In 2020, we celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation—the organization founded by Wright himself to perpetuate his ideas of organic architecture. Our mission is to preserve his two homes and working facilities, Taliesin and Taliesin West, and to inspire society through an understanding and experience of his ideas, architecture, and design. His concept of organic architecture, inspired by nature, informed by beauty, and focused in purpose, continues to thrive because of the value it brings to our communities and our intentions for their futures.
The significance of this legacy was recognized by the inscription this year by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee of eight Wright buildings as works that “changed architecture on a global scale during the first half of the 20th century.” These included our Taliesin and Taliesin West campuses, where six of the eight inscribed sites were created, and which are the first UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites in Wisconsin and Arizona respectively.
We’ve focused on building an organization worthy of that legacy with the expertise needed across many fields. Recent developments include innovative efforts at preserving and restoring our buildings and collections, as well as new education programs on campus, in classrooms, and venues off site. These engage our community in new ways and make it possible for Taliesin and Taliesin West to function as the campuses that Wright intended.
With the development of our independent Board of Trustees and professional leadership, and the focused commitment of our resources to the mission of the Foundation, we are more accountable and transparent as an organization. This effort has been rewarded by the receipt of several competitive grants from national and regional agencies and foundations, as well as support from individuals around the world.
This annual report is intended to illustrate how we utilize our resources, including your financial support, to fulfill our mission as an organization. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Taliesin, and Taliesin West are more than historic architecture: they are vital parts of our national heritage and the identity of our local communities. The preservation and maintenance of our two world-renowned sites are complex undertakings that require considerable investments of resources, expertise, and forethought to insure their continued function as living campuses. Your ongoing support will help us to continue our preservation work and our ability to bring Wright’s legacy to future generations where it can create a better, more beautiful, and more sustainable world. We thank you for your generosity in support of this mission.
President & CEO
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
INSPIRE THE WORLD THROUGH BEAUTIFUL SPACES THAT ARE THOUGHTFULLY DESIGNED AND EXPERIENCED
PRESERVING TALIESIN AND TALIESIN WEST FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS, AND INSPIRING SOCIETY THROUGH AN UNDERSTANDING AND EXPERIENCE OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S IDEAS, ARCHITECTURE, AND DESIGN
Stuart I. Graff, President & CEO
Joy Hanson, Vice President of Finance and Administration & COO
Kevin Conley, Vice President of Public Engagement
Jeff Goodman, Vice President of Communication & Partnerships
Stephanie Pierotti, Vice President of Licensing
Fred Prozzillo, Vice President of Preservation
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Joel Benkie, Vice Chair, Coto de Caza, CA
Michael Desmond, Baton Rouge, LA
Mark Dreher, Tempe, AZ
David E. Gross, New York, NY
Catherine Lenhart, Bartlesville, OK
Heather Henricks Lenkin, Pasadena, CA
T.K. McClintock, Chair, Los Angeles, CA
Timothy Radden, Treasurer, Scottsdale, AZ
Seán Rush, Secretary, Weston, MA
Bob Skerker, Buffalo, NY
Diana M. Smith, Scottsdale, AZ
Anne Stupp, Paradise Valley, AZ
Christopher Thompson, Napa, CA
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation was founded by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1940 to perpetuate his principles of organic architecture. This has been achieved through many avenues, from operating an architecture firm derived from his own practice with Fellows and apprentices, to educational programs for children and adults, public lectures, and tours of Taliesin and Taliesin West that have inspired millions of visitors for multiple generations.
The Foundation established an independent Board of Trustees in 2008 to provide oversight and fiduciary management over the Foundation’s work and its resources. In 2016, the Foundation brought in new leadership with solutions-focused experience from the business world to direct a fresh strategy that would facilitate our mission and create a path for financial sustainability.
VOLUNTEER HOURS PROVIDED
The Foundation is deeply rooted in its rich history and in the communities we serve. Our team is made up of experts in their fields who lead a passionate, knowledgeable, and long-serving staff. Our Trustees and staff are committed to preserving and advancing the legacy of America’s greatest architect whose ideas are more relevant to our lives than
In July of 2019, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee voted to inscribe eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings across the U.S., including both Taliesin and Taliesin West, on the World Heritage List as works of “cultural and/or natural significance which [are] so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.”
“It is incredible to have the opportunity to present some of the most meaningful theatre pieces in such a remarkable place that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site … We simply could not afford to bring these special performances to the Arizona community without the partnership and support of our wonderful friends at Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home.”
SERVING OUR COMMUNITIES
Just a few years ago, the Foundation’s youth education programs were placed on hiatus—they didn’t meet the needs of students or teachers, whose time for learning is constrained by testing requirements and mandates. We brought in a new team from world-class institutions to create a new K–12 STEAM education program, and partnered with the Paradise Valley Unified School District to engage a new generation with Wright’s legacy.
When we all were able to successfully finish our building, it showed me that, with the ideas of many people, great things may be accomplished.”- Michelle Cruz 7th grader, Greenway Middle School
IN PARTICIPATION IN
AT TALIESIN WEST
In the 2018–19 school year, we piloted kits that contain videos, worksheets, and instructional tools. Beginning in 2020, our Wright Design programs will be deployed in Title I and other schools throughout the entire district. Along with new, technology-enhanced summer camp and field trip programs at Taliesin West, we are bringing outlets for their imaginations and creativity to more young people than ever before.
Other new programs include performing arts presentations with community partners, photography workshops, and desert education programs—all of which are a part of the community organized around art, nature, and beauty that Wright envisioned. More than ever before, the Foundation is fulfilling Wright’s vision of a beautiful way to live.
PRESERVING THE PAST AND FUTURE-FOCUSED
Preservation is how we advance our mission. In 2019, Taliesin West hosted more than 115,000 visitors, with 25,000 more at Taliesin in Wisconsin, where tours are operated by our sibling organization, Taliesin Preservation, Inc. These campuses were designed as dynamic communities, laboratories where Wright and the Fellowship could test their ideas, explore new materials and structures, and advance the field of architecture and design through their work and clients’ projects. Using these living campuses, we inspire our communities and the architecture and design professions to think differently about advancing the way we build and live.
We are deploying new materials, technologies, and design solutions to these historically complex campuses accessible to more people than ever before. Support has been provided by grants from the National Park Service for capital improvements, and from the National Endowment for the Humanities for both critical planning and engineering studies and to facilitate accessibility at Taliesin West for all visitors more than ever before. Reflecting what was written by Wright above the door to the Taliesin studio—What a man does, that he has—we believe that everyone should be given the chance to make our communities, and our world, a better and more beautiful place.
VISITORS TO TALIESIN*
AND TALIESIN WEST
BUILDING THE FOUNDATION’S FUTURE
In 2019, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation was one of only four local cultural organizations selected by Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust to participate in its AGILE program, designed to help mid-sized to large arts and culture grantees build capacity to become a more robust and resilient organizations. Piper Trust is investing in research now underway that will help the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation plan new programs to expand its audience and deepen engagement with the community; additional research will help us communicate Wright’s work more effectively through communications, like our award-winning Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly, and through licensed products and services. This program aims to grow our contributed revenue sources to accelerate our preservation work.
ECONOMIC IMPACT TO
Recognition from Piper Trust about the importance of the Foundation’s mission and impact, and the strides we have made in governance and management, instill confidence that the Foundation is on the right track to serve the public good for years to come by identifying where we can best and most purposefully focus our unique resources.