Highlights from the First Week of the New Administration

Written by: Denise Doring VanBuren, President General
July 8, 2019

I am delighted to report that we had a productive first week here at your National Headquarters, including the first meeting of the new National Board of Management on June 30, when we welcomed 32 new state regents to our highest governance body.  Among them was New York State Regent Wilhelmena Kelly, who became the first woman of color to join our National Board, when she accepted her oath of office on June 30 on the stage of DAR Constitution Hall. It was an historic occasion, and I am immensely proud of Today’s DAR and our efforts to attract eligible women of every background to membership in, and leadership of, our National Society.

The National Board of Management has approved for recommendation to the 129th Continental Congress next June, the approval of “Rise and Shine” for the name of the President General’s Project, with support of the project designed to:

  • Energize members to rise up in meaningful service to America and to shine by raising public awareness of the National Society’s purpose, relevancy and vibrancy through robust public outreach;
  • Honor the spirit of our Revolutionary ancestors and educate the public about their sacrifices, and actively promote the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship;
  • Complete the final phase of restoration for DAR Constitution Hall;
  • Propel membership to 200,000; and
  • Ensure financial stability and leadership training at every level.

As was noted during Installation, Phase III of the DAR Constitution Hall restoration will be the primary focus of fundraising during this administration. As a result, the National Board has approved Donor, Benefactor and Patriot donation levels (with accompanying benefits) in order to support this $4.5 million campaign. The per member annual request will remain at $2.50 (for a three-year total of $7.50).

In the week that followed that first National Board meeting, your newly elected Executives got to know the responsibilities and staff of their particular offices, and we had an opportunity to thank all of our hard-working employees for executing a superb Continental Congress with a much-appreciated ice cream social. We additionally had the privilege of participating in Independence Day observances here in our nation’s capital.


We are grateful to U.S. Semiquincentennial Commissioner and Honorary President General Lynn Forney Young for leading an exercise with representatives of the Commission who have also met with the Smithsonian, the Museum of the American Revolution and other organizations in order to help chart a course for our nation’s 250th anniversary celebration. We are so very proud of Mrs. Young’s appointment to this prestigious commission, and I shared that DAR is committed to remembering the men and women who achieved American independence as part of this national observance. State Regents should appoint America 250! Chairs to begin planning for local projects, which should be substantive and relate to our DAR mission areas of service. 

We are encouraging states to think strategically about where to locate new chapters and how to re-energize those chapters that may be struggling.  As a result, we have updated the Chapter Development and Revitalization Commission to include seven members: a National Chair, the Organizing Secretary General, the Registrar General and the national chairs of the Membership, Lineage Research, Volunteer Genealogists and America 250! Membership Task Force. State commissions should follow suit.

In other business, we formally appointed the Insignia Task Force that will chart the course for our new “DAR Insignia Store,” which we project to have operational by next year’s Continental Congress. We also authorized modest funds to 1) restore our National Society’s 1920 monument to the Pilgrim Mothers in Plymouth, Mass., and 2) support the efforts of the Lafayette Trail project to mark the locations of our famous French friend’s return trip to the United States in 1824-1825.

In committee news, we approved support via the DAR Project Patriot Committee to warriors recovering at the Walter Reed Military Medical Center. As part of our efforts to gain more public recognition for our mission, DAR will be a sponsor of the traveling Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit for this year, and we hope that chapters and states will get involved with this program on the local level to honor those who served our nation in uniform. And, it is exciting to share that the Service to America Committee will be creating guidelines to recognize outstanding participation during the National DAR Day of Service; watch for details on how we will select one chapter and one state that demonstrate exemplary volunteerism during this annual observance on or near October 11, the day of our National Society’s founding in 1890.

In fact, I hope that you have gone on to our DAR Members’ Website to read all of the exciting plans of our committees during this Administration – you will find a full summary in the 2019 National Information Packet (NIP), as well as via individual committee pages. Also, please be sure that your subscription is current for American Spirit and the Daughters newsletter, so that you will be kept abreast of all the Society’s latest news.

We welcome your engaged participation in our important work, and we are extremely grateful for your continued support. Now, let’s together Rise and Shine for America!

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