Twenty questions for CWPT (1/4)

Jim Campi, spokesman for Civil War Preservation Trust was good enough to entertain twenty questions from this blogger and I will be sharing my questions and his answers this week without edits or comment. Hat tip to Eric Wittenberg for facilitating this exchange.

DR: Where can prospective members find CWPT financial information?

JC: The best source of financial information is our annual report, which we publish every year in April or May. We make the annual report available upon request – we also have it available on our website, at:


Right now, the 2005 annual report is still in production. However, we have put some preliminary data up on the website, showing expenses and revenues. Please note that our “overhead” is 12.2 percent, making CWPT one of the leanest conservation groups in the business.

Also, please note that the link to the 2004 report was inadvertently down part of the last year – I apologize profusely if you tried to access it, and were unable to (CWPT has for the first time hired a full-time technology officer/webmaster to help prevent those types of problems in the future).

DR: Do members elect CWPT officers?

JC: The 29-member CWPT board of trustees elects its officers once a year, at a regularly scheduled board meeting toward the end of April (this year’s elections will be held on April 19). The chairman can only serve two consecutive 1-year terms, which helps guarantee fresh leadership every few years.

The current officers are:
James Gilliland (Tenn.), Chairman
John Nau III (Texas), Vice-Chairman
Tod Sedgwick (Virginia), Treasurer
Henry Simpson (Alabama), Secretary

Also, there is a process for rotating trustees on and off the board – again, primarily to add fresh leadership to the board every few years.

DR: How is CWPT's board constituted?

JC: As I mentioned above, the CWPT board of trustees consists of 29 members. The board is composed of historians (such as Ed Bearss, Jay Winik and Dr. Libby O’Connell), successful businesspeople, and members of the preservation community. Many trustees were board members of the Civil War Trust and the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites before they merged to form CWPT. All are passionate about Civil War battlefield preservation, and each brings a different perspective to the challenges facing the organization.

DR: How might CWPT members change CWPT policies and operating principles?

The best method is by contacting CWPT staff and board members. We really are committed to trying to create the leanest, most effective preservation group in the nation. However, we recognize that we do not have a monopoly on good ideas – so we are always looking for suggestions from our members, who often have been volunteering on behalf of preservation for years.

The members of the CWPT staff are located at:
(we provide emails and phone numbers for staff).

The members of the board are located at:
(we do not provide e-mails and other contact information for board members, as they serve in a volunteer capacity, and are very busy at their full-time jobs; however, members can write trustees in care of the CWPT Washington office, and they will be mailed to them).

DR: Should preservationists oppose CWPT's policies from inside or outside CWPT?

It is probably not my place to say – individual preservationists should do what they think is in the best interests of the battlefield/battlefields they are trying to save. However, I would say that we at CWPT do take constructive criticism very seriously, and welcome the chance to correct mistakes or implement suggestions.

One thought that might help enlighten you on our commitment to improve the organization and the service we provide members: many of us here at CWPT donate our own money and time to the preservation cause. For instance, I personally volunteered for the organization prior to being hired, have donated my own money to CWPT fundraising appeals, and continue to volunteer on my own time. I also belong to several local battlefield preservation organizations. In this I am not unique – many other CWPT staffers do the same.