2018 – 2020 President’s Term Report

Who we are. Why we are.

Leaders. Entrusted. Dedicated. Inspiring. Professionals.

1 Cyndi Z 6.18It was a pleasure to serve as President of the Governor’s Mansion Foundation these past two years, 2018 – 2020. When I look back at my term, Charles Dickens’ saying “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” comes to mind. Not in the same sense Dickens’ meant in his  super famous French Revolution novel, A Tale of Two Cities – but in the sense that as a non-profit organization entrusted with preserving and maintaining the integrity of the Governor’s Mansion’s nine public rooms for our state’s citizen’s — 2019 was an outstanding  year of participation in our events and tours. However, 2020 saw everything shut down.

The year 2019 brought record public involvement and appreciation of the Mansion tours never experienced before. Our Docents saw an increase of 972 more reservations than in 2018. Success was based on many factors – more awareness through social media and an updated website along with adding special tours and events. With these numbers we learned tour goers enjoyed integrating tours with first person history interpretations, history of the Mansion, and events. In addition, Chamber Concerts were sold out.  A record number of attendees came to our Holiday Social and membership was growing. It was the best of times.

 With the New Year of 2020, the robust activity experienced in 2019 continued. Then came COVID-19. By mid-March, all tours, concerts, and events for the year were cancelled (until January 2021) as a precautionary response to the coronavirus outbreak. The last three months of my term were “the worst of times” never experienced before.

Even though our public efforts as an organization were curtailed in mid-March, we continued to work as a team despite the stay-at-home orders. We are thankful for virtual online capabilities (and our talented trustees who headed up the technology side) to meet as a board, officers, committees, etc.  Plans for the year may have changed, but we are still looking forward to the day we can reopen your Mansion to the public again via weekly tours, Chamber Concerts, and social events.

Yes, the last three months of my term were an unprecedented challenge to all of us, however, we as an organization, country, state, county, and city will rise above this “great pause” and see life very differently. Hopefully, we will all be stronger and wiser.

Be safe my dear friends and colleagues,

Cyndi Zechmann
GMF President
June 2018 – June 2020

Mission Statement

The Governor’s Mansion Foundation, an all-volunteer, non-profit, non-partisan organization, honors the historical and cultural importance of the Washington State Governor’s Mansion by maintaining and enhancing furnishings and art for the public rooms of the Mansion, educating the public about the Mansion and its history and advocating on its behalf.

Tour Program
made possible by the Docents

 Dedicated. Service beyond self. Educated. Committed.  Creative.

Tour Data Reflects Success in Attracting Visitors

The Tour Program began a project in 2017 to promote awareness. Collecting tour reservation data was initiated, a webpage created, and outreach information distributed. In addition, the concept of offering weekend and special tours was tested. A Sunday Summertime Tour, Women’s History in the Mansion, and a fall Historical Renovation Tour showcasing recent renovations made to the exterior of the Mansion (restoring the original 1909 appearance) and redecorating the guest bedrooms, all proved hugely successful and told us that integrating special tours and events was popular. Guests were keen to learn more about the Mansion’s story, furnishings, and art collection.

The data collection project gave information about the awareness effort and guest preferences. Annual fiscal year end reports showed attendance for the periods 2017, 2018 and 2019 were steadily trending upward. The largest dramatic impact was in 2019 (Jan 1- Dec. 31) with an increase of 972 reservations from 2018. Data directly showed special tours and events increased tour attendance. With this valuable information, the Tour Program recognized that tour goers enjoy integrating tours with first person history interpretations, history of the mansion, and events.

Covid-19 and Suspending Tours

Tours started strong in January 2020 which included special tours offering a “1909 Housewarming History” presentation by Shanna Stevenson as Zephorina Cosgrove recalling the events in January 1909 when the then new Governor’s Mansion opened its doors to dignitaries and Olympia residents for the first time. By February, tours were experiencing large cancellations that continued into March. On March 11, Wednesday Docent Chairs met and agreed as a precautionary response to the coronavirus outbreak, and in support of local officials and government leaders, Wednesday tours at the Mansion would be suspended, to resume tentatively after Labor Day on September 9.  The Mansion Administrator, DES, Tour Services and GMF Docents were immediately notified of the decision.

