Why are deCordova and The Trustees integrating?
DeCordova’s latest strategic plan highlights the need to pursue new opportunities for growth, and to establish a financially sustainable operating model. Integration with The Trustees will enable deCordova to accomplish both of these goals. The Trustees sees deCordova as a premier location in a part of the state where the organization has had little representation. In addition, three years ago The Trustees began its “Art & the Landscape” initiative, in which deCordova’s experience and curatorial expertise would be very valuable.

What is the process that has led to the deCordova and Trustees integrating?
The decision to pursue a permanent relationship with The Trustees came after deCordova’s board and staff conducted a comprehensive strategic and financial planning process in early 2017 and approached The Trustees with a proposal. The proposal was reviewed and approved by both organizations’ boards and an agreement to work toward integration was signed in June 2018. The two organizations worked closely with the Town of Lincoln, including the Selectmen, Town Manager, and a special Working Group formed to review the proposal. The proposal was presented at the October 20, 2018 State of the Town meeting in Lincoln and added to the agenda for a final vote by residents at the Annual Town Meeting on March 23, 2019. Meanwhile, negotiations between deCordova, The Trustees, and the Town on two separate agreements were concluded in February 2019.

The agreement between deCordova and The Trustees includes a commitment to work together on the necessary fundraising, due diligence (including an agreed-upon governance structure and operational budget), and town approval process to lead to a successful integration. That process included multiple opportunities for public discourse in which Lincoln residents and supporters of deCordova and The Trustees could attend and participate in community information sessions so that Lincoln residents could be part of the process, as stated in the original bylaws before the final vote.

The agreement is also contingent on the successful completion of a $15 million fundraising campaign mounted by both organizations to secure deCordova’s endowment, operational stability, and to plan for the future.

What does the “yes” vote at the Lincoln Town Meeting on March 23, 2019 mean for the integration of deCordova Sculpture Garden and Museum and The Trustees?
We are pleased that the Town of Lincoln officially voted to approve the integration, bringing deCordova another step closer to becoming a part of The Trustees. Next steps include work by both organizations to conduct final due diligence and close the remaining $3.5 million fundraising gap in the $15 million campaign that has been underway as part of the integration agreement, in order to expand deCordova’s endowment and operational stability.

Once these steps have been met, we hope to welcome deCordova into The Trustees’ network of dynamic cultural and natural sites located around the Commonwealth as our 118th reservation in the near future. We are grateful for the overwhelming support we have received to date from the Lincoln community and Town leaders as well as deCordova and Trustees donors, staff, and supporters. We have made great progress so far and look forward to completing the remaining steps needed for full integration.

What is the required time-frame for these next steps to be met in order to proceed with integration?
We are optimistic that we can accomplish all efforts soon, hopefully by July 1, 2019.

Once remaining next steps are met, how long will the integration take?
As with all past integrations for The Trustees, we anticipate working diligently over the next 12-18 months to integrate systems, staff, and stewardship.

What is deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum?
Starting from the posthumous gift of property by Julian deCordova in Lincoln, Massachusetts, the museum was founded in 1950 to fulfill a need for contemporary art venues, and to support local artists. Today, deCordova hosts more than 80,000 annual visitors who enjoy outdoor sculpture displays and curated indoor exhibits, enhanced by innovative learning and engagement programs designed for all ages.

What is The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees)?
Founded in 1891 by landscape architect Charles Eliot, The Trustees of Reservations preserves, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts. The Trustees protects 117 properties across the state, including iconic places like Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich, Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, and World’s End in Hingham.

What do these two organizations have in common?
DeCordova’s mission rests on three pillars: art, education, and landscape. The Trustees has always focused on connecting people to special places, and it is advancing into public art. Both organizations are driven to provide unique and satisfying visitor experiences.

Is The Trustees buying deCordova?
No, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum as an entity will become a Trustees reservation, however the bulk of the land and buildings will continue to be owned by the Town of Lincoln. DeCordova will continue to operate as a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit under the Trustees umbrella. Changes in the governance of deCordova include The Trustees assuming operational management while building support for deCordova’s mission through its statewide membership program, marketing capacity, and donor base.

Is this essentially a merger?
The integration is not officially a merger because The Trustees will assume management of deCordova as one of its affiliates, while deCordova retains its own 501(c)(3) status.

Has The Trustees integrated with other organizations in the past?
Yes. Previous integrations included Boston Natural Areas Network in Boston in 2008, Fruitlands Museum in Harvard in 2016, and The FARM Institute in Edgartown in 2016. Upon integration, deCordova would be the fourth nonprofit institution to integrate with The Trustees.

Will deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum change its brand or name?
The appearance and the mission of deCordova are not changing. The Trustees’ goal is to continue providing inspired art and landscape experiences, at deCordova and other Trustees reservations.

Will the Town maintain the land and buildings?
No, they will be maintained by The Trustees, who will also uphold conservation requirements needed to protect the Town’s drinking water.

What will the integration mean for current deCordova members?
Current deCordova Members will become Trustees Members as part of the integration process. New Memberships purchased on or after May 1 will be Trustees Memberships.

When will Trustees Members be granted Member privileges at deCordova?
Beginning May 15, Trustees Members will be able to present their Trustees Member cards at deCordova for free admission and discounts. The final list of Member benefits is being reviewed and will be confirmed by the integration date.

Will Town of Lincoln residents still have free access to the property?
Yes, Lincoln residents will continue to have free access to the grounds and museum as well as use of the parking lot for the annual 4th of July festivities.

I’d like to donate to deCordova. How do I do that?
We kindly ask that donations be made to The Trustees with an indication that you would like your gift to support deCordova. You may donate through deCordova’s website, www.decordova.org/give, or by calling 781.259.3628. Thank you for your support!