Students perform on stage as part of the Ford's theatre oratory festival. Five girls stand in front holding each other's hands above their heads. A dozen student kneel behind them.
Photo by Gary Erskine.

Impact

Your support helps preserve Lincoln’s legacy and helps us inspire the next generation of leaders.

When you support Ford’s Theatre, you become part of the family, while making an impact on your community and your nation.

Donations and membership further our mission of celebrating Lincoln’s legacy and exploring the American experience. Your support helps fund educational programs like the Oratory Festivals, giving children a place on our national stage. Your funding brings the American experience to life through our performances. And your generosity inspires visitors by exploring the importance of President Lincoln and his legacy through our exhibits.

A large group of teachers and teenage students smile for the camera in front of Ford's Theatre.
Photo by Gary Erskine.

Your support helps fund our National Oratory Fellows Program

The National Oratory Fellows program is a multi-year engagement with cohorts of teachers across the country. Learn more about this unique and impactful program.

Our Reach

484,274+

Historic Site Visitors

107,895+

Theatre Patrons

95,250+

Student Virtual Field Trips

5,707

Free Student Tickets

Empowering Teachers

As a reading specialist, I love that kids who say they hate to read have been so engaged and have learned so much about Ford’s and Lincoln.

Donna W., Teacher in Baltimore, MD

Our professional development programs help educators learn how to use oratory and performance as strategies for teaching history.

Ford’s Theatre is dedicated to providing professional development to teachers. Our Education Department helps educators learn how to use oratory and performance in their classrooms as teaching strategies for public speaking and history. These programs provided experiential learning opportunities for teachers, enhancing their lessons. They also create a community of educators who are committed to teaching Lincoln’s legacy.

It is not often that young people understand how much can be learned from those who came before us, but we did. We learned to mine the words of great leaders of our past so that we can be better and understand our present. We also learned that we can harness the power of our unique voices in order to create a better today and tomorrow.

Paige Teleford

The words of student orator Paige Teleford truly illustrate the power and impact our education programs have on students and teachers. Your donations allow us to continue to empower and support educators and directly impact the lives of students across the country.

Creating the Next Generation of Leaders

Our professional development programs help educators learn how to use oratory and performance as strategies for teaching history. Our professional development programs help educators learn how to use oratory and performance as strategies for teaching history. Ford’s Theatre is dedicated to providing professional development to teachers. Our Education Department helps educators learn how to use oratory and performance in their classrooms as teaching strategies for public speaking and history. These programs provided experiential learning opportunities for teachers, enhancing their lessons. They also create a community of educators who are committed to teaching Lincoln’s legacy. It is not often that young people understand how much can be learned from those who came before us, but we did. We learned to mine the words of great leaders of our past so that we can be better and understand our present. We also learned that we can harness the power of our unique voices in order to create a better today and tomorrow. Paige Teleford The words of student orator Paige Teleford truly illustrate the power and impact our education programs have on students and teachers. Your donations allow us to continue to empower and support educators and directly impact the lives of students across the country.
Photo by Gary Erskine.

Last year, Ford’s Theatre hosted more than 600 students on our stage, teaching them leadership, public-speaking and performance skills.

Every year, the Lincoln Oratory Festival gives local students the life-changing opportunity to perform one of Lincoln’s speeches on the historic Ford’s Theatre stage. Each class prepares for the event with help from a Ford’s Teaching Artist, who works with students on speech comprehension and performance during in-school visits. Participants in the Festival learn valuable rhetoric and oratory skills that help build their confidence and self-esteem. Last February, more than 350 students from four area schools took to our stage and recited speeches from Lincoln’s presidency.

Want to make sure that you are giving a voice to the next generation of leaders? Donate to Ford’s today.

Preserving History

A large crown of people gather in front of Ford's Theatre at night. Most hold lit candles.
Photo from the Ford’s 150 candlelight vigil. Photo by Gary Erskine.

I want future generations to learn about Ford’s theatre and understand how the events there changed the course of our nation.

