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Frances Perkins Center Awarded $750,000 Mellon Foundation Humanities in Place Grant

"The Mellon Foundation’s support is a transformative catalyst for the Frances Perkins Center."
- Giovanna Gray Lockhart, Executive Director

NEWCASTLE, Maine – The Frances Perkins Center (FPC) announced that it has been awarded a $750,000 grant by the Mellon Foundation, the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. FPC is the first organization in Maine to receive funds from the grant program, that “supports a fuller, more complex telling of American histories and lived experiences by deepening the range of how and where our stories are told and by bringing a wider variety of voices into the public dialogue,” according to the Foundation’s Humanities in Place webpage
 
Distributed over three years, the Mellon Foundation grant will enable FPC to advance their mission through historic preservation, enhanced educational programming, and the creation of a robust framework for financial sustainability. A nationally recognized cultural institution based at the Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark in Newcastle, Maine, FPC aims to shine a light on Frances Perkins, the first woman to hold a U.S. Cabinet position. Perkins was the driving force behind New Deal and the policies she created have impacted the lives of millions of Americans. FPC endeavors to inspire current and future generations to understand and uphold the government’s role in providing social justice and economic security for all.  
 
“The Mellon Foundation’s support is a transformative catalyst for the Frances Perkins Center,” said Giovanna Gray Lockhart, executive director of FPC. “It elevates us from a volunteer led, emerging organization to a leader in local, regional, and national education and dialogue on American heritage, culture, social justice, and economic security. We are thrilled to receive this support and are excited about the far-reaching opportunities it brings to the Homestead.”  
 
Funding two studies and supporting the hiring of five new staff members, the Foundation grant will allow FPC to create a place-based history and education center at the Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark. To provide accurate historical interpretation, FPC will conduct two essential studies as recommended by the Maine State Historic Preservation Commission: A Cultural Landscape Report and a Historic Structures Report. These studies will provide vital information to guide the interpretation and preservation of the Homestead, a site shaped by human activity for over 12,000 years. Additionally, the grant will facilitate the hiring of a part-time archivist and a full-time curator.  
 
To secure the long-term viability of the Frances Perkins Center, the Mellon Foundation grant will also support the establishment of a comprehensive fundraising and revenue-raising framework. This will include the hiring of three new full-time positions: a planned giving/major gifts officer, a database administrator, and a membership manager. These roles will significantly enhance FPC’s fundraising capabilities, cultivate major-level investments, and establish a membership program to generate additional revenue streams. 
 
“We are pleased to provide this grant to the Frances Perkins Center to ensure Perkins’ story continues to be shared widely today, and to aid in sparking productive conversations about social justice and economic security that encourage a wider variety of voices,” said Justin Garrett Moore, program director for the Humanities in Place program at the Mellon Foundation.
 
The Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark in Newcastle, Maine, owned and managed by FPC since 2020, serves as the centerpiece of FPC’s mission. As a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, FPC is dedicated to preserving and promoting the story of Frances Perkins, ensuring her contributions to American history remain a vital part of the national narrative. This summer, a free, self-guided exhibit on the life of Frances Perkins will be available in the 1837 barn at the Homestead from June 15-August 30, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. Onsite trails are open to visitors seven days a week, year-round, from sunrise to sunset. 
 
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Whitney Raymond: wraymond@marshallpr.com

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cropped Frances and Faith icon

April 2024 FPC E-Newsletter

To appreciate thoroughly the life and
accomplishments of Frances Perkins, a great agent
of social change who served as Secretary of Labor
throughout FDR’s tenure, requires recognizing that
faith was the foundation of who she was and all that
she did.