Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Jay Heritage Center

  • Rye, NY
  • www.jaycenter.org

Mission Statement

Located in Rye, New York, the non-profit Jay Heritage Center (JHC) is dedicated to transforming the historic buildings and grounds of the Jay Property into a vibrant center for public and active learning about our shared cultural and natural heritage. The Jay Estate was the childhood home of native New Yorker and Founding Father, John Jay as well as the home of his descendants and the African American slaves and freed men who lived and worked with them. The JHC hopes to advance the site as a premiere educational institution that hosts innovative programs about American History, Social Justice, Architecture, Environmental Stewardship and Landscape Conservation.

Main Programs

  1. "Striving For Freedom"
  2. "Stewardship through Smart Choices"
  3. "Our Footprints Matter" - Landscape
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

The Jay Heritage Center, as steward of a National Historic Landmark site and Save America's Treasures project, serves a national audience. Our calendar has a plethora of educational programs that are geared towards both adults and children and attract visitors from all over the United States.

ruling year

1990

Principal Officer since 2007

Self-reported

Suzanne Clary

Keywords

Self-reported

Preservation, American History, Architecture and Landscape Conservation

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EIN

13-3585332

 Number

7620268614

Physical Address

Jay Estate 210 Boston Post Road

Rye, 10580

Also Known As

JHC

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)

History Museums (A54)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Our programs have successively driven our primary goal of education as we have become a role model for responsible management and interpretive use of a historic resource. This is proven in our increased visitorship and increased number of partnerships as well as amounts of grant monies awarded to continue our work. Our commitment to preservation and sustainability continue to inform our program choices. Our private-public partnership is a dynamic example for revitalizing other historic sites and parks throughout NY State as well as nationwide.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

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

Program 1

"Striving For Freedom"

Our most successful and longest running program is an interactive theatre prodution about manumission and abolitionism in New York called "Striving for Freedom." The play examines the evolution of our American government and system of beliefs in a presentation that is appropriate for a middle school curriculum for 4th - 7th graders. Groups of 75 - 150 students and their teachers are drawn into and interactive montage as they learn the story of Mary and Clarinda, two enslaved sisters belonging to the Jay family who are separated as children to live at the Rye and Bedford estates and later freed and reunited. Students are drawn from the audience and asked to put themselves in the place of the sisters and contemplate the contradiction of how our founders sought freedom for themselves and their nation yet denied freedom to African Americans.

It has been estimated that ironically in 1776 as of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, there were over half a million slaves in the United States, throughout all 13 colonies, including 15,000 in New York.

"The struggle to maintain a democratic society is one of our greatest challenges we face as a people. One important function of the Jay Heritage Center [is] to remind Americans of the struggles of the framers of the constitution and the courts and to connect those struggles with present day concerns about civil rights and civil liberties. The Center thus becomes a forum for creative problem solving and the exploration of difficult issues that effect each of our lives." Gretchen Sullivan Sorin.

The Jay Heritage Center is one of 13 sites on Westchester County's African American Heritage Trail. The Jay Property in Rye is a historic site where at least 9 slaves are known to have lived and worked for John Jay's father and brothers. It is a place where they were also emancipated by the Jay family and buried on the same land as their owners.

"It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honour of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused." John Jay 1786

Among its goals, the JHC hopes to be "a national focal point for a continuing conversation about the two greatest pieces of unfinished American business--race and land; meaning how we treat each other and how we treat the rest of God's creation." Tony Hiss

Category

Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

$12,000

Program 2

"Stewardship through Smart Choices"

Nowhere is the transformative power of education more evident than at the Jay Heritage Center where historic preservation has been visibly paired with innovation to inspire future generations. Our state of the art geothermal heating and cooling pump system is illustrated to school groups and the public through tours, brochures and online pictorials that show much less energy we consume because of the smart choices we have made. Other choices include outfitting our new visitors bathroom with motion activated lights, faucets, hand dryers and energy efficient appliances. Our Flickr stream albums are appealing and easily accessible resources pre- or post visit. We have found that an onsite visit coupled with web-based access is the best platform for educating the public about the sustainable and energy conserving projects we have undertaken in this 177 year old historic house. By showing our community our success in reducing our energy consumption and dependence through constant review and examination, we hope to inspire others to follow suit.

The “Stewardship through Smart Choices” program serves and educates our diverse community, particularly those most affected by costly energy bills--the indigent, the elderly and immigrant families. By using this multimedia outreach to a wide spectrum of multicultural and multi-generational populations, JHC continues to take a leadership role to reduce our carbon footprint.

Category

Environment

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

$10,000

Program 3

"Our Footprints Matter" - Landscape

Our programs "Our Footprints Matter" and "IMapInvasives" provide hands-on quantifiable experience to a culturally diverse and economically challenged population most in need of acquiring career related skills in ecological disciplines. We offer free talks and workshops that engage students and enrichment leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons where their results are entered in a statewide database. Students and adults are mentored in recording invasive species data but simultaneously learn about the importance of native plant selection appropriate for maintaining healthy habitats for wildlife and humans.

