Soon, the farmhouse will be home to a new tenant – the Valley Forge Park Alliance (VFPA), the local philanthropic partner of Valley Forge National Historical Park. In 2020, the National Park Foundation (NPF) awarded a Strong Parks, Strong Communities capacity building grant to VFPA to finish its fundraising and business plans for the Maurice Stephens house project. VFPA had previously identified the need for a headquarters within Valley Forge National Historical Park as well as the need to develop a source of earned income. The Maurice Stephens house project will achieve both of these goals with a public serving café on the first floor and VFPA’s offices on the second floor. The project complements the National Park Service’s goal to activate this site by providing visitor services at the gateway to Grand Parade trail network.
An additional Strong Parks, Strong Communities capacity building grant from NPF in 2022 is helping VFPA see this campaign through to completion. The organization was able to commission a new campaign video and upgrade its website. “The video has been the perfect tool for sharing information about the campaign broadly and to many different audiences,” says Molly Duffy, Executive Director at VFPA, and “the new website makes it much easier for people to join the Alliance as members and register for events.”
In late September 2023, VFPA held a groundbreaking event with close supporters at the Maurice Stephens House, featuring remarks from NPS and VFPA staff, as well as NPF’s own Steve Grourke, Senior Vice President of Leadership Giving. Construction is expected to finish late in the summer of 2024. The NPS, NPF and VFPA are all looking forward to unveiling the project and welcoming visitors to Valley Forge during the America250 commemoration and for generations to come.