1982, President Ronald Reagan asked Lee Iacocca, then Chairman of Chrysler
Corporation, to head a private sector effort to raise funds for the restoration
and preservation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Statue of
Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF) was founded.
fundraising drive sparked a dramatic response. The American people contributed
more than $600 million (and counting!) to the repair, restoration, and
maintenance of these two great monuments to freedom. All funds for the
Foundation's projects have come from the American people — no government funds
have been used.
view a list of the current Foundation Board of Directors, click here.
view a pdf of the Foundation's current Annual Report, click here.
Foundation, working with its public partner, the National Park Service, U. S.
Department of the Interior, first tackled the restoration of the Statue of
Liberty. After almost a century, weather, pollution, and sightseeing had left
Lady Liberty in serious need of repair, including replacement of her torch and
strengthening of her crown’s rays. An army of architects, historians, engineers, and almost 1000
laborers embarked on the project — which also involved the installation of new
elevators and an informative exhibit in the Statue's base.
July 4th weekend, 1986,
saw a gala three-day event celebrating the restoration. Fireworks filled the
night skies; tall ships flocked the Harbor. "Liberty Weekend," attended by
President Reagan and President Francois Mitterand of France, was broadcast to
1.5 billion people in 51 countries. The Foundation, the National Park Service,
and the American people had launched the most successful public-private
partnership in the history of the United States.
Foundation then turned its attention to the restoration of Ellis Island — the
largest historical restoration in the history of the United States. Ellis
Island, our most potent symbol of the American immigrant experience, had become
sadly deteriorated. Again the American people responded with passion and
When the Island opened
in September of 1990 — two years ahead of schedule — it unveiled the
world-class Ellis Island Immigration Museum, where some rooms appeared as they
had during the height of immigrant processing. Other areas housed theaters,
libraries, an oral history recording studio, and exhibits on the immigration
experience. In the 1990s, the Foundation restored two more buildings (for a
total of 5 buildings saved and restored on Ellis Island), expanding and
upgrading the Museum Library and Oral History Studio, and creating a Children’s
Orientation Center and the Ellis Island Living Theatre. The Ellis Island
Immigration Museum has welcomed nearly 40 million visitors since its opening in
Working to promote
knowledge of the Island, the Statue, and immigration history, the Foundation
has also published and made available to libraries and schools many books and
curriculum guides, as well as a CD-ROM produced in collaboration with the
current project is a significant expansion of the Ellis Island Immigration
Museum to be called The Peopling of America® Center. The Center will enlarge
the story currently told of the Ellis Island Era (1892-1954) to include the
entire panorama of the American immigration experience from this country’s
earliest days right up to the present. It is expected to be completed in 2012.
American Immigrant Wall of Honor
the most inspiring Foundation projects is The American Immigrant Wall of
Honor®. Located on the restored Ellis Island, the Wall proudly bears the names
of over 700,000 immigrants and families whose descendants memorialized them by having their
names inscribed there. Registrations are now being accepted for a new phase of
the Wall. More about the Wall of Honor.
American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC)
April 17, 2001 the Foundation launched the American Family Immigration History
Center® (AFIHC), on Ellis Island and the World Wide Web, which makes the 25
million arrival records and over 900 ships of passage pictures in the Ellis Island Archives
available to everyone. More about AFIHC.
Island Family Heritage Awards
In celebration of the first annual Ellis Island Family History Day and the
launch of the American Family Immigration History Center® on April 17, 2001,
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. instituted the Ellis Island
Family Heritage Awards. This award celebrates Ellis Island as the Golden Door
to America for the 17 million immigrants who first set foot on American soil
there. Forty percent of Americans today can trace their roots to an ancestor
who was among those brave and determined individuals. Each year a select number
of Ellis Island immigrants or their descendants are chosen to be honored. By
presenting a copy of the original ship’s passenger manifest documenting their,
or their ancestors’, arrival at Ellis Island, we reflect on their journey,
their courage and determination, and honor the unique contribution they have
made to this "Nation of Immigrants." The B.C. Forbes Peopling of America®
Award, sponsored by the Forbes Family, honors the lives of immigrants who
arrived at another time or through another port of entry. Honorees are selected
through a process that is guided by an Awards Committee of the Foundation’s
Board of Directors.
Foundation promised to its donors in the 1980s and early 1990s and established
in 1993 an endowment under the auspices of its board of directors that would
help the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior maintain the
Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island and Ellis Island, and enhance the visitor
experience for years to come. Since the endowment's inception, proceeds have
funded over 200 projects at the islands for a total of $17.3 million.
to Re-Open the Statue of Liberty
Foundation spearheaded a campaign, in the wake of 9/11, to raise the funds for
and manage the construction work necessary to make critical safety and security
upgrades to the Statue so that the National Park Service, U.S. Department of
the Interior could reopen Lady Liberty's doors to the public on August 3, 2004.
Golden Door Society
Golden Door Society encourages individuals to make the Foundation the
beneficiary of their estate planning. When you make a planned gift to The
Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation by designating a charitable bequest
in your will, the Foundation will honor you with membership in our Golden Door
Society. The purpose of the Golden Door Society is to recognize those
individuals and families that have made a very special contribution to the
Foundation. Please contact the Foundation's Office of Planned Giving to discuss
these opportunities further:
The Statue of Liberty
of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.
Att: Planned Giving Department
17 Battery Place #210, New York, NY 10004-3507
If you would like to
view the Foundation's most recently filed IRS Form 990 "Return of Organization
Exempt from Income Tax" and Schedule A "Organization Exempt Under Section
501(c)(3)" please click here.
The Statue of
Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. was incorporated on November 19, 1981 as
a not-for-profit corporation primarily to raise funds and oversee the
restoration and preservation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and
celebrate the centennials of each. The National Park Service, a unit of the
United States Department of the Interior, operates both the Statue of Liberty
and Ellis Island and has accepted grants pursuant to an agreement dated October
14, 1983 with the Foundation for restoration and preservation of these
monuments. The Foundation is exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501
(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and contributions are tax deductible to
the extent allowed by law.
A copy of the annual
Financial Report filed by us may be obtained by contacting: The Statue of
Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., 17 Battery Place #210, New York, NY
10004; or by calling 212-561-4500.
Florida: A COPY OF THE
OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE
DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE WITHIN THE STATE
1-800-435-7352. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR
RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE; Maryland: Office of the Secretary of State,
Statehouse, Annapolis, MD 21401 or calling 1-800-552-9963, FOR THE COST OF
COPIES AND POSTAGE; Michigan: MICS 9675; New Jersey: INFORMATION FILED WITH THE
ATTORNEY GENERAL CONCERNING THIS CHARITABLE SOLICITATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY BY CALLING 1-973-504-6215;
REGISTRATION WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT; New York:
Office of Attorney General, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271; North Carolina:
Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are
available from the State Solicitation Licensing Section at 1-888-830-4989. The
license is not an endorsement by the State; Pennsylvania: The official
registration and financial information of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island
Foundation, Inc. may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by
calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not
imply endorsement. Virginia: Financial Statement is available upon written
request from the State Office of Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond, VA
23218; Washington: Currently registered with the Washington State Secretary of
State, Olympia, WA 98504-0422 or by calling 1-800-332-4483. Registration number
5804 as required by law and is not an endorsement by the state; West Virginia:
Residents may obtain a summary of the registration and financial documents from
the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Charleston, West Virginia 25305.