Digest>Archives> September 2000

Your Legacy . . .

By Timothy Harrison


In America today, only about 1 in 4 taxpayers itemizes charitable deductions and only about 1 in 5 estates over $1 million contains charitable bequests. Apparently, American’s love the federal government more than they love their family, friends and favorite causes.

If you are reading this, then most likely one of your favorite causes is lighthouses.

Now, more than ever before in the history of our country, lighthouses need your financial help. When I say that time is running out, I mean it. All you need to do is look at the Doomsday List of endangered lighthouses. And quite frankly, there are many more lighthouses that are now on the verge of being added to that list, and many more that within a few years will probably have to be included, plus many others that need constant care.

When I read in the paper or hear on the evening news about some actor or wealthy businessperson donating millions to some charity, I think that’s great—that’s wonderful. However, it’s too bad they didn’t think about giving just a small portion of that money to helping save a lighthouse or two. Today, there are more wealthy Americans than there have ever been. However, with wealth comes social responsibility. What these people need to remember is — they are still only temporary custodians of that money. As the old saying goes, “They can’t take it to the grave with them,” but they can leave a legacy. One time donations, monthly donations, and bequests can be your legacy to the past and your legacy to the future. A legacy that will be appreciated from generation to generation.

Americans have always been a giving people. They always reach in their pockets to help good household name causes like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, American Cancer Society, America Lung Association, March of Dimes and of course other local and regional worthy causes. However, the fact is - most Americans have never donated to a lighthouse cause. That’s unfortunate.

The Bible says, “Tear not down, what thy fathers have built.” America’s lighthouses are among the oldest standing buildings in America, yet many are in danger of being lost. The history of the men and women who served at these lighthouses is a tremendous part of our history. They played a vital role in the development of our country, helping to make it the great nation it is today, their dedication must not be forgotten.

There are a number of lighthouse preservation groups around the country that are worthy of donations; however, because I happen to be President of the American Lighthouse Foundation, I am making this appeal on their behalf.

Currently the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF) has direct care of 14 lighthouses, more than any other non-profit group in the nation. The American Lighthouse Foundation is also attempting to help a number of other groups across the nation; keep lighthouse artifacts, historical documents, and historic photographs out of private ownership and in museums where they belong; locate lighthouse keepers’ gravesites that need to be restored; work for legislative process for lighthouse preservation; public relations projects to get the word out to the media, and much more. This is all being done with no paid employees — everyone is a volunteer.

Many of these restoration projects will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for each lighthouse.

The American Lighthouse Foundation needs your financial help now, more than ever before. With all the lighthouse restoration projects they are involved in, their restoration funds are nearly depleted.

Before it’s too late, will you help save America’s lighthouse history and heritage?

Time stops for no one, but with your financial help we can stop the loss of more of our nation’s maritime history.

Very truly yours,

Timothy Harrison

American Lighthouse Foundation

P.O. Box 889

Wells, Maine 04090

This story appeared in the September 2000 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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