Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest

At Monticello he was President. At Poplar Forest he was himself.

aka Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest   |   Forest, VA   |

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Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest

EIN: 54-1258296


Our Mission is… To preserve, inspire, and tell the emerging story of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest o Preserve Thomas Jefferson’s personal retreat and plantation o Inspire exploration of his legacy o Tell the stories of the free and enslaved people who lived and worked at Poplar Forest

Ruling year info



Mrs. Alyson M. Ramsey

Main address

P.O. Box 419

Forest, VA 24551 USA

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Subject area info

History museums

Historic preservation

Population served info

Children and youth


NTEE code info

History Museums (A54)

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?

General Tours

Poplar Forest is open daily from March 15 through December 30 (closed on Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission includes a docent-guided house tour (as available) and self-guided exploration of exhibits in the lower level of the house, the Wing of Offices, the 1857 Slave Dwelling, the ornamental grounds, and the slave quarter site. Guided tours of the octagonal house are offered throughout the day. Enslaved community talks are available on most Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from April through October and are free with regular admission. Poplar Forest is also open for Winter Weekends from mid-January through mid-March from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

With over 35 hands-on activities, this program brings history "alive" for children, allowing them to experience what living in Jefferson's time was like. Children can hand-mold bricks, write with a quill pen, make a bucket, and sift through soil to find artifacts. The half-day program (which includes a tour of the retreat and archaeological site) is geared toward students in kindergarten through middle school and serves schools throughout Virginia and beyond. The State Education Department grants recertification credit to area teachers who volunteer with us and work with the visiting school children.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

We offer a field school for postsecondary education students. This six-week field school on historical archaeology includes instruction and in-depth exposure to field and laboratory techniques offered with a graduate credit option.

Population(s) Served

Conversations with Jefferson bring together Thomas Jefferson with another historical figure for a public discussion open to all ages. The two recount their lives, how they became well-known figures, and how their views about different topics are similar or different. Past guests include George Washington, Patrick Henry, Alexander Hamilton, King George III, and Frederick Douglass. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by renowned interpreter Bill Barker, courtesy of Monticello (Thomas Jefferson Foundation). Barker has been Poplar Forest’s Jefferson since the beginning of the Democracy programs and is certainly no stranger to Poplar Forest student and adult audiences. He has performed as Jefferson for more than 30 years, appearing at the White House and the Palace of Versailles as well as in programs aired on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and C-SPAN.

Population(s) Served

Join the Poplar Forest African American Advisory Group for an interactive experience designed to help you explore your family’s African American history. Hear stories about exploring ancestry and learn about research methods, tools, ideas, and strategies for tracing the lineage of your enslaved ancestors.

Admission to African American Family History Day is free, however, reservations are required.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Drawn from real-life experiences, the trilogy explores the complex lives lived by the enslaved men and women of Poplar Forest. Written by local African American playwright, Teresa Harris, each year features new vignettes highlighting the enslaved people who lived and worked at Poplar Forest.
Past performances include stories of Hannah and her son Billy, who pushed back on the system of enslavement; Nace Hubbard, who had to some degree, learned how to make the system of slavery work more favorably for him, but faced opposition from his fellow slaves; and Phil Hubbard, who appealed directly to Thomas Jefferson in his struggle to maintain his rights to live under the same roof as his wife.

A Q & A with the playwright, actors and representatives of the Poplar Forest Department of Archaeology and Landscapes will follow the last vignette.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

Poplar Forest celebrates American independence with two great events. We kick off our celebration with an annual production of 1776 the Musical. With music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone, the musical explores the contentious summer of 1776 while John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson work to create and pass a Declaration of Independence from England.
And on July 4th itself, take part in the Poplar Forest tradition as we celebrate Independence Day with a fair. Join historic reenactors who perform music, entertain the crowds with puppet shows and tight rope walking, and join the militia to fight for independence! A reading of the Declaration of Independence at 1:30 p.m. caps the day with a remembrance of why we celebrate.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Poplar Forest partners with the Jamerson YMCA for this annual 5K race through the Poplar Forest property with approximately 15 obstacles for runners to test their mettle on! And for the younger runners: a children’s course so everyone can participate in the fun. The competition is open to families and teams of all ages. Face the Forest entry fees support children’s educational programming at Poplar Forest and the Y’s annual campaign, which provides outreach, financial assistance, youth, and family programming and many other resources within the community.

Population(s) Served

Join Poplar Forest in celebrating Jefferson’s legacy as the father of Virginia wine with tastings from more than a dozen regional wineries. Enjoy live performances by local musicians; graze on foods by local vendors; and more. Tour the president’s private retreat at a reduced rate throughout the day. Purchase a VIP ticket for the ultimate wine tasting experience: enjoy space in a private VIP tent featuring wine tastings and hors d’eouvres plus a private conversation with Mr. Jefferson himself! Funds raised support the ongoing restoration, preservation, and interpretation of the historic property.