Mentors and partners in our work come from places of learning and environmental advocacy like Pace University, Federated Conservationists of Westchester, the NY Botanical Garden, Parks & Trails New York as well as the NY DEC, Lower Hudson PRISM and Teatown Park Reservation.

Category

Environment

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Adults

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Budget

$12,000

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

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

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Our goal to educate remains the same. We hope to inspire young people to understand, preserve and protect our shared heritage, natural and man-made - to become future historians, civic advocates and stewards of our fragile cultural
    and environmental resources.

    Our aim is to continue to protect, preserve and interpret the buildings and grounds of the 23 acre Jay Estate for community use as an educational and cultural center and model of sustainability. We hope to raise several million dollars for 1) capital improvements to rehabilitate and use historic buildings and gardens for indoor and outdoor classroom space essential creating an educational campus for the benefit of the community 2) funding for staff and programs to fill them 3) continue to be a resource for other non-profits hoping to do the same.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    We will continue to practice fiscal responsibility and good management practices by 1) expanding our Board and Advisory Board and staff with individuals of pertinent non-profit, preservation, scientific and academic expertise, as well as people skills; we welcome new Board members with creative backgrounds, marketing experience and proven fundraising credentials 2) drafting a new 5 year strategic plan to build upon our foundation of successful accomplishments 3) inviting volunteers and stakeholders of all demographics, economic backgrounds and ages to inform our decisions and program offerings; we have met with great success through partnerships with like-minded non-profits.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    We have an outstanding Board, Advisory Board and staff, a communicative and energetic membership and vital partnerships at the local, state and national level.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The Jay Heritage Center looks at the following indicators to determine our progress

    1) Quantitative accounting of number of visitors participating in all programs as part of a school or organization visit accompanied by written evaluation forms and post-event wrap-up sessions with educators at K-12 schools, graduate schools and community organizations

    2) Analysis of increased local and state-wide attendance and recognition through dynamic partnerships and both cultural and natural heritage focused collaborations like National Public Lands Day, Hudson River Ramble Weekend (Jay Day), I Love My Park Day, Path Through History Weekends, and other outreach initiatives with the Rye Sustainability Committee, Westchester County Legislators Environmental Committee, the Nature Conservancy and NYDEC

    3) Volume of positive feedback, endorsements and visibility from JHC members, New York State and Westchester County governmental officials; increased volume of requests to present JHC sustainability or civic advocacy programs or participate in conferences by peer organizations like the National Historic Trust, Landmarks Committee of Rye, Preserve America, the Hudson River Valley Greenway, and NYS Path Through History (for example JHC was added to Path Through History website for Civil Rights educational themes in 2013 and in May 2014 received permanent NY State DOT signage on the Hutchinson River Parkway and Route 1 together with Metro North and MTA map listing.)

    4) Breadth of demographic reach and diversity for both programs based on analysis geographic location of responsive schools and groups – past programs were well received and inquiries for future dates have been requested by schools and non-profits in and outside of Westchester

    5) Data and feedback gathered through JHC's social media statistics on Constant Contact, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram, Trip Advisor and Word Press. Positive press articles and reviews in newsprint and online articles

  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    We are proud to have applied for and been awarded two prestigious and competitive grants from NY State Parks in under 9 months totaling $891,056.

    On Thursday, December 11th, 2014, the Jay Heritage Center (JHC) was awarded $500,000 to restore 1.5 acres of historic gardens in Rye, New York at the landmark Jay Estate on Boston Post Road. JHC was one of 118 organizations in the Mid-Hudson area of New York State to be awarded funding in Round IV of the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) grant process. $82.8 million dollars in grants and tax-credits were awarded in the Mid-Hudson region; JHC received the maximum amount available under the aegis of New York State's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP).

    In May 2015, tThe Jay Heritage Center was awarded $391,056 in Superstorm Sandy funding to repair significant roof and infrastructure damage to the 1917 Palmer Tennis House. The structure located at the Jay Estate in Rye is the third oldest remaining indoor tennis house in the country. The grant will allow the Center to save the original wood truss system and copper trimmed skylights as well as stabilize the stone foundation and clapboard siding. Improvements will facilitate historic usage and interpretation.

    Congressman Eliot Engel, who wrote a letter of support for the project, said, “Superstorm Sandy took a heavy toll on areas of the Long Island Sound, particularly Rye, which is still recovering from the damage almost three years later. The roof of the Palmer Tennis House at the historic Jay Heritage Center endured significant damage in the storm, and as a result was in desperate need of repairs. Now, thanks to Governor Cuomo's allocation of $391,056 in grant money to the Center, the roof can be stabilized and restored, and this historic property can once again be enjoyed by everyone in the Rye community and beyond."

    JHC was one of 16 historic organizations awarded a share of more than $6 million in aid to restore NY heritage sites devastated by the 2012 hurricane. Fraunces Tavern, Old Westbury Gardens, and Green-Wood Cemetery were among the other sites awarded grants.

