by Claudia R. Brown, VAF Treasurer
In these uncertain times, the Vernacular Architecture Forum is fortunate to have the continued support of a remarkably generous donor. Since 2011, this benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has bestowed $100,000 annually to the VAF. In the midst of postponing our 2020 conference last month, a check in the amount of $100,000 arrived in my mailbox, bringing our anonymous benefactor’s support of the VAF to $1 million. The timing of this gift could not have been better as we did not know then if we were going to lose tens of thousands of dollars in deposits for buses, venues, and vendors reserved for the 2020 conference or if the deposits could be held for the postponement of the San Antonio conference to 2021. (As of this writing, almost all of these businesses have agreed to accommodate us and we expect a positive response from the others.)
Our anonymous benefactor’s generosity enabled the VAF to establish an endowment that has remained healthy over many years. Even today, as the stock market has plummeted, our endowment has held up very well due to wise investments and today is down only about 8% form its peak in February, performing very favorably in light of the declines of the Dow and S&P 500. The latest gift will support the creation of an emergency fund as a bulwark against future crises and the balance appropriately and conservatively invested.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our anonymous donor, whoever he or she may be for helping VAF continue our work today and plan for a bright future.