AUSTIN – The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission recognized local Friends groups that support Texas Historical Commission (THC)-administered historic sites with the first annual Friends Alliance Awards at the THC’s Real Places conference last night. Awards were given in the categories of Civic Engagement, Stewardship, and Friend Raising to Friends groups for San Felipe de Austin, Fort Griffin, and Mission Dolores state historic sites, respectively.
Friends groups that support THC historic sites are independent or fiscally sponsored nonprofits and are volunteer-led by a group of interested citizens from the community. The groups support historic sites by providing fundraising assistance, serving as volunteers, and promoting sites to the public.
The Civic Engagement Award honors a Friends group for outstanding efforts in advocating to public entities for a historic site as a recognized community asset. This year, the Friends of San Felipe de Austin was awarded for securing public support to build a state-of-the-art museum, which opened last spring.
The Stewardship Award is presented to groups that have gone above and beyond in augmenting a site’s staff or budget through fundraising or volunteerism. The Friends of Fort Griffin received the Stewardship Award for its financial support toward significant restoration projects at the historic cavalry site.
The Friend Raising Award recognizes organizations that have made extraordinary efforts in organizing diverse community members for Friends group activities. The Friends of Mission Dolores, a Friends group for one of the THC’s newest sites, received this award for its work in organizing nonprofit status through a fiscal sponsorship and welcoming over 100 new members in just over one year.
The Friends Alliance Awards is a joint initiative between the Friends of the THC and the THC Historic Sites Division’s new Community Partnerships Program. The program provides consultation to THC-administered historic sites Friends groups across the state to help navigate formal agreements with the agency, coordinate board development and fundraising training, and provide strategic planning facilitation. The Historic Sites Division coordinates the awards program, and a committee of the Friends of the THC selects the awardees and presents them with a commemorative plaque and $150 check for training.
“We’re thrilled to honor these groups that so tirelessly give their time and resources to the sites they’re so passionate about,” said Angela Reed, coordinator for the Community Partnerships Program. “We’re grateful that the Friends of the THC organization is willing to lead in hosting this award, which is meaningful because its board of directors are also volunteers who understand Friends groups’ dedication.”
The nomination period for the 2020 Friends Alliance Awards will begin in May and will be announced on the Friends of the THC’s website. For more information about the THC’s Community Partnerships Program, contact Reed at 512-463-5925. For more information about the Friends of the THC, contact Executive Director Anjali Zutshi at 512-936-2241.
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