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About the Willa Cather Foundation

About the Willa Cather Foundation

The Willa Cather Foundation—formerly the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial—is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather and preserving the historical settings and archival material associated with her life and writings. Since its founding in 1955, the WCF has been headquartered in Red Cloud, Nebraska.

The mission of the Willa Cather Foundation is to promote and encourage increased understanding and appreciation of the life, times, settings, and work of Willa Cather. This is accomplished through a variety of programs that encourage Cather studies and literary, historical, and cultural inquiry among a broad and varied audience. The core activities of the WCF include:

  • Preservation of archives and collections
  • Publication of the Willa Cather Newsletter & Review
  • Preservation of the largest collection of nationally designated historic sites devoted to an American author
  • Guided town and country tours of historic sites relating to Cather’s life
  • Scholarships awarded to future English majors and aspiring writers
  • Regular programming in the restored Red Cloud Opera House, which played a key role in nurturing Willa Cather’s own interest in the arts
  • Year-round arts and educational exhibits in the Foundation's art gallery
  • Organization of conferences, seminars, and writers workshops held annually in Red Cloud and biennially in other locales that were relevant to Cather’s life and writing
  • Restoration and conservation of the 612-acre Willa Cather Memorial Prairie
  • Leadership of a Cather Book Club
  • Encouragement of and cooperation with other Cather programs and initiatives

A twenty-eight member Board of Governors leads the Willa Cather Foundation, which has seven full-time staff, seven part-time staff, and more than sixty active volunteers. A sixteen-member Advisory Council assists with setting direction and representing the diversity of interests, locations and professions attracted to Willa Cather and her work. The Willa Cather Foundation’s programs and resources directly serve more than 60,000 people each year. This includes approximately 8,000 to 10,000 on site visitors and over 50,000 interested individuals who are served remotely through the organization’s online resources and publications. The individuals served by WCF-sponsored programs represent Cather enthusiasts, world-renowned scholars, teachers and students, devotees of arts and humanities, and heritage tourists.