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May 18, 2022
 
Old North Raises $130K via Annual Lantern Lighting Event
Old North Church

April 17, 2022 — The Old North Foundation, a Boston nonprofit responsible for historic site operations and interpretative, educational, and preservation programs at the Old North Church historic site, last week announced it raised $130,000 at its annual event commemorating the lantern signal that many take to herald the start of the American Revolution.

The Old North Foundation said the funds raised from the Lantern2022 event, held April 13 in-person and livestreamed for virtual audiences, will support virtual and on-site programs.

“We believe Old North Church’s relevance today requires a critical lens and honest dialogue about the nation’s founding ideals and the ongoing struggle to realize those ideals,” said Nikki Stewart, executive director of the foundation. “Funds raised through Lantern2022 will support our efforts to equip educators with curricula and enrichment materials that take a fresh look at the past and encourage students to identify themselves as active citizens who are gaining the wisdom, confidence, and motivation to participate in their communities.”

The lantern lighting ceremony commemorates the events of April 18, 1775, when two men hung two lanterns from the church’s steeple as a signal to Paul Revere before he set off on his midnight ride to Lexington with news that British soldiers stationed in Boston were about to march into the countryside northwest of the town.

This year’s event program featured Middlesex County Volunteer Fifes and Drums, a reading of the poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Michael J. Bobbitt, executive director of Mass Cultural Council, and keynote remarks by the 2022 Third Lantern Award recipient Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP and 108th Mayor of New York City.

Last June, Bloomberg Philanthropies gifted Old North $250,000 to support its operations over the next five years and support its re-opening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will also enable staff to begin implementing a new strategic plan, which includes reconciling Old North’s history with the slave and cacao trades, and create engaging content for K-12 educators that includes discussion points on civic engagement, liberty, and personal values.

"This is a special night for me. And I want to thank everyone at the Old North Foundation for taking such good care of this sacred place – and for keeping it alive for new generations of visitors, especially children,” said Bloomberg. “The education work that happens here at the church really is so important, because it’s not just about the history of the American Revolution. It’s about the future of the American experiment.

“Every time we face up to our mistakes and failures, we grow stronger because patriotism doesn’t require perfection from the past. It requires honesty in the present. Each generation is called to refresh the story of America. Not to rewrite history – but to revisit it, recast it, and reclaim it, and pass it down to the next generation, by teaching them about our civic foundations, cracks and all, so that they can continue the work of building a more perfect union.”

Old North Foundation, established in 1991, works with the City of Boston, the U.S. National Park Service, the Freedom Trail Foundation, and other nonprofits to foster educational and interpretative programs for students and visitors. The Boston Business Journal has consistently ranked it as one of the top nonprofit museums in Massachusetts, drawing about 500,000 visitors annually before the coronavirus pandemic.

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