Craig Strent – Member since 2008

Craig Strent, one of our longtime supporters, came to Ford’s Theatre as an elementary school student and immediately felt a profound emotional connection to the Theatre and the tragic events that took place here.

He later moved to attend college in Washington, D.C.—in part to be closer to Ford’s and Lincoln. Now, as an adult, he regularly travels to visit historic sites and collects, as he calls it, “Lincolnia.”

Craig discovered his love of Lincoln’s story at Ford’s and became a lifelong learner of history. He has now made it his personal mission to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to learn about Ford’s and understand how what happened here changed the course of our nation.

Join Craig in supporting Ford’s Theatre to preserve this history for future generations.

Living Proof: Paige Teleford

“During my high school days, I was fortunate enough to participate in the very first year of the oratory program at Central High School, offered to us in partnership with Ford’s Theatre.

In that class, we learned speeches by Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and other famous orators. Then we learned how to write our own original speeches about issues that were important to us.

Let me tell you, as a young person in the 21st century, this was an incredible experience. It is not often that young people understand how much can be learned from those who came before us, but we did. We learned to mine the words of great leaders of our past so that we can be better and understand our present. We also learned that we can harness the power of our unique voices in order to create a better today and tomorrow. We learned to speak out and bravely offer our thoughts ourselves to the world. We learned that what we had to say matters.

My classmates and I worked incredibly hard, and, as a result Ford’s Theatre, decided to create a scholarship funded to honor students who excelled as a leader and as a public speaker. I am proud to say that I was the very first to receive the Abraham Lincoln Oratory and Leadership Award. Like many who have broken barriers and were the first, I felt like I had accomplished something truly important. I had opened a door for future students to stand up and be heard. I have to say receiving this award meant more to me than receiving my high school diploma.” -Paige Telesford

Donate today to make impact with students like Paige.

Building Student Confidence

A teacher kneels down to pose with her young students. She smiles and points to the camera. The children all smile, and some are holding up peace signs.
Photo of Ashley Buster with Students.

You can do this – it’s just a matter of if you will or if you won’t.
Ashley Buster, Ford’s Theatre Teaching Artist

Ashley is one of many educators that works with students to help them prepare speeches by Lincoln for a performance on the Ford’s Theatre stage.

Ashley Buster often finds herself saying this phrase to schoolchildren to convince them to do something that scares them – stand up and speak in front of a crowd. But as a Teaching Artist with Ford’s Theatre, she wouldn’t have it any other way. Ashley is one of many educators that works with students to help them prepare speeches by Lincoln for a performance on the Ford’s Theatre stage. Ashley works with kids on their speech comprehension, stage presence, and oratory skills. But she often winds up teaching them something more important – confidence and self-esteem. “All you need to do is break kids out of their shell,” she says, “and approach them on their level, offer them respect.”

Every year she makes a difference with students and coaches them as they grow from nervous and shy kids to confident orators with an appreciation and understanding of history. Her favorite experience? In one of her classes, a student joined two weeks before their final performance at Ford’s. “She was very shy and only spoke Spanish,” says Ashley, “and the whole class decided to perform parts of the speech in Spanish so she could get up on that stage and participate. And she did – it was great!” Working with kids who have language barriers and serving as a role model is one of the most rewarding things Ashley does through her work with Ford’s.

And give yourself a round of applause – generous support from donors like you allows programs like this to happen every day at Ford’s!

Continue the story: You can find out more about the Ford’s oratory programs and festival.

Empowering Students

The Ford’s Theatre Oratory Program has positively impacted countless students within our school.
Jennifer, Middle School Teacher, 2015

Every year, Ford’s Theatre gives local students the life-changing opportunity to perform one of Lincoln’s speeches on the historic stage. Each class prepares for the event with help from a Ford’s Teaching Artist, who works with students on speech comprehension and performance during in-school visits. Participants learn valuable rhetoric and oratory skills that help build their confidence and self-esteem.

Our National Oratory Fellows program uses oratory and performance strategies to help teachers bring history alive in their classrooms across the country. In the spring, the teachers, along with more than 30 of their student delegates, perform original and historic speeches on the Ford’s Theatre stage.

