rutherford Hall (left), which included a successful nomination of Rutherford Hall to the Georgia Trust’s Places in Peril list.



Special/Fundraising Events
As you know, nonprofits depend on their membership dues, grants, sponsorships, fundraisers, and the benevolence of the community to advance their missions. This past year we were successful in a number of new fundraising ventures:

  • The Membership Committee brought in 40 new members through a membership drive via the online “Deal Mobs” program
  • The Education Committee received programming grants from the Watson-Brown Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • The board of trustees voted to increase their financial support of the foundation through an annual trustee pledge program, bringing in over $8,000.


Fundraising Events included:

  • Tin Roof Music Festival, with the tagline, “Music Lives Here,” in recognition of the fact that our historic urban neighborhoods serve as the incubators for the local music scene.
  • The Heritage Holiday Gala in December was held on University Drive (left). From the kick-off party held at Cheri and Lance Leavy’s House to the party itself, Yuletide on University was a smashing success on all accounts! Teaming up with Alex and Cheri to lead the effort was member Greta Covington.   The party featured a silent auction headed up by committee member Breckyn Alexander, and, of course, the fabulous food, all donated thanks to the efforts of longtime ACHF supporter Marti Schimmel.

We thank the couples who opened up their homes to us: Alison and David Abernathy, Tracy and Brent Crymes, Hart and Shooter Roberts, and Donna and Bill Hopper.  Finally, the icing on the cake would have to be the 30 individuals and couples who made an extra financial commitment to the Foundation simply for the honor of being listed as part of the Host Committee for the party. A heartfelt thanks to one and all.


Historic Properties
The Foundation’s offices are located in the historic 1901 Fire Hall No. 2 on Prince Avenue. We’ve been there since the early 1980s and, unfortunately, the downstairs in particular has gotten pretty bedraggled. Thanks to UGA’s Student Historic Preservation Organization and their President Kyle Campbell a downstairs makeover was begun and has been completed repainted.  Also want to thank Tony Parramore of Gainesville Paint & Supply for donating the supplies for the project, and Ellen Stinchcomb of Rainbow Painting (left) – who not only spent an entire week at the Fire Hall painting but also paid for the paint for the trimwork.

The Foundation is involved with several other historic properties in town. We administer the Athens Welcome Center in the c. 1820 Church-Waddel-Brumby House Museum, we own the furnishings and decorative arts collection at the c. 1840 Ware-Lyndon House Museum. Both of these house museums—along with the Taylor-Grady House, run by the Jr. League of Athens, and the T.R.R. Cobb House, run by the Watson-Brown Foundation—are part of the Athens Historic House Museum Association which operates under the umbrella of the Heritage Foundation.  Highlights from the year include:

  • The 4th Annual Holiday Spirits Museum Theatre Tours in December, featuring historic, theatrical vignettes. This year introduced new plays at the Church-Waddel-Brumby House and at the T.R.R. Cobb House (left).
  • The Church-Waddel-Brumby House received a grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation Jr. Board and used it to restore interior decorative faux painting.
  • The Welcome Center launched a new Facebook page and introduced the ‘Over the Mantel Art’ series in the Gift Shop which features local artists.
  • Classic City Tours continued to update its tour offerings including a new edition of the Athens Music History Tour with insider stops, and a revamped African-American History Tour with native Athenian, Rosa Thurmond aboard as the new tour guide.


Hands On Athens
Hands On Athens is a partnership of local organizations, businesses, churches and individuals that uses volunteers to make repairs on low to moderate-income homes that are greater than 50 years old. This year Hands on Athens:

  • Completed an emergency porch repair project at a significant, ca.1900 house in the Reese Street Historic District;
  • kicked off our first ever Fall Work Weekend and painted an entire house off Waddell Street in one day;
  • began an inventory of owner-occupied dwellings in our three target neighborhoods–Hancock Corridor, East Athens, and Newtown.
  • Received an additional $6,000 in CDBG funding for roofing work. The local company Athens Roofing has completed two roofing repair jobs for us to-date and is doing the work for us at a 20% discount.
  • Finally, the 2012 Spring Work Weekend saw approximately 200 volunteers complete a variety of repairs and landscaping improvements at a dozen properties.

One final note about Hands On Athens…what sets it apart is that we take a relatively small amount of funding, less than $45,000, and increase the value threefold thanks to the generous donations of time and money and materials from businesses and individuals, including many professional contractors. One such volunteer is Chris Evans, partner in the architectural firm, E + E architecture. Chris has served as Chair of the Hands On Athens Steering Committee since 2003, and is stepping down this year.  We’d like to take the opportunity to recognize Chris and his extraordinary contribution to the foundation and, more importantly, to the community.


One way or another, just about everything the foundation does has an educational component. This past year, not only did we continue some excellent initiatives from the past but we also launched a new Education series, Preservation Matters.

Athens Heritage Walks celebrated its 3rd year under the guidance of new chair Michele Griffin. This year we:

  • Added two new tours, brought back 12 other tours plus the Haunted History Tours at and educated over 300 tour-goers during the fall series.
  • Received a grant from the Watson-Brown Jr. Board Foundation and donations from Janet and Alex Patterson and Peggy and Denny Galis to hire Athens Videography to film 13 tours this year (left).  Copies of each of the tours will be given to the UGA Special Collections Library and the Athens-Clarke County  Library and are also available for viewing online at a site hosted by Athens Videography.

2011-2012 was our first year for Preservation Matters, an annual educational series. Thanks to the leadership of Committee chair Lisa Dore and Rosemarie Goodrum, the series was a resounding success.

  • The committee successfully secured sponsors and grant funding for each of the programs so that the series paid for itself, and, by the way, we are very thankful to the businesses and individuals who contributed to the series.
  • The four programs attracted a total audience of well over 300 people, many of whom had never attended a Heritage Foundation event.
  • Presented four very different programs under the theme, Historic Preservation – Inherently Green:
    • Kick-off Lecture in August by Mark McDonald, CEO of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation;
    • Homeowner’s workshop in October on energy efficient strategies for the historic home, including a historic window restoration demonstration;
    • GREEN Bike tour in May with partner Bike Athens featuring properties highlighting energy-efficient and sustainable new construction in historic areas;
    • The Southern Mills: Economically Smart | Socially Responsible symposium in February. This day-long conference attracted over 140 people from Athens, Georgia, and Alabama; and featured 4 nationally renowned speakers who talked about sustainability, finances and taxes, and gave examples of how to successfully rehabilitate a large-scale historic property. See the results at achfonline.org/southernmill


The Future

  • Our special events committee is hard at work planning the next Heritage Holiday Gala.
  • We will introduce 2-3 new Athens Heritage Walks, including a tour of UGA’s historic South Campus, and film 6-8 tours thanks to a 2nd grant from the W-B Foundation Jr. Board and a donation from Janet and Alex Patterson.
  • Our Preservation Matters series theme will be Partnerships for Livable Communities. We will highlight the many organizations and agencies that contribute to Athens quality-of-life and demonstrate that historic places are at the core of what makes Athens special.
  • We will continue with our self-improvement efforts at the Fire Hall and increase its presence as a focal point for community activities.
  • Through our county-wide survey (Barnett Shoals Drive house, left) we will identify significant historic properties and reach out to property owners to help secure their future preservation.


Thank you to each and every one of you who helped make this year a success. We could never do what we do without you.