­February 2011

Dear Friends,

Before retiree Dave from Wisconsin left for a big road trip he prudently called the toll-free number to tell his credit card company, “We’re going to New York, Canada, Florida, and the last week of the month we’ll be in a place called Brasstown, North Carolina.”

“Sweet,” said the anonymous call center, “gonna make you a dulcimer?”

Hello from a place totally famous to those of us who know us.

The Folk School’s a great place to learn, and it’s famous because it can transform us in huge and small ways: relieving our stress, restoring our perspective, keeping minds sharp with the edge of discovery, changing our sense of the passage of time, and allowing us to focus intently on what would be a trifle if it were not in the service of creation.  Laughter is rediscovered, relationships are affirmed, new friendships are made, life mates are found.  And that’s just before breakfast.

In eighty-five years, the Folk School has found its own traditions and practices—it does not fit models of other schools or organizations.  Alas, not everyone understands us, so it’s great when someone—especially the Windgate Foundation—“gets it.”  Windgate Foundation will grant us $250,000 on the condition that it be matched.  Part of this match has already come from other hip and wise foundations like Lyndhurst and Cannon and from great families like the Coolidges, kinfolks of Olive Dame Campbell.

This is where you come in.  If you make a donation now to match the Windgate challenge, the value of your gift is doubled, and the Folk School gets Two-Dollars-for-One. Here’s what we will do with your money and theirs:

  • Restore and adapt the historic Hill House.  With its broad views toward Chunky Gal Mountain, it will have five student rooms with baths. The living room, where generations of makers and musicians have gathered, will again draw students to its fireplace.  Comfortable and energy efficient, it will still look and feel like the European-inspired stone and timber house designed by the Belgian Leon Deschamps and built by Folk School volunteers in the 1930s.
  • Let the sun shine in.  The Folk School’s buildings face south across big fields.  In a major step toward efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint, we will install solar water systems on Olive Dame Campbell Dining Hall, Maintenance & Housekeeping, Orchard House, Mill House, Keith House, Hubble House, Log House and Davidson Hall.

I have been writing these letters for 18 years, and many of you have been with me all the way. I have never known an opportunity like this:  if you can give or pledge right now to the Folk School, your dollars will be doubled.

In Brasstown we know there are three kinds of people: those who can count and those who can’t.

Counting on you.



Jan Davidson
About Jan Davidson