President’s Blog: December 2015

Dear Friends,

It is the time of year for hanging garlands, tying bows and giving gifts.  As we bring our 20th anniversary year to a close, we hope to continue giving all the gifts that the legacy of James Stewart encompasses.  The gifts that the career and life of Mr. Stewart offer are standing the test of time.  Twenty years of continuous service to our public, in a time of museum and cultural institution closures, assures us of the importance and vitality of our mission.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on our 20th year and the blessings it has brought to us.  First and foremost is the continued support of our major benefactors, The Stewart Family and Ken and Carol Schultz.  Their gifts form the basis of our ability to continue, but they do not stand alone.  Like the scene from It’s a Wonderful Life, the importance and meaningfulness of our mission is made true when all of our friends and family come through the door, each giving what they are able, to keep something important and valuable thriving.  Like George and Mary Bailey, we need each of you to step up to that table and help.

In August, we celebrated “A Night to Remember.”  Actor Jim Caviezel joined us to accept our 2015 Harvey Award. The Stewart legacy becomes ever more buoyant, when through their generosity of time and spirit; people like Mr. Caviezel or Carol Burnett in 2014 lend their fame and influence in support of the cause we hold dear.  We proudly promote Stewart’s incomparable filmography that has and will continue to touch people across the globe.

Additionally, we use the roles and the persona of James Stewart to serve as touchstones in ethical development programming, primarily focused on our youth, who are so in need of these life lessons, but also for anyone, who has civility and humanity at heart.  These educational opportunities continue to grow and to be embraced.  This year, we were able to award two Character and Ethical Development grants to local schools to stimulate curriculum based on James Stewart.  This is where our future lies.

Furthermore, in the coming year we hope to develop a gallery devoted to the military accomplishments of Brigadier General Stewart.  A recent Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran shared with me the need he saw for returning servicemen to be able to see how we cherish the important mission Stewart committed himself to in service of his country.

In closing, our George Bailey Award, a special night with our local family, and new exhibits in our gallery honoring our hometown hero highlight the gifts Jimmy Stewart makes possible.

Please join us in this worthy endeavor.  Support this mission.  Come to that old hall table of George and Mary Bailey and send whatever you can.  With gift great or small, you will be helping to continue and enlarge the story of A Wonderful Life.

Timothy F. Harley, President of the Foundation