Results of Ellie’s Challenge Matching Fund Drive

By May 9, 2022 News

Danvers Historical Society Announces Successful Results of Ellie’s Challenge Matching Fund Drive

Danvers, MA— The Danvers Historical Society announced the results of a three-month fundraising campaign for capital projects through Ellie’s Challenge.

At a reception for donors today, Society President David McKenna announced that just over $47,500 in new donations were raised, triggering him to contribute $45,000 as a combination of a matching gift from the Eleanor Ross Estate and forgiveness of a 2018 loan made to the Society. The fundraising drive total exceeds $92,500 for the continued stewardship of the Society’s historic building portfolio and collections.

In his remarks Friday morning, McKenna said, “I want to thank everyone who has supported the Society. Long-term members who have contributed both dollars and sweat equity, volunteering to assist with the many varied programs we provide to our Members and the children of Danvers. And those who contributed or joined the Society in response to Ellie’s Challenge – whether to honor my late Mother or because they love and want to help preserve the wondrous historical assets of Danvers. I thank you all for your generosity.”

Key donors to Ellie’s Challenge include Dr. Donald and Mrs. Maryann Kowalski, Ms. Priscilla Curda, Mr. Brian Kelly of Kelly Motors Beverly, and more than 150 donors inspired by the memory of Ellie. Supporters across the North Shore, including Rep. Sally Kerans, who recently cheered for the Challenge, helped to propel the drive past its fundraising goals.

The Fund was established to support capital expenses at the Glen Magna Mansion (1790) and the National Landmark Derby Summer House (1792), as well as the Danvers Center properties of Tapley Memorial Hall and the 1754 Jeremiah Page House. These architectural gems form the core of the Society’s historical collections, along with thousands of artifacts and documents that trace the deep history of settlement in Danvers.

With this funding, the Society will be better able to maintain its buildings and grounds, provide programming for adults and children, and highlight important histories of individuals, such Jeremiah Page descendant Ann L. Page, a women’s rights supporter and leader in the early childhood education movement. Her legacy of voting activism will be honored with a new historical marker at 11 Page Street on May 26, when the Society and partner Suffrage 100MA unveil a tribute to her impact on the early 20th century suffrage movement.

The Society will also be hosting a full calendar of events at Glen Magna Farms. On May 21-22, the annual Plant Sale will take place from 9am to 1pm in the parking lot of Glen Magna. The Summer Beer Gardens kickoff on June 21st with a performance by Squeezebox Stompers. Plus, the Broadway Returns musical review fundraiser with Catherine Lamy and John Archer will be held on July 14-15. Details for those events are available on the Society’s website at

Downtown at Tapley Hall, the roster of Speaker Series events will continue with David Tory, author and former CFO of the Essex County Community Foundation, who will speak on May 18 about his new book The Stanfield Chronicles. The lunchtime Film Series and the Porch Swing Open Mic dates are also coming up with details available on the Society’s website and social media channels (Facebook @DanversHistory and Instagram #danvershistory).

Noting the importance of this effort, McKenna said, “Ellie’s Challenge funds, along with our continued efforts to support programs and collections, will help us turn the corner from the impacts of two years of Covid cancellations. I thank you all for your generosity, loyalty, and willingness to contribute to our mission to preserve the legacy of our beloved Danvers.”