Our Higher Achievement weekly after-school partnership connects teaching artists with sixth graders to practice drama and public speaking.

Our two-day Oratory Festival, featuring classes from D.C., Maryland and Virginia, honors Abraham Lincoln’s birthday with performances of his profound words. Ford’s Theatre teaching artists work with students over a five-month period to memorize and practice the speech to be performed.

The inaugural Lincoln Online Oratory Project was a broader version of the local festival, where classrooms from all over the country recorded videos of themselves performing famous Lincoln speeches.

Stand Up, Be Heard: Speech Residency is our final oratory performance of the year, where teachers and students from the Washington area deliver a range of original and historical speeches on our historic stage.

Your donations help us continue programs like these.

Impact Reports

Explore the impact of Ford’s Theatre in the community.

Ways to make an Impact

See how your donation helps Ford’s Theatre

Two actors stand in 1860s costume clapping. Behind them is the flag-draped Presidential Box at Ford’s Theatre.
Michael Bunce and Stephen F. Schmidt.

$250 brings a local class to One Destiny

Your support enables production of and free tickets for One Destiny, a short play commissioned and produced by Ford’s Theatre that revisits the events of April 14, 1865.

Four young children stand on a staircase looking at a large tower composed of books about Abraham Lincoln. A young girl points to the tower.
Photo by Gary Erskine.

$100 funds school bus transportation

Ford’s provides free tickets AND free bus transportation for students. Your support provides many students with their first experience of live theatre.

Abraham Lincoln, wearing his signature beard and dressed in a suit, is seated for a formal portrait. He looks off to his left. He is photographed from the legs up.
Photo courtesy of Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site.

Preserve Lincoln’s Legacy

Membership helps fund all of our theatrical and educational programming. Join today.

A side exterior view of historic Ford’s Theatre, a three-story brick building with five arched windows on the second and third floor. The bottom floor is white and has five arched entryways.
Photo © Maxwell MacKenzie.

Monthly Donations

Make your donation go further with recurring gifts

Elementary school student performing her speech behind a podium on stage at Ford’s Theatre.
Photo by Gary Erskine.

Lincoln Oratory Festival

More than 600 students participate in the Oratory Festival and perform on the Ford’s Theatre stage. Your support helps these students develop critical skills in communication, self-esteem and leadership.

A Special Thanks

Donors and members help us make a difference every day. View the list of our donors and see who has helped us make a lasting impact in our community.

Individual Donors

Ford’s Theatre Society is pleased to recognize all individuals making cumulative annual contributions of $250 or more. The list below includes gifts received January 1, 2022, through December 31, 2022. To request additional information, please contact us at [email protected] or (202) 434-9545.

See Full List

 

$50,000 and Up
Mr. Michael R. Hemmerich
Mr. and Mrs. S. Craig Lindner
Marlene A. Malek and the Malek Family Charitable Trust
Mr. and Mrs. Michael F. Neidorff
Phebe N. Novakovic

$25,000 – $49,999
The Ambassador of the State of Kuwait and Sheikha Rima Al-Sabah
Mrs. Eva Al-Thani
Julia and George Argyros
Mr. Ian Cameron
Art Collins
Gina and Rick Dearborn
Ms. Gloria Story Dittus
John Farnam and Paul Heitzenrater
Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Gates
Susan and John Hess
Mr. Frank F. Islam and Ms. Debbie Driesman
Norman and Noelle Jemal
James Lintott and May Liang
David and Stephanie Long
Mrs. Kathleen K. Manatt
Catherine Merrill and the Merrill Family Foundation
Ayesha and Timothy Molino
John and Carrie Morgridge
Heather M. Podesta
Hilary Geary Ross
Hon. Rex and Renda Tillerson