    Once preserved and rehabilitated, the 1917 Palmer Indoor Tennis House has the potential to be a resonant venue for young individuals to learn the sport of tennis and its life lessons of sportsmanship in a rare historic setting. With this grant as a keystone, JHC hopes that private donors and corporations who are passionate about preservation and their community will step forward and help complete the project.

    Both grants followed a landmark private-public partnership forged between NYSOPRHP, Westchester County Parks and JHC last year. The agreement signed in 2013 awarded stewardship of the 23 acre Jay Estate to the non-profit JHC which has plans to transform the park into a premier educational and heritage tourism destination.




Service Areas

Self-reported

National

The Jay Heritage Center, as steward of a National Historic Landmark site and Save America's Treasures project, serves a national audience. Our calendar has a plethora of educational programs that are geared towards both adults and children and attract visitors from all over the United States.

Social Media

Funding Needs

Funding for capital and design expenses to rehabilitate historic buildings including the 2nd Floor of the 1838 Jay Mansion for teaching classrooms, office, and archival use; the circa 1912 Indoor Tennis Court for community tennis and summer camps for kids; the sunken stone walled garden rooms for outdoor garden programs; and the 1907 Zebra Barn for a dedicated Children's Activity Center. Funding for programs and operations particularly website optimization and redesign; underwriting for public school programs, underwriting of fees for actresses that perform "Striving for Freedom;" funding for printing brochures and educational materials.

photos




External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

THE JAY HERITAGE CENTER
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

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

Jay Heritage Center

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Suzanne Clary

BIO

Suzanne Clary is a Yale graduate with a B.A. in Art History. Suzanne has an extensive background in professional development having served on numerous not-for-profit boards in Westchester and New York. She was a member of the Policy Board of the Legal Aid Society of NY, Civil Division, for more than a decade. While there, she raised funds for their Early Intervention Program for Children providing services to underprivileged, homeless and foster children with delayed development in speech, hearing, or vision. She has received the Association of Development Officers (ADO)'s Outstanding Non-Profit Board Member of the Year award in 2010. She was one of 3 recipients of the Visionary Award from the African American Men's Association of Westchester in 2011 for community outreach. Her dedication was twice recognized by the Garden Club of America with both a 2010 and a 2013 Historic Preservation Award. In addition to her leadership role at JHC, she was appointed in 2010 by the Mayor of Rye and Rye City Council as a member of their Sustainability Committee for two 3 year terms, a role in which she continues. She is a member of the Board of the Preservation League of New York State as well as The Cultural Landscape Foundation and the Board of Preservation Action both in Washington D.C.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"We are proud to be the stewards of the 23 acre Jay Estate - the childhood home of American Founding Father, John Jay (1745 – 1829). Our goal is to protect, preserve and interpret this crucible of patriotism, leadership and civic advocacy and transform it into a premier destination for learning and dialogue about complex challenges which face us today.

Jay's character was nurtured by this land. He became one of our nation's greatest diplomats and jurists, an anti-slavery advocate, spymaster, Governor of New York, and co-author of the Federalist papers. Educated in the language of responsibility for one's country and fellow citizens, his descendants became civic leaders, academics and ambassadors; a great, great granddaughter, Mary Rutherfurd Jay became one of America's earliest landscape architects.

Visitors to our site today will see what he saw - an unparalleled future for America as well as a rare 10,000 year old meadow, the oldest on record in New York State. 1.5 acres of sunken gardens are currently undergoing restoration including installation of a parterre, reflecting pool and 100 foot arbor. Buildings open to the public include the 1838 Greek Revival Peter Augustus Jay House presented in various stages of historic preservation; it is the oldest National Historic Landmark in New York with geothermal technology. We offer programs in American History, Architecture, Social Justice and Environmental Stewardship at the 1907 Van Norden Carriage House. Our site site is on New York's Path Through History and Westchester's African American Heritage Trail.

We welcome visitors, volunteers and donors to join us in the hands-on rehabilitation and revitalization of this touchstone. Perhaps you and your family have already worked side by side in one of our authentic archaeology digs and marveled together at the ancient artifacts you found and held in the palm of your hand. You could be one of the hundreds of people who attend our unique lectures throughout the calendar year. Perhaps you met historian Alan Taylor and learned firsthand about his writing process, researching slavery at the National Archives, the same work that recently won him a second Pulitzer Prize. Or perhaps you discussed the future of our constitution and our presidency with noted American history scholars like Akhil Reed Amar or Aaron David Miller.

The child next door could be one of the 1000s of 4th to 8th grade students who have spent the day in our acclaimed “Striving for Freedom" program, re-enacting the lives of 2 young sisters first enslaved and then freed in Westchester County in the early 1800's. Many will meet authors like Jonah Winter and illustrator Barry Blitt, creators of “The Founding Fathers" and learn about the dedicated, ingenious, loyal and very human men who created our government.

We invite you to make our site and 'your park' a phenomenal amphitheatre of learning in all seasons and empower us with your donation today!

"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Suzanne Clary

Jay Heritage Center

Term: Sept 2013 - Sept 2016

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & 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?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?