Press Release-Blithewold's Capital Campaign Moves Into the Public Phase

Published on Friday, June 28, 2013


For Immediate Release: Bristol, RI - Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum has reached the $2-million mark in its $3-million capital and endowment campaign, Cultivating the Future: The Campaign for Blithewold, leaders of the waterfront estate announced funds will be used to implement the first phase of a Master Plan and to supplement the organization's endowment.

"Because of the extraordinary generosity of many donors, volunteers, the board of directors and the campaign steering committee, we can announce the public phase of this worthy endeavor," said board member Arthur Parker of Barrington, the campaign co-chair with Joan Abrams of Bristol, also a board member. An early $400,000 challenge grant from the Champlin Foundations and a recent $300,000 challenge grant from Mrs. Dorrance H. Hamilton of Newport and Philadelphia have also been instrumental in the initial success of the campaign, Parker mentioned.

Noreen Ackerman, chairman, Joan Abrams, campaign co-chair, Karen Binder, executive director, & Arthur Parker, campaign co-chair

Noreen Ackerman, chairman,
Joan Abrams, campaign co-chair,
Karen Binder, executive director,
& Arthur Parker, campaign co-chair

"Blithewold is a welcoming place for family and friends to enjoy. After a thoughtful two-year planning process and developing a Master Plan, we wish to proceed with projects that will improve and enhance the Blithewold experience," Abrams said.

Capital projects include updated smoke and fire alarms; handicapped accessible paths, ramps and rest rooms; improved climate control in the mansion; an expanded Visitor Center; a permanent structure to complement the existing Special Events Tent; a 450-square foot addition to the Greenhouse; restoration of the stone pier and improvements to the one-quarter-mile shoreline.

Blithewold already boasts 33 acres of gardens, woodlands, expansive lawns and a stunning view of the entrance to Bristol Harbor. The 105-year-old mansion features furnishings and artwork of the Van Wickle family, which built the estate and resided there
until 1976.

Now, in the public phase of the Capital Campaign, we are seeking the support of the entire Rhode Island community. These projects will serve to enhance and strengthen our ability to preserve Blithewold for all Rhode Islanders - current and future generations - who will benefit from greater access to one of our state's cultural gems. We want to share with even more people an appreciation for Blithewold's significance, for it amazing horticultural collections, for the role women played in landscape design and the influence of the American Arts and Crafts movement at Blithewold.

About Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum is a landscaped historic public garden and Rhode Island's only recognized arboretum. Situated on Bristol Harbor with sweeping views overlooking Narragansett Bay, the 33 acres of trees, lawns, flowers and gardens also features a forty-five room mansion filled with original antiques and artwork. It is the mission of Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum to preserve New England's finest garden estate through excellence in horticulture and historic preservation, and by our example to teach and inspire others.

Blithewold is a 501(c) 3 not for profit, and all contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law. For more information, visit or call 401-253-2707.

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