$10,000 – $24,999
Brian and Merry Anderson
Ms. Elizabeth Arpey
Jean A. Baderschneider and Patrick J. MacArevey
Steven and Shirley Barry
Andy Blocker
Senator Roy Blunt and Mrs. Abigail Blunt
Mark and Desiree Crawford
Joseph and Kasey Crowley
Ray and Alysia Dempsey
Mr. James W. Dyer
Lawrence Duncan III
Ms. Karyn McLaughlin Frist
Hon. Sven Erik Holmes
Drew and Samantha Hunter
Dr. and Mrs. Ray R. Irani
Hon. Alphonso Jackson and Mrs. Marcia Jackson
Ms. Elizabeth Baker Keffer
Ritu and Ro Khanna
In Memory of Helen Calamos Kiplingler
Mr. and Mrs. Evan A. Knisely
Kent and Karen Knutson
Majida Mourad
Lola C. Reinsch
Mark and Alison Russell
The Honorable Frederick J. Ryan Jr.
Charles Segars
Ms. Iris Smith and Mr. Michael S. Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Eric A. Spiegel
The Honorable and Mrs. John Tanner
Louise Taper
Mr. Paul R. Tetreault and Mr. John Jeter
Omar and Ada Vargas

$5,000 – $9,999
The Benders
Wayne and Lea Berman
Joyce M. Brayboy
Mr. Thomas B. Harding Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Kimmitt
Marc Lampkin
Patrick Landis and Edward Wilde
Drs. Susan and Dan Mareck
Elaine Reuben
Paul, Renee and Eva Skafte

$2,500 – $4,999
Lucille A. Bland
Scott and Kim Boylan
Mr. Kelly Brion and Professor Philip Tirpak
In Memory of Kathleen Anne Brown
Steve & June Chaudet
Hon. Emmanuel Cleaver and Mrs. Diane Cleaver
Pablo and Paula Collins
The Honorable and Mrs. John H. Dalton
In honor of Cristina Diaz
Harvey and Pam Ernest
The Honorable Susan S. Gibson and Colonel Tim Gibson
Mr. Robert Hall
Jacqueline and Alexander Henry
Mr. and Mrs. Glen Howard
Helen and David Kenney
David MacKay, MacKay Communications LLC
Bob McDonald and David Insinga
The Montheys
Dr. Klint Peebles and Mr. Shannon Sloat
Doug and Pam Robinson
Brenda and William Romenius
Andrew Sheeter
Brooke and David Thomas
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Woodson

$1,000-$2,499
Anonymous (7)
Col. Richard R. Abelkis
Betsy and Robert Anderson
Allie and Ellen Ash
David C. Brough
The Honorable Elaine L. Chao
Shannen and Casey Romanoff Coffin
Jim and Kathy Consagra
Mary Copperthwaite and Randy Reardon
Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Coulter, Jr.
Mr. Robert W. Cover and Ms. Bonnie Lepoff
Janice King Crawford
The Honorable and Mrs. Linda Hall Daschle
Frank and Nancy DeGrace
Stephen and Maryann Dembek
Cathi Diener
The Honorable Deborah I. Dingell
Mr. Rob Doerschner
Ms. Elizabeth Duggal and Mr. Alain Taghipour
Mr. Sheldon Epps
Nishon and Pat Evans
John Farrell
Michael and Erica Folk
Tim and Norene Guilford
Paul Hancq
Meg and John Hauge
Robert and Brenna Head
Jeff and Beth Hearrell
Bill and Jane Hoover
Mr. Thomas Housman
Mia Kang
Lyle and Elizabeth Kellman
Tamara Turoff Keough
Mr. W. Gary Kohlman and Ms. Lesley Zork
Dr. Michelle A. Krowl
Sanjiv Kumar and Mansoora Rashid
Mr. David S. Magee
The Honorable Edward J. Markey and Dr. Susan J. Blumenthal Markey
Dick Morin
David and Helen Nagel
Ms. Martha Newman
Mr. Edward A. Picard
In Memory of Mary Lyons Quill
Ron and Doris Richburg
Mr. and Mrs. Timothy J. Rieu
Mr. and Mrs. James R. Riley
The Honorable James E. Risch and Mrs. Vicki Risch
Patricia and Eric Sanner
Judd and Bev Schulke
Donna and Lachlan Seward
Gina Shultz
sheri ratick stroud
Peter and Ann Tanous
Joseph and Sonji Turner
Lubbock Velez
Ms. Iris Weinshall
Sandy and Jon Willen
Wendy Dinova-Wimmer and Robert Wimmer
James Beller and Christopher Wolf

