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The Royal Oak Foundation Announces Departure of Executive Director

Chelcey Berryhill - Monday May 04, 2015 10:30

Sean Sawyer to become President of The Olana Partnership

The Royal Oak Foundation announced today that Executive Director Sean Sawyer will leave on May 15 to become President of the Olana Partnership in Hudson, New York. The Foundation’s Director of Administration & Finance, Marilyn Fogarty, will serve as Interim Executive Director to ensure smooth functioning during this period of leadership transition. A search for a new Executive Director will be launched shortly.

Chairman Bruce Coleman Perkins and Vice Chair Lynne Rickabaugh stated: “Since joining Royal Oak in October 2010, Sean has been instrumental in making The Royal Oak Foundation a more professional and effective organization. He has strengthened our partnership with the National Trust and overseen three successful fundraising appeals – those for Ham House, Knole and Stourhead – with the 2012-2013 Campaign for Knole raising the most for a single Trust property in the Foundation’s history.”

Sean Sawyer will be departing Royal Oak in May.

Sean Sawyer will be departing Royal Oak in May.

Dr. Sawyer expressed his appreciation to Royal Oak’s members and supporters: “I have enjoyed and valued greatly the opportunity I have had to work with the Foundation’s Board, staff and supporters around the country to further our alliance with the National Trust over the past four and a half years.  I am very pleased with our accomplishments across the range of our operations; we have had some notable successes and have moved to strategically tighten our partnership with the Trust, while maintaining our own, distinct identity as an independent American non-profit.” He particularly cited the Foundation’s Drue Heinz Lectures and scholarships for the Attingham Summer School and the Horan Prize in Landscape History as distinguishing Royal Oak among the many American affiliates of British cultural and charitable organizations.

Dr. Sawyer expressed his desire to return to the direct management and development of a historic property, such as he was engaged with for 7 years at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in Brooklyn.  He added: “I am pleased and excited to accept the leadership position at Olana, which provides the opportunity to share my passion for history, art and architecture with the public, and to work with the community and supporters to accomplish a shared vision of a property as an essential and meaningful public resource.”

Established in 1973, The Royal Oak Foundation is the American partner of the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The Foundation’s mission is to inspire Americans to learn about, experience and support places of great historic and natural significance in the United Kingdom in partnership with the Trust.

For more information about the transition, contact Marilyn Fogarty, ext.
To contact Sean Sawyer, email him at