Thomas Jefferson Poplar Forest

A new challenge grant is raising money for a new entrance road into Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest has received a new one-to-one challenge grant from the Genan Foundation in Charlottesville on behalf of the late Anne R. Worrell.

Worrell helped found the Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, the nonprofit formed in December 1983 to rescue, restore, preserve and share Jefferson’s retreat home. The funds raised from the challenge grant will help support construction of the planned new entrance road into the historic site, the Poplar Forest Parkway.

Poplar Forest has already raised $80,000 in gifts and pledges toward the $200,000 goal; it must raise the total amount by Dec. 15, in order to receive the grant.

“Mrs. Worrell was committed to the construction of the new entrance road from its inception and, when this challenge grant has been met, most of the funds necessary for its construction will be in place,” said Andrew J. Dracopoli, vice president of the Genan Foundation.

The new access road will make Poplar Forest more easily accessible to visitors. The parkway will also be designed as an interpretive experience as it traverses fields, streams and old-growth Virginia forest across the plantation to the core of the retreat.

The parkway and an accompanying trail system will open more than 600 acres of agricultural and natural landscapes to visitors for the first time. New information — gleaned from extensive archaeological exploration of the plantation — of cultural, natural and historic significance will be included in wayside signage.

“We are indebted to Mrs. Worrell for her generosity and unending dedication to Poplar Forest’s success,” said Alyson M. Ramsey, interim president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest. “Anne was a driving force and tireless champion of our efforts to restore the octagonal villa and grounds to Jefferson’s original design for nearly 36 years, as the chair of the board of trustees and a steadfast supporter. We are deeply grateful for her vision, leadership and generosity.”

Worrell and her late husband, Gene, were among a group of individuals who formed the Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.

For more information about the Genan Foundation Challenge Grant to Poplar Forest or to make a donation, visit or contact Alyson Ramsey at 434-534-8128.