The Oxon Hill Manor Foundation Endowment was established in May 2001 by the Oxon Hill Manor Foundation. Spendable Income from the Oxon Hill Manor Foundation Endowment provides financial support to students, by way of assistantships, to allow them to engage in hands-on historic renovation and restoration projects within the State of Maryland.
The Oxon Hill Manor, located in Oxon Hill, Maryland, was built in 1929 by Sumner Welles, later to become the Under Secretary of State in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. A Georgian style mansion, the Manor was located on 200 hundred acres of land adjacent to the site of the original Oxon Hill Manor built in 1710 by Thomas Addison. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1895. The site encompasses the remains of the original Manor foundation and the burial grounds of the Addison family. Sumner Welles retained the Manor name for the new brick building containing 49 rooms and extensive gardens. After Mr. Welles' death in 1961, the property remained in private hands but suffered from severe neglect. Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission purchased the Manor after the death of the last private owner. After much public discussion over possible uses, the Manor was leased by the Commission to the Oxon Hill Manor Foundation in consideration of the undertaking of the Foundation's members to restore, renovate and open the Manor to public use at no cost to local government.
The Oxon Hill Manor Foundation (renamed the Oxon Hill Foundation, Inc. in 2000) was incorporated in 1975 as a not for profit community membership organization. The Foundation's primary goal was to restore and open the Oxon Hill Manor.
The experience of the Foundation's members with restoration of the Oxon Hill Manor convinced them that restoration and renovation projects were within the reach of local community-based groups and that involvement of these groups could supplant the need for government intervention and become a catalyst for community activism. Since ending its hands-on participation in the restoration and operation of the Oxon Hill Manor, the Foundation has observed that once a community restoration project became a government activity, it is more distant from the community than when community members are responsible for it. The Foundation believes both private and government projects are appropriate in the field of historic renovation and restoration but that the community receives greater benefit when government allows community members to undertake, manage and operate local restoration projects when community members have the will to do so.
The Foundation believes that a more long-term approach to historic preservation and renovation would be served by providing aid to students who will use the Foundation's income to foster their own education and provide hands-on guidance and assistance to future restoration and renovation projects under the auspices of the University. The Oxon Hill Manor Foundation therefore established, through The University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., an endowed fund to support the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Maryland, College Park.