We wanted you — our valued Volunteers — to be among the very first to learn that sole ownership of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park has been transferred from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust — achieving one of our organization’s long-held dreams.

In the 1970’s a group of community activists in Oak Park banded together in a heroic effort to save, preserve and restore the historic Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio. To help accomplish this noble goal, these early pioneers had reached out to the Washington D.C. based National Trust for Historic Preservation and entered into a unique co-stewardship agreement — the first of its kind for the National Trust.

The terms of this experimental leaseback agreement required our organization to come up half of the purchase price, interest, fees and money for emergency repairs of the property — which we proudly did! In return, the National Trust agreed to put up the balance required to help make the Home and Studio purchase and agreed to a long-term, low-cost lease of the property to us, while they held the formal title to the property.

But an important clause in this innovative agreement acknowledged that the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust would be fully capable of the financial and other responsibilities of independent ownership of this important cultural property — and it set forth conditions that enabled us to purchase the Home and Studio at any time during the terms of the lease, and to assume exclusive-ownership of the property.

To that end, from July 2011 to January 2012, we conducted a quiet capital campaign among area residents to gather sufficient local donor support to finalize this purchase and to achieve this important goal.

Materially, you will not see many changes in our day-to-day operations, if any — but the anchor of home-ownership positions the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust strongly to achieve our future strategic objectives and fundraising goals as we continue to renew Wright’s vision, and inspire future generations with what can be accomplished when we come together as a community.

We’re very grateful to our partners at the National Trust for their friendship and steadfast support these many years, and for their unwavering commitment to the cause of historic preservation of significant properties throughout the United States. We share their deep commitment to this important cause and fully expect that we will be allies in this arena, as our relationship remains close and we are pleased to recognize the benefits of our long association.

I hope that you share in our excitement as a proud new era dawns for the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Please watch for additional details in the weeks to come. Thanks as ever for your unwavering commitment, and for all that you do to make us the internationally recognized preservation and education organization that we are!

Warm Regards,
Jim Schiefelbein
Chairman, Board of Directors
Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust

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