News & Events

Check back for Updates on our News & Events


The Jeffris Foundation featured in Traditional Building magazine

Posted by on Oct 23, 2017 in JFF Blog, News | Comments Off on The Jeffris Foundation featured in Traditional Building magazine

The Jeffris Foundation featured in Traditional Building magazine

The Jeffris Foundation is thrilled to have been profiled in the October 2017 issue of Traditional Building magazine.

An excerpt from the story:

Advertising is fond of the phrase “Looks small, thinks big” as a tagline for high-tech products that are as powerful as they are compact, but it might apply equally well to philanthropic organizations like the Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, WI. Though overshadowed by the Goliaths of the giving world, and with a tightly focused mandate, it nonetheless stands tall in supporting historic preservation projects that are under-the-radar, but with outsized impact.

As Thomas M. Jeffris, President, explains, the Foundation was established in 1979 by his parents, Bruce and Eleanor, and Jeffris himself with some down-home goals. “The family felt that it wanted to improve the quality of life of the people of Wisconsin, and through preservation projects in smaller communities because, obviously, these don’t have the financial means of the big communities.”

Read the full article on the Traditional Building website

View the article as it appeared in print (PDF)

Restoration of Historic Eleutherian College

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in Events, News | Comments Off on Restoration of Historic Eleutherian College

When the Board of Historic Eleutherian College was awarded a challenge grant by the Jeffris Family Foundation, we were delighted and thrilled with the opportunity. What surprised us was the impact that a challenge grant from an organization outside of the state had in our local community. We immediately received publicity in the local newspaper that resulted in a check arriving in the mail three days later from a man who had seen the article and had never contributed before.  I received phone calls from people congratulating us on the grant and had people who saw the article stop me on the street and comment about it. But as welcome as the publicity was, the challenge grant made it much easier to receive matching grants from the Madison and Jefferson County Community Foundation and the Jefferson County (Indiana) Commission.  Leadership of both organizations cited the challenge grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation as an important factor in their decision to help fund our project. We had anticipated needing several years to raise the matching funds, but the challenge from the Jeffris Family Foundation was definitely a stimulus that resulted in our raising and exceeding the matching amount within six months.

Larry DeBuhr, Vice-President of the Board
Historic Eleutherian College, Inc.
Madison, Indiana


Restoration of the Fountain of The Pioneers

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in Events, News | Comments Off on Restoration of the Fountain of The Pioneers

Dear Tom,

As the result of a gift of $100,000 received on January 27th to help us restore the Fountain of The Pioneers, I’m happy to tell you that we believe we’ve met and exceeded the Jeffris Family Foundation’s required match amount of $166,000!  (Yippee!)  (This seems like a really good thing — especially after we told you several months ago that we were putting active fundraising on hiatus until after April!)

The donor is a very well-known local person who has also agreed to serve on our Honorary Campaign Committee — and I know you understand how important this is as well.  (Our thanks to Jodi for her help on this gift and commitment.)

We know we must supply you and your legal staff with documents substantiating that these gifts meet the Foundation’s requirements, and are pulling these together for remittal to you very soon.

Tom, we cannot thank you enough for your challenge grant.  Your early support of the project is exactly what we needed to get this gift and others, and it will continue to provide impetus for the additional gifts and grants that will follow.

Very sincerely, Pam O’Connor
Fountain of The Pioneers Restoration Committee
Kalamazoo, MI

Challenge Grant Benefits!

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Events, News | Comments Off on Challenge Grant Benefits!

Thanks to your generosity and vision, we were able to take this project out into the community and secure the funds (in what I think was an astonishingly short time) needed to complete the restoration. It is exciting to me that the funds that were contributed came from all across Indiana and from thirteen different states. In an effort at full disclosure, I know I must have initially sighed and wished that the Jeffris Family Foundation had simply written us a check for the full amount. I now believe that would have been a mistake for the project. In at least five ways, the challenge grant benefitted our agency.

  1. By issuing the challenge grant, we were able to take our project to our existing constituents and also build a base of new supporters. The fact that we had significant support from beyond our immediate environs is proof that we were able to make a case to a larger audience. We had a targeted donor base, but almost from coast to coast individuals generously stepped up to contribute who were not on our immediate radar.
  2. The challenge from an agency outside of Indiana also raised awareness of the importance of the project. On a number of occasions we were able to visit with local donors and state that this project had raised the enthusiasm of a major donor from Wisconsin! In doing this, the significance of this building in their backyards was elevated. Local donors saw the Study in a new and fresh light.
  3. This challenge grant also allowed us to visit with major local gifting sources with the concept that with their gift, every dollar contributed assured a matching contribution. It was not long before we could tell donors that thanks to the challenge grant, each gift was matched dollar for dollar—this proved to be a great incentive.
  4. Thanks to the challenge grant, we now have donors that have a vested interest in the Study and museum. We have kept them informed about our progress along the way and they are increasingly engaged by their personal relationship with the project, Lew Wallace and the Staff here at the museum. As we move forward with other projects, I believe these individuals will be future supporters at a meaningful level.
  5. The challenge grant allowed us an opportunity to market the museum as a tourist destination. We have had something new and unusual to talk about in our social media, on our website and in the community. It has not only brought visitors—it has almost assured repeat visitors who are anxious to see the finished project.