Going Forward in the Interim

While Capitol Campus tours are canceled for the duration of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” emergency order, communicating with other organizations who offer tours has been helpful in understanding the challenges of re-opening tours and keeping volunteers and guests safe.  With too many unknowns right now, the Tour Program will work toward developing program alternatives.

In the interim, a special tour, “Washington Ratifies the US 19th Constitutional Amendment for Women’s Suffrage”, commemorating the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, initially intended for the March Women’s History Tours at the Mansion, has been modified for on-line purposes. The production will be a Zoom video recorded by Nancy Mackin. In this costumed, first-person presentation, Elisabeth Schafer is the presentation narrator, with Shanna Stevenson as Representative Frances Haskell, Dawna Donohue as Representative Anna Colwell, and long-time suffragists will be portrayed by Ann Olson as Emma Smith DeVoe and Judy Henderson as Carrie Hill.


There are 36 Active Docents and 7 Inactive/Reserve Docents.

  • 2020 New Docents – Carole Andrews, Elizabeth Raybould, and Carole Andrews completed docent orientation class on February 26.
  • 2019 Retired 3rd Wednesday Docents – Nancy Snyder and Mary Anne Folsom.

Dawna Donohue, Docent Chair

2018 – 2020 

Some of the public rooms entrusted to the Foundation to maintain and enhance the rooms’ furnishings and art.

Special Tours in 2019/2020

Women’s History, Suffrage  – highlighted tours

In 2019 and 2020 the Foundation put an emphasis on integrating tours and special events into the larger themes of the state, emphasizing Washington artists and relating Foundation collections to the Washington story. The GMF Tour Program brought first person interpretations to tour goers about events and personalities in the Mansion as well as emphasizing Women’s History in the Mansion including the state’s first ladies and landmark historical events.

We are exceptionally proud of our record of service to the state and its people through private fundraising to acquire and care for our collection. Our remarkable Docents have given thousands of volunteer hours conducting free tours for residents and visitors relating the fascinating history of the house as an important part of Washington’s heritage.


January 2019 – Suffragists Trail

Docent Shanna Stevenson portraying Spokane Suffragist May Arkwright Hutton at the Mansion housewarming in January 1909, addressing the right of women to vote as pivotal legislators were present.

Docent Shanna Stevenson.

March 2019  – Meet some of Washington’s First Ladies and one Governor on “Special First-Person tours”

Docents Ann Olson, Joan Houchen, Dawna Donohue Back row: Elisabeth Schafer, Donna Doyle, Judy Henderson and Brim Smith

January 2020  – 1909 Housewarming History

Shanna Stevenson portrayed “Zephorena Cosgrove”, wife of Washington Governor Samuel Cosgrove, the sixth governor of the state of Washington.

Docents Dawna Donohue and Shanna Stevenson
Docents Dawna and Paul Donohue

March 2020Women Gain the Right to Vote in 1920

March 2020 – Washington Ratifies the US 19th Constitutional Amendment for Women’s Suffrage”. Costumed docent, Shanna Stevenson portraying Representative Frances Haskell in portrayal of the March 22, 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for voting rights for women by the Washington State Legislature.

GMF Docent Shana Stevens
Docent Shanna Stevenson

Sustained by Endowment, donations, and fundraisers

Endowment. Fundraisers. Donations.

Self-sustaining at no taxpayers’ expense.  

Endowment Program

In 1988 the Board of the Governor’s Mansion Foundation voted to establish an endowment fund to provide a permanent source of income for the acquisition and maintenance of the furnishings and art for the Mansion.  This fund was intended to provide for non-operational projects.

The Endowment was promoted as a Centennial Gift to Washington as the state celebrated its 100th Birthday in 1989.

Since 1999 the Endowment has been placed with the Seattle Foundation, which administers two separate funds for us:

Endowment Fund

The assets of the Fund are held by the Seattle Foundation and comingled with other Seattle Foundation property for investment purposes.  A percentage of the fund is annually distributed to the Governor’s Mansion Designated Fund.

