• Rotary Year: 2022-2023
  • Application Date: 6/30/2022
  • Club Name: Marion-Morning
  • Project Name: Mt Pleasant Preservation Society
  • Project Total Expenditures: $6,000.00
  • Grant Amount Requested: $3,000.00
  • Describe the Project, its location and its objectives: The Mount Pleasant church was built by a group of free Blacks and former slaves in 1871 and served its congregation for 131 years. Mt Pleasant Preservation Society was founded in 2010 to gather, preserve, display, and share the history and culture associated with Mt Pleasant and the role its members played in the African American community in Smyth County including the role of other cultures in the area. Mt Pleasant Preservation Society’s vision includes telling stories and having conversations about the Black experience in Southwest Virginia.

    Mt Pleasant Preservation Society received the deed to the property in 2015 and began establishing the museum with the strong foundation of a vast collection of historic material assembled by visionary and community icon Evelyn Thompson Lawrence. The property encompasses two buildings, the historic church and adjacent parsonage which houses museum displays and the majority of historic documents and objects in the museum’s archive. The church is maintained as part of the museum and as a space for programming including lectures and gatherings, arts, and music.

    Mt Pleasant was a new project site for Caring for Our Community’s service days in the Town of Marion earlier this spring. Rotarians assisted with painting and cleaning inside the buildings. This project led to discussion about exterior repairs needed to preserve windows on the historic church and other repairs needed to protect both buildings, helping ensure the future of the museum as a focal point for community engagement and conversation.

    The building is located on a Main Street entrance to the Town of Marion. Deterioration of two windows required unsightly plywood covers to keep out the elements. This project includes replacing one of the windows, professional refurbishment of the other badly damaged window, and stabilization work for seven additional windows. The project would also include minor repairs and painting for several additional windows and doors, brick window sills, concrete foundation wall, and wooden walkways, along with replacement guttering.

    Many local residents aren’t aware of the Mt Pleasant museum. Making these repairs provides aesthetic benefit to our town but, more importantly, offers opportunities to engage a wider audience of community members in hands on service and conversation, furthering Mt Pleasant’s vision.
  • This is the Club’s: Primary Project Application
  • Expected Start Date: 8/1/2022
  • Expected End Date: 5/15/2023
  • Expected Number of Beneficiaries: 10000
  • Describe how the project will benefit the community and/or improve the lives of the less fortunate: Mt. Pleasant Preservation society collects and shares the stories of Black history in our community which is history of everyone in our community.

    Margaret Edwards, Director of Mt Pleasant Preservation Society, said, “We want the museum to reflect the community – good and bad. We have to realize as humanity that we cannot survive without each other. As one people, there’s history we do not want to repeat.”

    In 2020, the town of Marion was the subject of national news coverage as we experienced multiple highly charged events shining bright light on the ongoing need for people to have more conversations with each other.

    At that time, Marion Morning Rotary began engaging in conversation among our members and with speakers who shared stories of Marion’s people and history including Mt Pleasant Historian and Archivist Diane Hayes.

    With other Rotary projects we have seen the power of bringing volunteers to a place to learn about and connect with an organization’s mission and take that understanding into our relationships in the community. This project with Mt Pleasant Preservation Society provides opportunities for Rotarians and other local folks to learn about our history, work alongside our neighbors, and engage more deeply in conversation – contributing to the work of building a community we all want to live in.
  • Estimated Total Project Volunteer Hours: 80
  • Describe the Rotarian hands-on activities in the project (i.e. non-financial participation): Rotarians will remove vines, pressure wash brick, repair & paint concrete foundation and brick window sills, prepare & paint lower windows, and prepare & stain wooden walkways.
  • Describe the publicity plan to inform the general public that this is a Rotary sponsored project: Signage will be developed for the site to acknowledge Rotary’s sponsorship of the project.

    A media release will be sent to the following news outlets:
    • Smyth County News & Messenger
    • Saltville Progress
    • FM94
    • WCYB
    • WJHL
    • WKPT
    • WDBJ
    • 98.1 FM WBRF
    • Smyth County Chamber of Commerce newsletter

    The project will also be publicized through the social media pages of Mt Pleasant Preservation Society, the Appalachian Center for Civic Life at Emory & Henry College, Caring for Our Community, and Marion Morning Rotary.
  • Cooperating Organizations – Please list each cooperating organization, if any: Mt Pleasant Preservation Society
  • Letter(s) of Participation: Mt_Pleasant_Letter_of_Participation.pdf
  • Project Expenditure Budget – list detail uses of funds for the project, or use the Budget UploadSee Budget Upload
  • Project Funding Budget – list detail sources of funds for the project, or use the Budget UploadSee Budget Upload
  • Budget Upload:Mt_Pleasant_Grant_Budget_2022.xls
  • Primary Contact Name: Heather Bunch
  • Primary Contact Rotary Position: Immediate Past President & Service Projects Chair
  • Primary Contact Email: rotary@globetrekker.net
  • Primary Contact Phone: 276-780-9580
  • Financial Contact Name: Bob Shults
  • Financial Contact Rotary Position: Treasurer, Marion Morning Rotary
  • Financial Contact Address: 
    PO Box 189
    Marion, VA 24354
    United States View on Map
  • Financial Contact Email: bob@shultskiser.com
  • Financial Contact Phone: 276-783-1040
  • District Grant Project Authorization LetterMt_Pleasant_Project_Authorization.pdf
  • Project Supporting Uploads:Mt_Pleasant_Project_Details_Videos.docx, Mt_Pleasant_Project_Details_News_Article_1.pdf, Mt_Pleasant_Project_Details_Photos.pdf, Mt_Pleasant_Project_Details_News_Article_2.pdf
  • Grant Number: 2022-07
  • Grant Award: $3,000.00