2018-02-08 / News

Lighthouse group collects $540,000 in initial campaign

BY ROBERT BERCZUK


The $540,000 raised will go into an endowment used strictly to protect the six structures at Beavertail Point, including the iconic lighthouse, said Suzi Andrews, president of the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association. The $540,000 raised will go into an endowment used strictly to protect the six structures at Beavertail Point, including the iconic lighthouse, said Suzi Andrews, president of the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association. Backed by a generous benefactor, the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association raised about $270,000 on its own during its 2017 capital campaign.

The yearlong fundraiser, which was buttressed by Jamestowner Jim Buttrick, who pledged to match up to $500,000, received 436 donations. The $540,000 will be placed into an endowment to use strictly for preventative maintenance and repairs for the lighthouse complex.

“Beavertail is quite a special place and the campaign spoke volumes of how much people care about this Jamestown gem,” said Nicole Contino, the board member who led the campaign.

Buttrick, a local history buff, hoped the fundraiser would bring the lighthouse to the forefront of residents’ minds, along with educating them on how buildings are maintained. It is mistakenly believed by some visitors that the property, which is a state park, is maintained by the state or U.S. Coast Guard, neither of which is the case.


— Jim Buttrick, who matched the money raised during the fundraiser — Jim Buttrick, who matched the money raised during the fundraiser “It has put Beavertail in the consciousness of the town that it wasn’t in a way before,” Buttrick said.

Located at the southern tip of Conanicut Island, Beavertail Lighthouse is Jamestown’s most visited landmark. The current structure, built in 1853, sits on the site of the third oldest beacon in North America. Peter Harrison built the original 58-foot-high Colonial beacon in 1749.

According to Suzi Andrews, president of the museum association, money from this endowment will be used strictly to protect the six structures at Beavertail Point, including the iconic lighthouse.

“I’m thrilled,” said Andrews, who added that it exceeded the group’s initial expectations when the campaign began. “In a year’s time, this is wonderful.”

Andrews also agreed with Buttrick that the effort raised the awareness of what Beavertail has to offer.

“People from off island were more familiar with Beavertail than some on-island people,” she said.

The capital campaign was highlighted by two fundraisers that attracted both individuals and business leaders in the community. About 250 people gathered in June at The Dunes Club in Narragansett, and more than 200 guests attended the “Night at the Light” in October.

Both strengthened the ties between the association and community, Buttrick said. “I was very impressed by the community response.”

Beyond the immediate influx of money to the association, the campaign has helped the organization grow and provided it with a new long-term fundraising arm, Contino said. Prior to this effort, the majority of the organization’s money came from grants, donations and souvenir sales. The success of the campaign provided the group with confidence for the future.

“It was more than just a financial success,” Contino said. “We’ve created a platform to go forward in establishing an endowment to keep Beavertail in existence for generations to come.”

For his part, Buttrick said he was glad to inspire future fundraising attempts.

“I’m gratified they were able to raise that much money,” he said. “That was sort of in the ballpark of what I thought was possible. In my mind, it should be considered a great success.”

Return to top