Providing opportunities for learners from all backgrounds and of all ages and abilities has been a Foundation priority from the start. We believe in the power of connecting to tangible history and the importance of historical literacy in everyday life.
Tens of thousands of students from Title 1 schools have received immersive, educational experiences thanks to our supporters. Many schools have reported that field trips are some of the only opportunities their students have to explore the world beyond their hometowns, to see themselves in history, and to expand their horizons.
For example, Caterpillar helped us provide learning opportunities for thousands of middle school students from Peoria and many other Title I schools across Illinois. As one student shared:
“I learned so many things about Abraham Lincoln in a way that made learning about history very fun.”
2015 Roosevelt Magnet School Participant
The Foundation and its partners have made it possible for thousands of teachers from across the country to benefit from expert scholarship presentations, professional workshops and immersive historic site experiences that benefit the educators and their students for years to come. With help from AT&T and an anonymous donor, we have provided support for K-12 teachers to attend The Gilder Lehrman Institute symposium, a week-long professional development opportunity focused on Lincoln’s intellectual, moral, psychological, and political evolution. Another example is teacher “boot camps” supported by Motorola. These “camps” provided Chicago Public School teachers with training sessions designed to deepen their knowledge of Lincoln's life and legacy for use in their lesson plans. With Horace Mann, we were able to support five-day teacher institutes for educators and administrators from all 50 states over a multi-year period.
“This experience tremendously aided my understanding of Lincoln and how he evolved in many areas - as a politician, in terms of race, and as a human being.”
2021 GLI Teacher Institute Participant
To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in 2013, the Foundation invited people of note around the world to write “272 Words” in the spirit of our 16th President. We received essays from all five living U.S. presidents at the time: Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton; George H. W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter. Other notable essayists include: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, General Colin Powell, the Commander and Crew of USS Abraham Lincoln, Civil Rights Leader Julian Bond, Director Steven Spielberg, AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randall L. Stephenson, Caterpillar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman, Photographer Annie Leibovitz, and Scholar Harold Holzer among hundreds of others. Essays were on display for several months and guests were lined up to read them. U.S. Presidents, jurists, scholars, school children, sailors—people from all walks of life participated.
The project was such a resounding success that Lyons Press published a collection of the 272-word essays in the book, “Gettysburg Replies.” This compilation raised funds that benefited our mission including collections, programs and projects.
Civil War Tech
To support student and teacher exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) used during the Civil War in a hands-on, education setting, we partnered with AT&T. The project provided onsite and offsite student and teacher programs for grades 4-8. Through hands-on activities and experiments, presentations from scholars and field experts, games, and artifacts students and teachers were given the tools and time to think critically about the impact and legacy of Civil War technology on our nation. The four most popular programs—Ironclads, Railroads, Submarines, and Telegraphs—were offered as in-school programs for middle schools.