Population(s) Served

Tour Mr. Jefferson’s cherished hideaway decorated for the holidays on these hour-long tours. Step into Christmas past and experience the villa by candlelight while your guide shares true stories gathered from Jefferson’s letters and diaries, about the ways the Jefferson family and their enslaved workers spent the holidays. Find out what foods they may have enjoyed at their holiday meals and how they were prepared in the restored Jefferson-era kitchen.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of visitors (tours, programs, and events)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

General Tours

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Number of website sessions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

PRESERVATION - Complete the restoration of the house, start restoring or recreating other sites on the property, and begin implementing the plan for the plantation landscape.
NATIONAL VISIBILITY AND IMPACT - Expand Poplar Forest’s visibility, scholarship, and visitation as we approach the 250th anniversary.
A PLACE FOR THE COMMUNITY - Engage a broader segment of the community near and far.
UNDERSTANDING AND INCLUSION - Increase opportunities for presentation, discussion, and understanding of a variety of diverse perspectives.
STRENGTHEN OUR ORGANIZATION - Grow our financial base and endowment to support expanded programs, increased staffing, and improved facilities.

Prioritize future archaeological research and restoration/reconstruction projects based on visitor and community impact, preservation needs, and availability of funding sources.

The coordinated efforts of the Poplar Forest staff and our Board of Directors will lead the plan to accomplish our preservation goals.

Our Restoration Department has reviewed the necessary stabilization steps for several buildings and areas on the grounds.


Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.53 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 9.6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 11% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $429,707 -$118,443 -$203,912 $273,917 $677,429
As % of expenses 23.9% -6.4% -11.0% 18.7% 43.6%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $214,104 -$361,483 -$455,611 $29,033 $452,879
As % of expenses 10.6% -17.2% -21.7% 1.7% 25.4%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $2,361,355 $1,686,551 $2,204,537 $1,960,718 $2,957,319
Total revenue, % change over prior year 9.2% -28.6% 30.7% -11.1% 50.8%
Program services revenue 11.6% 16.7% 14.6% 5.6% 10.5%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 1.3% 2.4% 3.5% 3.1% 2.3%
Government grants 0.9% 3.0% 2.6% 13.2% 8.2%
All other grants and contributions 81.1% 68.5% 72.6% 67.5% 68.8%
Other revenue 5.1% 9.4% 6.6% 10.6% 10.3%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $1,797,761 $1,861,841 $1,850,824 $1,462,119 $1,555,421
Total expenses, % change over prior year -8.7% 3.6% -0.6% -21.0% 6.4%
Personnel 8.2% 7.4% 11.8% 15.4% 15.6%
Professional fees 0.8% 0.9% 0.9% 1.1% 1.3%
Occupancy 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Interest 0.0% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 90.9% 91.4% 87.3% 83.5% 83.1%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total expenses (after depreciation) $2,013,364 $2,104,881 $2,102,523 $1,707,003 $1,779,971
One month of savings $149,813 $155,153 $154,235 $121,843 $129,618
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $27,591 $279,061
Fixed asset additions $0 $247,057 $0 $0 $3,067,611
Total full costs (estimated) $2,163,177 $2,507,091 $2,256,758 $1,856,437 $5,256,261

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Months of cash 12.0 16.0 7.1 25.6 11.6
Months of cash and investments 23.0 25.1 29.6 40.4 26.5
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 15.9 14.9 13.2 17.3 -4.3
Balance sheet composition info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Cash $1,797,912 $2,485,132 $1,096,548 $3,118,066 $1,498,288
Investments $1,648,348 $1,410,652 $3,471,296 $1,805,834 $1,934,159
Receivables $1,709,853 $984,431 $886,832 $953,851 $654,739
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $16,887,477 $17,158,386 $17,453,439 $17,691,997 $20,819,705
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 28.7% 29.8% 31.1% 32.4% 28.9%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 10.3% 12.2% 12.9% 12.9% 11.3%
Unrestricted net assets $12,718,508 $12,357,025 $11,901,414 $11,930,447 $12,383,326
Temporarily restricted net assets $2,877,676 $2,685,171 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $157,593 $157,593 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $3,035,269 $2,842,764 $3,657,493 $3,999,644 $4,740,552
Total net assets $15,753,777 $15,199,789 $15,558,907 $15,930,091 $17,123,878

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization


Mrs. Alyson M. Ramsey

Ramsey initially joined the Poplar Forest professional staff in 2002 and has served as the Director of Development since 2012. She is well versed in nonprofit fundraising and administration, and has a background in capital campaign management; annual fund development, major gift solicitation and grant writing; donor cultivation and stewardship; and event management and budgeting. She recently orchestrated and implemented A New Path to Jefferson capital campaign that successfully exceeded the organization’s fundraising goals. Ramsey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Historic Preservation and Art History from the University of Mary Washington, and a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia and earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation in February 2018.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Board of directors
as of 07/11/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Francis B. Teague, III

Selwyn Property Group

Term: 2023 - 2026

J. Frederick Armstrong


Kathryn Pumphrey

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Francis "Jensie" Teague

Selwyn Property Group

Catherine "Tappy" Lynn

Art Historian

Dennis Dutterer

Retired Financial Executive

Christian Wayt

Community Volunteer

Wendy Tackett

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Stephen Watts

McGuireWoods LLP

John Constance

Retired Director of Government Relations & Public Affairs

Boyce Brannock

Timberlake Smith

Remmel T. Dickinson

Big Rock Productions, LLC

Teresa Harris

Randolph College

Heidi James

Civic Leader

Justin McCarthy

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Kelvin Moore

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Michael C. Quinn

Museum of the American Revolution

Amy G. Ray

Retired CPA, Brown Edwards and Company L.L.P

Michael J. Schewel

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William W. Semones

Retired Vice President, Centra Health

Sterling A. Wilder

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Henry Clarke

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Benjiman Marchi

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Gayle Jessup White


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? Yes
  • 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 6/29/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data


Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser