WASHINGTON, July 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Every year nearly 2.5 million people visit the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC, dedicated in 1997 to pay tribute to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Visitors now experience a seamlessly constructed memorial; however, representation of FDR's disability was not included in the initial design. The first room – Prologue – was not added until four years after the initial opening of the Memorial.
"My wife Lulie and I and the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation are supporting the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee to ensure that the full and accurate story of the FDR Memorial, including FDR's disability, be told today and preserved for tomorrow," said Gordon Gund, Chairman and CEO of Gund Investment Corp. "Disability advocates like my dear friend Mike Deland fought too hard to ensure that this story would not be forgotten." In August 2019, the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation offered a 2-year matching challenge pledge to the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee (FDR Committee) of $210,000. The FDR Committee met the first goal of raising $100,000 by May 2020 through contributions large and small and received the matching funds from the Foundation. The remaining $110,000 must be raised by July 31, 2021, to receive the additional match.
The FDR Committee has prioritized the development of an educational program, starting with the campaign by the disability community to add the depiction of FDR in a wheelchair and the impact of disability on FDR's leadership. "As we near the 30th anniversary of the ADA this year and the 20th anniversary of the FDR wheelchair statue in January 2021, it is long overdue that the story of the disability community's leadership gets told," commented Mary Dolan, Executive Director, FDR Committee.
With the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation commitment and other donations, the FDR Committee has:
- Established a powerful advisory committee comprised of disability leaders and allies.
- Secured the repair of the plaque commemorating the dedication of the wheelchair statue.
- Initiated the documentation of the campaign to include the wheelchair statue at the Memorial.
- Launched an initial website with phase two coming this summer.
The mission of the FDR Committee is to promote FDR's and Eleanor Roosevelt's legacy of leadership as celebrated at the FDR Memorial in Washington DC.
SOURCE FDR Memorial Legacy Committee