During this, the happiest of holiday seasons, The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park (EHFOP) Board of Directors welcomes the recent discussion of several issues, including the foundation’s continued financial stability and our hopes for Hemingway’s Boyhood Home.
We are proud of our many achievements during 2005, all in furtherance of the foundation’s mission of fostering understanding of the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, with an emphasis on his Oak Park origins and his impact on world literature. We own the Hemingway Birthplace Home outright and operate the Home and the Hemingway Museum year-round. We expanded our tourism efforts, bringing in many more visitors. We upgraded our website (http://ehfop.org) and are now revamping our museum store. Last month, we hosted a popular and successful fundraising dinner, Salut Hemingway. EHFOP was also tapped to take part in the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation’s “Making a Good Gift Better” endowment building program. This coveted opportunity will provide ways to ensure that, as we finish this exciting year, EHFOP will continue to move forward in a fiscally sound manner.
During 2001, EHFOP received the unexpected chance to buy Ernest Hemingway’s Boyhood Home. Thanks to generous and much-appreciated assistance from the Village of Oak Park and First Bank of Oak Park, the foundation purchased the property. Since that time, we have used minimal foundation funds to operate the property since the Boyhood Home is essentially self-sufficient with its rental income. Although the house needed some external repairs lately, as most older homes in Oak Park often do, the most pressing issues have already been or are scheduled to be fixed shortly.
The Boyhood Home remains a priority to the foundation. We face some key decisions related to the property during 2006. No matter which direction we take, we are grounded in the reality that as a not-for-profit in this day and age, we are primarily responsible for our own success. We also realize that it would take hard work and perseverance from this board, our staff, and our supporters to maintain a solid organization and to take on a project of this scope. We invite any and all input and will seek out those with specialized expertise as we carefully consider all of our options for securing the Boyhood Home’s physical and historical elements for future generations.
We invite you to stop by the museum and the Birthplace Home to discover the intensity of Ernest Hemingway’s dreams to travel and write, how they were nurtured by his early times in Oak Park, and in turn became the legacy he endowed not only upon Oak Park, but upon the world of arts and literature and upon the world at large. We further invite you to become a member, become a volunteer, become a donor. To all of those who have done so already, please accept the board’s thanks for your continued help and concern, and to everyone, our hopes for a peaceful and joyous holiday season.
P.S. Our traditional Boxing Day celebration, as always, takes place on the day after Christmas, Dec. 26. All are invited to join us at Ernest Hemingway’s Birth Home, 339 N. Oak Park Ave., between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Please come and enjoy the holiday splendor of this beautifully and carefully restored historic home.
Board of directors
The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park