Witness Stones Project

Guilford, CT   |  https://witnessstonesproject.org/

Mission

Through research, education, and civic engagement, the Witness Stones Project, Inc., seeks to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities.

Ruling year info

2019

Executive Director

Dennis J Culliton M.A.T., C.A.G.S.

Chair of the Board of Directors

Patricia Wilson Pheanious J.D., M.S.W

Main address

PO Box 250

Guilford, CT 06437 USA

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EIN

84-2675796

NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Witness Stones Project

The Project provides research assistance, teacher development, and curriculum support to help middle and high school students study the history of slavery in their own communities. The students explore the lives of enslaved individuals through primary source documents, including account books, wills, probate inventories, church and town records, indenture contracts, manumission deeds, obituaries, and other surviving archival material.

Students learn to describe the dehumanization and paternalism of slavery; its economic and legal framework; and the agency, resistance, and contributions of the enslaved. The students then create biographical sketches of the forgotten enslaved men, women, and children and share those stories through many mediums, including art, poetry, essays, and films.

Finally, the students bring their communities together to place Witness Stones: permanent brass markers that memorialize enslaved individuals where they lived, worked, or worshipped.

Population(s) Served
Children
Adolescents
Adults

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Connecticut League of History Associations 2021

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our mission is to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities.

We do this work through teacher workshops, engagement with students and the larger community, and, finally, memorializing enslaved individuals through the installation of Witness Stones.

Our hope is that the students’ work and the public memorials inspire communities to learn their true history, dismantle current inequities, and build a just future.

The Project’s Board of Directors has approved a 2021-2024 Strategic Plan which includes three
primary objectives:

1. To expand the number of schools and standardize the curriculum to reach a broader group of students by age, geography, and racial composition.

2. To strengthen communications and increase network engagement for schools and research affiliates.

3. To build organizational capacity to scale and meet the demand for our programs.

The Witness Stones Project began in Guilford, Connecticut, in 2017. In that first year 275 students in one school participated. By the end of the 2021-22 school year the Project will have reacher more than 8,000 students in 32 communities. We serve urban, suburban, and rural communities. During fiscal year 2021, 82% of our revenue came directly from affiliated schools and historic institutions. Donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations contributed a critical 18% of our resources. These donations allow us to reach an audience whose demographics more closely align with the areas we serve.

Financials

Witness Stones Project

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Witness Stones Project

Board of directors
as of 2/16/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Patricia Wilson Pheanious

Rita Coté

Lauren Cutili

Sylvia Gafford-Alexander

Courtney Murphy

BNY Mellon

Grace Zimmer

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/07/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/07/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.