Larry Paarlberg, Executive Director

Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society
Crawfordsville, Indiana

Grouseland Foundation, Inc. receives grant to prepare a Historic Structure Report – Vincennes, Indiana

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Events, News | Comments Off on Grouseland Foundation, Inc. receives grant to prepare a Historic Structure Report – Vincennes, Indiana

Grouseland Foundation is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of nearly $32,000.00 from the Jeffris Family Foundation to fund 50% of the estimated cost of an Historic Structure Report (HSR).  These reports provide a roadmap for restoration and preservation of historic properties.  The Grouseland Foundation has selected one of the nation’s leading historical architectural firms, Mesick, Cohen, Wilson and Baker, from Albany, New York and Williamsburg, Virginia to conduct the study.

Grouseland is grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Jeffris Family Foundation because they are committed to the Midwest’s cultural history and heritage by preserving regionally and nationally important historic buildings.   Jeffris Family Foundation funds preservation projects in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin through a competitive application process. Foundation President, Thomas M. Jeffris, stated, “We are excited about the restoration of Grouseland and its national significance.”

Grouseland Foundation President, Jim Corridan, explains, “The support of the Jeffris Foundation is helping us preserve Grouseland for future generations and the HSR will guide decisions not only in caring for the property but also our interpretation to visitors.” “Through the years Grouseland has collected elements of an HSR, but it had never been compiled into a cohesive document required by key funders for major restoration projects.” “We committed $17,000.00 prior to getting the award from the Jeffris Foundation and will have six months to raise the additional $15,000.00 required  for our portion of the match.”

Executive Director, Lisa Ice-Jones is hoping the community will see the importance of this study and how it will set the direction for which projects are of greatest priority.  “We are doing exciting things here at Grouseland and are seeing interest in Presidential history increase.  Our admissions are on the rise and we are starting to develop some properties surrounding Grouseland to show the visitor more of what frontier life was like while Harrison was Governor in Vincennes. ”  “There is still much curiosity about this military hero and 9th President of the U.S. and we believe that anything we do to attract visitors to Grouseland benefits the whole community.”

If you would like to make a tax deductible contribution to Grouseland, please mail to 3 W. Scott Street, Vincennes, Indiana, or use our secure Paypal account on our website: For more information or questions, you may call the mansion at (812)882-2096.

Black Hawk Statue in Oregon, IL

Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Events, News | Comments Off on Black Hawk Statue in Oregon, IL

The slightly mournful face of what some might consider Illinois’ Statue of Liberty has weathered its 102 years remarkably well. It’s a focal point of The Eternal Indian, a 50-foot statue that towers over the Rock River about 100 miles west of Chicago near Oregon, Ill.

But the body is so deteriorated that a flip of the finger can loosen chunks of its concrete surface. Deep cracks and gaping pockmarks spread throughout the statue.

Now, as winter looms, Frank and Charron Rausa have less concern about whether the beloved figure is eternal. They simply want it to last until spring. Then they will launch a critical $700,000 restoration of the statue, which is widely known by the name of the Native American chief Black Hawk and has drawn the support of a certain National Hockey League organization.

Read more about this story.

Al. Ringling Theatre Progress

Posted by on Oct 7, 2013 in Events, News | Comments Off on Al. Ringling Theatre Progress

This month contractors put the finishing touches on a new roof over the auditorium at the historic Al. Ringling Theatre, a project that began a year ago.

Click here to read more.

September 6, 2013 – Lew Wallace Study Campaign Article (Crawfordsville, IN)

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 in Events, News | Comments Off on September 6, 2013 – Lew Wallace Study Campaign Article (Crawfordsville, IN)


The Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society announces early success to the ongoing Making a Historic Difference Campaign.

The campaign was launched earlier this year to match a challenge grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation.

In the summer of 2012, the Jeffris Family Foundation of Wisconsin awarded the Lew Wallace Study a $100,000 grant with the challenge that the Study raise $200,000. In the past year, more than $125,000 of the $200,000 needed has been raised.

Read more…