$500 – $999
Anonymous (5)
Caroline Aland
Patrick & Kim Anderson
Leon & Robyn Andris
Stephen & Patti Bickley
Ted and Dora Sue Black
Sandy Boyar
Blain & Peg Butner
Dr. Carol Ciofalo and Mr. Robert S. Tedder III
Andy Cottrell
Valerie and John Cuddy
Philip de Picciotto
Louis Delair Jr.
Dennis M. Dengel
Donna Lee Diane
Anne and Christopher Dillon
Mr. Gary Dinardo
Dr. Amanda K. Emo
Ms. Katherine Evans
Gail A. Fleming
Ingrid Fox
Mr. and Mrs. Rick Froehlich
Rachel Hecht
Lucia Hill
Joe Horning and Reed Young
Angel and Seri Irazola
Patricia Jackman and Stephen L. John
Emma Jacobs Breast Cancer Foundation
Mr. Sheldon Katz
Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Kelley
Ring Lardner
Colonel and Mrs. James A. Lien
John and Beth Lord
Tamera Luzzatto and David Leiter
Mr. David J. Mason
Suzanne and Robert L. McDowell, Jr.
James Richard Melia
Heather Panetta
C and J Orza
Mrs. Heidi M. O’Sheehab
Ms. Ruth Oyen
Jan Powers
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Quern
David Reutzel
Martha Richards
Karen and Craig Richey
Laura and David Rinn
Ms. Diane Robey
Hon. Joe Rozek Col. (R) and Family
Dr. & Mrs Nader Soliman
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth F. Stang
Kathy Stonitsch
Craig and Amy Strent
Raymond Sullivan
Alison & Jim Tanner
Ms. Margo Trovinger
Mr. and Mrs. Mark Walker
Craig Wallace and Kimberley Schraf
Mary and Lance Wood
Mr. John Young

