About the Anton Chekhov Foundation
The goal of the Anton Chekhov Foundation (ACF) is to honour Chekhov’s literary and humanitarian legacy through a variety of cultural and charitable projects. A registered UK charity, it was established in 2008, with the initial aim of campaigning for the long-term preservation of the remarkable dacha in Yalta which Chekhov built for himself and his family at the end of his life. Its activities are currently focused on translation projects and the creation of hospital gardens.
[extract from ACF press release 26 October 2010]
In November 2008, the British charity the ‘Anton Chekhov Foundation’ was established, with the specific objective of securing the preservation of the White Dacha for future generations. The long-term goal was to encourage either the Ukrainian government or the Russian government to provide funds for the restoration and upkeep of this cultural site ofinternational importance. The Foundation has three directors, two British, one Russian, and counts as its patrons Michael Frayn, Tom Stoppard, Ralph Fiennes, Kenneth Branagh, Prunella Scales and Evgeny Lebedev.
The Foundation’s immediate goal of publicising the White Dacha’s plight to a wider audience was extremely successful: articles in the British national press werepicked up by the Russian and Ukrainian media and interviews followed with news outlets in those countries, including with Ukraine’s main TV station, Inter.In January 2010, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Chekhov’s birth, the Anton Chekhov Foundation, with the assistance of Michael Pennington, organised a week of high profile fund-raising events at the Hampstead Theatre in London.
Numerous well-known writers, actors and directors generously gave their time to help to raise awareness and raise funds to reverse the plight of this most important of historical monuments, amongst them Richard Eyre, David Hare, Michael Frayn, William Boyd, Lynne Truss, Dame Eileen Atkins, Miriam Margolyes, Harriet Walter, Rosamund Pike and Simon Russell Beale. At the close of theweek-long sell-out programme, the Campaign had raised over £60,000 (including a major donation from Evgeny Lebedev), and the story of the White Dacha and its potential loss for posterity became more widely known throughout the world. When the literary exhibition and archive building next to the White Dacha was damaged in a hurricane in February, the Anton Chekhov Foundation was able to pay for emergency repairs, and so to guarantee the safety of thousands of precious manuscripts and documents.
The 150th anniversary of Chekhov’s birth has been a cause for true celebration. Following the lead of the Anton Chekhov Foundation, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (since January under a new President, Viktor Yanukovych),the government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the US Ambassadors Fund have now come forward to provide financial support for the full renovation of the White Dacha. A grant of two million Ukrainian hryvna (around £160,000) fromthe Cabinet of Ministers and the government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is being used to pay for major structural repairs and restoration of the house, the garden and outlying buildings.
The US Ambassadors’ Fund, meanwhile, has donated $40,000 for the restoration of the Chekhov family’s original fabrics and furnishings. Directors from the Anton Chekhov Foundation have been active in discussing the restoration programme with the Ukrainian government and the US Embassy. They have also maintained close contact with the museum director and have regularly visited the museum to monitor the progress of therestoration work.
The directors of the Foundation are delighted to have been able to work so closely with the museum towards achieving the campaign goal. The Anton Chekhov Foundation will continue to support the museum and its staff in their work as it now devotes itself to finding new ways to honour the artistic, ecological and humanitarian legacy of Anton Chekhov.