Designated Funds

The funds distributed into the Designated Fund are the funds we are allowed to spend on the Mansion furnishings, art and educational programs.  This fund continues to earn income and that is also ours to spend.  However, the Seattle Foundation retains control of these funds and we must request a grant from them each time we need support for a project.

Our Endowment Funds are doing well and we have over one million dollars in the Endowment and Designated Funds, and that provides the Governor’s Mansion Foundation with a sense of stability and ensures that we will be able to continue maintaining and preserving the Mansion, and providing public education about the Mansion regardless of future membership and fundraising.

Other sources of income to cover Foundation operations

 Throughout the year many members, companies and friends of the Mansion donate generously to the operational fund of the Foundation.  In addition, the Chamber Concerts, wine socials, retail sales, and art exhibits  – all hosted and put on by the Foundation – are self-supporting and well attended fundraisers.

The volunteers who make this all possible

Officers and Committees

Dedicated. Hardworking. Professional.  

OFFICERS 2020 – 2022

Dawna Donohue, president

Lorraine Hamilton, vice president

Elisabeth Schafer, secretary

Shirley Legg, treasurer


August 2020




Miriam Bausch, Chair


Kathy Rosmond, Chair Diane Waiste


Area 2 Virginia McCarty, Chair
Area 3 Suzanne Jones, Chair
Area 4 Cherie Hanses, Chair Helen Mahoney
Kristen Simms John Baule
Area 8 Kathy Rosmond, Chair Elisabeth Schafer


Mary Elizabeth Karpel, Chair Elisabeth Schafer
Dawna Donahue Liz Bolling
Virginia McCarty Diane Waiste
Patrick Farwell Patsy Ellis
Sandra Boswell Shanna Stevenson
Cherie Hanses Helen Mahoney
Kristen Simms

Peale Program Subcommittee:

Shanna Stevenson Pat Keith
Dawna Donohue Luellen Charnesky
Ann Olson Patsy Ellis


Laurie Maricle, Chair Michelle Nanney
Miriam Bausch Marsha Lorentson (non-trustee)
Kaye Scott Norma Bauer


Virginia McCarty, Chair Dawna Donohue
Diane Waiste Pat Keith
Shanna Stevenson Carl Eshelman(non-trustee)


Kaye Smith, Chair

Members; President Dawna Donohue, Vice President Lorraine Hamilton; Secretary Elisabeth Schafer; Treasurer Shirley Legg; Interior Design Chair Patsy Ellis; Furnishings Chair Jill Wolf; Art Chair Mary Elizabeth Karpel.


The four executive officers, all standing and ad-hoc committee chairs, all area chairs


Laurie Maricle, Chair Carl Eshelman(non-trustee)
Cynthia Zechmann Shanna Stevenson
Dawna Donohue Miriam Bausch
Patrick Farwell Elisabeth Schafer
Diane Waiste Mary Elizabeth Karpel
Marcia David Michelle Nanney
Ann Olson Kaye Scott
Shirley Legg Michele Harriage


Shirley Legg, Chair Jill Wolf
Ann Olson Kaye Smith


Jill Wolf, Chair B.J. Lutz


Jill Wolf, Chair B.J. Lutz
Kaye Smith Linda Ward
Ann Olson Betty Gill
Cyndi Zechmann


Ann Olson, Chair Pat Keith
Patsy Ellis Joan Houchen
Jill Wolf


Nancy Mackin, Chair Kirsten Conklin
Virginia McCarty Mary Elizabeth Karpel
Lorraine Hamilton


Patsy Ellis, Chair Diane Waiste
Liz Bolling Laurie Maricle
Shanna Stevenson


Patrick Farwell, Chair


Linda Ward, Chair Penny Keirsey


Shanna Stevenson, Chair Betty Gill
Laurie Maricle


Marcia David, Interim Chair Lorraine Hamilton
Christine Alexander Toni Weaver (Trustee Emeritus)


Dawna Donohue, Chair Elisabeth Schafer, Co-Chair
Donna Doyle (non-trustee) Heather Lockman (non-trustee)
Cyndi Zechmann Rita Niesen (non-trustee)
Joan Houchen Shanna Stevenson
Judy Henderson (non-trustee) Kathy Rosmond