$250 – $499
Anonymous (10)
Mrs. Rachelle R. Aiken
William Allen and Jenna Lane
Bernie and Pat Alter
Ms. Deborah T. Ambers
Kevin Anderson
Tonia and Scott Anderson
Ms. Ramona Arnett
Charles Bangert
Dr. James M Banoczi
Mr. Lou J. Bartolo and Mr. Tony Giarrusso
Elizabeth Bass
Alexandra Pocorobba
Rosemary Beattie
Valerie Bell
Danuta Boczar
Shaun Boedicker
Stanley Bonnette
Debroah Brammer
Mr and Mrs Peter Bray
Melissa and David Brewer
Dillon Brothers
Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Bryer
Janis Hoyle Buckstad
Mr. and Mrs. Jack W Burkart
Greg and Maria Burkhardt
Dr. Arthur Burnett
Bill and Nancy Calvert
Mr. Guy F. Campbell and Mrs. Lucie Campbell
Ms. Kathleen Carey
Julia Casazza
Jamie Caswell
Brian and Allayne Chappelle
Jon and RuthAnn Clark
Dorothy W Cooper
K.K. Copa
Ms. Doris A. Criswell
Daniel Curran & Stephanie Steele
Philip and Joan Currie
Brady Daniels
Bruce and Melissa Dell
Kathi and Michael Driggs
John Driscoll
Sage and Sally Eastman
Lynn Eiseman
Joan Eisenstodt and Joel Levy
The Erickson Family
Melissa Estes
Sidney Finks
Brett and Sandra Flier
Mr. L.J. Flood and Mrs. P.L. Flood
Thomas Fontana in memory of Sagan Lewis
Kristin Fox-Siegmund
Mr. Lawrence Franks and Ms. Ellen S. Berelson
Ms. Barbara Fugate and Mr. Kazuo Yaginuma
Ambassador and Mrs. James I. Gadsden
Ms. Ana I Garcia
Erin Germany & Edward Meyers
Carole Cattaneo Gori
Grammer Family
Robert Gramss
Caroline Ferris Hall
John B. and Nancy E. Handy
Lisa & Ron Hayes
Rebecca Heaney
Robert E. Hebda
Jim and Judy Herceg
Sarah and Nathan Hewitt
Bill “Iceman” Hoffman
Christian Hogan
Mr. Frank Holinaty
Mr. Joseph R. Hradisky and Mr. Mark A. Tecco
Sharon Jacobs
Dr. and Mrs. Jacquot
Stephen and Deborah Jencks
Ashley Jones
West Kasper
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence E. Keener-Farley
Kathy and Mike Kelly
Tyler and Chelsea Kennedy
Ms. Sylvia Kihara
Kathleen Knepper
Dana and Ray Koch
Ms. Deborah Koth
Lauren Lamb
William Lammers & Debbie Jackson
Charles and Jodi Lankford
Joe and Libby Lawler
John Little
Maria L. Dorta-Duque
Kellen M. MacBeth
Janet & Steven Magel
Rebecca and David Mandel
Andrea Marrical
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Mason
Linda Mason and Paul Haspel
Rich Matheson
Mr. Kent Maxfield
Lady Elizabeth McDonald
Thomas J. McGonigle
Robert McMahon
Nancy and John Mengel
Lt. Col. Thomas R. Miller, USAF (Ret)
David and Nicole Mitchell
Fred Moacdieh and Carolyn Janus
Mr. Jeff Montague
Mr. Michael E. Mulville
Damian Murphy
Zell Murphy and Mark Wasson
Stanley Myles
Carl & Undine Nash
Christina Neal
Jonathan ONeill
Jane D. Pacelli
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Parker
Kelley and Rand Paul
Stan Peabody
Arlene and Frank Pietranton
Elaine and Michael Prendergast
Anonymous
Mr. and Mrs. LeBrodes Randall
Melissa Randol and Tom Crawford
Dorothy Richardson
Frank Rinaldi
Ms. Lisa Robrahn
Ms. Harriet Rogers
Happy Birthday Otis!
Tonya and Abe Saffer
Alan and Florence Salisbury
Alan J. Savada and Will Stevenson
COL Bobby and Kristi Saxon
David J. Saylor
Bryan and Carol Schnetter
Ms. Lois Schutte
Al Scott
Fran Sdao
Josh and Kim Shaffer
Susan Shallcross
Larry Shaw
Mr. and Mrs. William L. Sizemore
Michael R. Smith and Holly A. Larisch
Cheryl Spohnholtz
Mr. Robert Stanga
Bob and Charlotte Stevenson
Tim & Rhonda Stiles
Lee and Barbara Strange
Suzanne Sullivan
Norman S. Sutherland
Mr. James M. Sweeney
LTC (Ret) Frank Tedeschi
Robert and Wendy Thomas
Mr. Gilberto Varela
Daniel, Monique and Lauren Vigil
Donna & Xavier Villarreal
Amanda and Corey Vitello
Drs. Jill Waalen and Douglas Schulz
John Wheeler
Keith K Whipple
Hon. Robert Wilkins and family
Richard T Willing

Foundation and Government

Ford’s Theatre is grateful for the support of these organizations that allows us to pursue our mission and provide a high-quality cultural experience.

Ford’s Theatre gratefully acknowledges these corporations, foundations and government entities for their generous support. The list below includes gifts received from from January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022.

See Full List

 

$50,000 and Above
D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities
D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
The Hearst Foundations
Institute of Museum and Library Services
National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program/U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
National Park Service
Share Fund
The Shubert Foundation, Inc.

$10,000 – $49,999
Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation
Dr. Scholl Foundation
The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
The Smart Family Fund

$1,000 – $9,999
Dimick Foundation
The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation
Mars Foundation

Corporate Donors

Since its inception in 1970 by The Honorable C. William Verity, Jr., the Board of Governors has celebrated the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln and supported the exploration of the American experience through theatre and education. Today, the Board of Governors comprises corporations and associations who support and advance the mission of Ford’s Theatre through a variety of activities, including production underwriting, education program underwriting and general operating support.