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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: March 15, 2024
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Christian Martinez, Christian.Martinez@governor.virginia.gov | Office of the First Lady: Ciara Rascona, Ciara.Rascona@governor.virginia.gov

First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin and Governor Glenn Youngkin Announce First of Six 2024 Spirit of Virginia Award Recipients

~ The Governor and First Lady presented the Spirit of Virginia Award to The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association on March 15, 2024 ~

Presentation of March 2024 Award
First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin and Governor Glenn Youngkin at the Spirit of Virginia Award Ceremony on March 15, 2024. Official photo by Shealah Craighead.

MOUNT VERNON, VA Governor Glenn Youngkin and First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin yesterday presented a Spirit of Virginia Award to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (MVLA), the first national historic preservation organization in the United States.

As a private not-for-profit and nonpartisan organization, the MVLA’s mission is to preserve George Washington’s home to the highest standards and to educate visitors and people around the world so that his legacy continues to inspire future generations. Mount Vernon does not accept government funding and instead relies upon donations and ticket revenue to support its operations.

“The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association commitment to preservation has provided an unmatched opportunity for Virginians to learn about George Washington’s legacy and the Commonwealth’s history," said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “In rescuing America’s most historic home and pioneering the preservation space, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association embodies what it means to uplift the spirit of Virginia, and we thank them for their past and ongoing efforts.”

“It is fitting that during Women’s History Month we celebrate the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association’s centuries-old commitment to preserving one of our Commonwealth’s most historic homes,” said First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin.

“Virginia’s history is America’s history, and we are reminded of the women whose vision led to today’s Mount Vernon and a greater understanding of our nation’s founding.”

“We are honored to be the first recipient of the 2024 Spirit of Virginia Award,” said Margaret Hartman Nichols, 23rd Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. “The Association’s legacy of stewardship began with our trailblazing founder, Ann Pamela Cunningham, and has continued for the last 166 years uninterrupted. It is fitting that the home of the man who was first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen was rescued by the women who were first in preservation.”

The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association has owned and managed George Washington's Mount Vernon since its purchase from the Washington family in 1858. The MVLA has recently embarked upon its most ambitious preservation efforts to date with its Mansion Revitalization project, which will safeguard the Mansion’s original building fabric and ensure its structural integrity for generations to come. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is a shining example of the Spirit of Virginia at work.

The Spirit of Virginia Award recognizes unique qualities and standout achievements across the Commonwealth and salutes Virginians for their uncommon contributions in private industries, education, culture, the arts, and philanthropy.

The Governor and Mrs. Youngkin will present five more Spirit of Virginia Awards in 2024, and all recipients of the Spirit of Virginia Award will be recognized during a holiday reception at the Virginia Executive Mansion to take place at the end of the year.

Click here to learn more about The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

Follow the First Lady on Facebook and Instagram as she celebrates Virginians all across the Commonwealth.

Governor and First Lady Youngkin recite a prayer at George Washington's tomb First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin delivers remarks
Governor and First Lady Youngkin recite a prayer at George Washington's tomb at Mount Vernon on March 15th, 2024. Official photo by Shealah Craighead. First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin delivers remarks at the Spirit of Virginia Award ceremony on March 15th, 2024. Official photo by Shealah Craighead.
Governor and First Lady Youngkin meet a school group touring George Washington's Mount Vernon Margaret Hartman Nichols, 23rd Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association delivers remarks
Governor and First Lady Youngkin meet a school group touring George Washington's Mount Vernon on March 15th, 2024. Official photo by Shealah Craighead. Margaret Hartman Nichols, 23rd Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association delivers remarks at the Spirit of Virginia Award ceremony on March 15th, 2024. Official photo by Shealah Craighead.

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