• Mar - 15 - 2022


Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation Gifts Another $200,000 for Committee to Accomplish Significant Goals

WASHINGTON, DC (March 15, 2022) – The FDR Memorial Legacy Committee is pleased to announce their first matching gift challenge pledge of 2022—a two year $200,000 pledge from the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation.  This matching pledge from the Gund Foundation comes on the heels of the successful $210,000 match campaign, also from the Gund Foundation, from 2019 to 2021.

The FDR Memorial Legacy Committee is a citizen led organization with the mission to promote education about the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC, improve inclusion and accessibility so all visitors can experience the Memorial and preserve the Memorial for future generations. The organization, borne out of the successful disability led campaign in the 1990s for disability representation at the Memorial, is committed to sharing the diverse perspectives of the Roosevelt era and that era's legacy today.

Mr. Gund’s interest in the FDR Memorial came from his lifelong friendship with the late Michael R. Deland who from 1995-2001 led the fight for inclusion to add a statue of FDR in a wheelchair to the FDR Memorial. Mr. Deland solidified the effort by leading the fundraising campaign to complete the Prologue Room in which the statue is now housed at the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC. 

“I am proud to support the only organization that is dedicated to ensuring that all narratives of the FDR Memorial are documented and preserved,” said Gordon Gund, Trustee of the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation. “The underrepresented stories of our nation’s memorials are extremely important as we have seen with the fight by the disability community to ensure FDR’s disability was included in perpetuity.”

Each year over three million people visit the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC. It was dedicated in 1997 to pay tribute to our longest serving, President 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 – which holds the statue of FDR in a wheelchair by famed sculptor and artist Robert Graham and a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt - was added four years after the initial opening of the Memorial.

With the contributions from the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation, which includes $50,000 to fund the 25th anniversary celebrations for the FDR Memorial on May 10-11, 2022,  the FDR Committee prioritized the development of an educational program, starting with the campaign led by the disability community to add the depiction of FDR in a wheelchair and the impact of disability on FDR's leadership. To date, eight educational events have hosted over 300 participants.  A teacher professional development workshop has been developed in partnership with the University of the District of Columbia and launched in summer 2021.  Lesson plans for use by teachers grades K-12 have been developed focused on the disability history of the Memorial and FDR.  On July 25, 2021, a ceremonial wreath-laying was held at the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC, in honor of the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with guest speakers Senator Tammy Duckworth and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton as featured speakers.

The FDR Committee continues to press for full inclusion at the FDR Memorial and long-overdue accessibility improvements. In May 2021, the FDR Committee released a report by Dr. Cheryl Fogle-Hatch, founder of MuseumSenses, that outlines the deficiencies ranging from the lack of access for blind and low vision visitors that has been a topic of conversation since 1997 to the safety concerns with removable stanchions around the fountains.  The FDR Committee is pleased to note that the National Park Service has added an audio tour and is developing other accessibility features in response to the report.

“On behalf of the FDR Committee, we are incredibly grateful to the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation for their continued belief in our mission and work,” said Mary E Dolan, co-founder and executive director, FDR Memorial Legacy Committee.

A complete list of donors can be found at