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Our Story

What is Foundation Forward?

Foundation Forward, Inc. is an educational project. It is an organization that builds Your Charters of Freedom Settings in communities across the country.

Children examining the Declaration of Independence

Our Passion is to provide easy Access for all to visit these founding documents.

Our Vision is to provide this Access and Education in all communities across the United States of America. 

Our Goal is to educate and preserve American history.

How It Began

Fall scene

In the fall of 2011, Vance and Mary Jo Patterson were  in Washington, DC for meeting with some members of Congress and various organizations.  They had some free time and decided to go to the National Archives because they had never seen The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. Walking through the large bronze gates, they entered the Rotunda. There, on the other side of the room, were the founding documents on display –The Declaration of Independence on the left, four pages of The United States Constitution in the middle, and on the right, the original proposed amendments which contain our Bill of Rights. These three original documents are known as our Charters of Freedom. ​

When they got the chance, they stepped up to view The Declaration of Independence and began a very emotional experience. Vance recalls, “Seeing something our founding fathers had actually penned, and then their signatures – Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Rutledge and the others – I got goosebumps. And, when I moved over and saw the first page of The Constitution and the words, ‘We The People,’ I actually got a lump in my throat.”

Declaration of Independence signatures

In the spring of 2012, Vance tells how he remembers “sitting with Mary Jo on the Old Courthouse Green in Burke County, NC for a National Day of Prayer meeting, and towards the end of the service the thought came to me, ‘what if I could take the experience Mary Jo and I had in Washington at the National Archives the first time we saw the Charters of Freedom – what if we could bring that experience back to the citizens of Burke County?’ I started getting excited about it. After the meeting, I mentioned the idea to Mary Jo and we actually walked around picking out possible locations.”

Later that year, Vance began working on a project.  It turned out to be an education project: to build a Charters of Freedom Setting on the Old Burke County Courthouse Green.  Two years later on July 2, 2014 the first Charters of Freedom Setting outside of Washington, DC was dedicated in downtown Morganton, North Carolina.

This was only the beginning.