Projects completed in 2012


Projects Funded by the Renova Fort Ross Foundation.
In October of 2010 leadership from Renova signed an MOU with the State of California and the Fort Ross Interpretive Association (now Fort Ross Conservancy) with the goal “to raise awareness of the historical and cultural significance” of the fort.



Since that time Renova created the Renova Fort Ross Foundation, a US-based organization that has significantly raised the profile of Fort Ross both here and abroad. Renova Fort Ross Foundation has chosen to fund specific projects that help Fort Ross, but it is not underwriting day-to-day park operations. The list below describes all the Fort Ross Conservancy and California State Parks projects funded by Renova Fort Ross Foundation over the past 18 months. In addition to the projects listed below, Renova Fort Ross Foundation has funded its own Fort Ross-related outreach that will surely benefit Fort Ross for years to come. For Renova Fort Ross’ listing of funded projects, please see their website:


Historic Orchard Preservation.

We are grateful to both Renova Fort Ross Foundation and to local Susan Rudy for their work on protecting this valuable yet vulnerable cultural resource.


Phase One, funded in November 2011, provides assistance to complete immediate physical protection and improvements to the existing orchard: feral pig trapping, fence replacement/ improvement, and vegetation management. FRC has submitted CSP compliance documents, and this work is underway — in particular the pig trapping.

Phase Two provides funding to hire a professional historic landscape architect to write a Condition Assessment and Stabilization Plan and provide guidance on future improvements to the orchard area. We are working towards planting and interpreting a representative Russian and Ranch Era orchard on the site. California State Parks requires a report of this nature to provide the appropriate management for site restoration.

Total support to date from Renova Fort Ross Foundation for Orchard project: $84,518.00.

Future Projects: Phase 3, as yet funded, provides for a small conference of the best historic orchardists in the country to meet and plan the future of the orchard. In addition, FRC would like to plan for a future you-pick style heirloom orchard planted outside the boundaries of the historic orchard, both for its cultural value and to mitigate the pressure that the historic orchard undergoes during harvest.


Fort Ross Bicentennial Weekend Support.
Renova Fort Ross Foundation provided the much needed support that allowed us to throw a successful Fort Ross Bicentennial Weekend event. In particular, they generously provided sponsorship for: Sound equipment, allowing us to purchase wireless microphones and amplification for the historic re-enactments, purchase a podium with amplification, rent the stage, and plan for future equipment purchases that will allow us to have top-tier events in the future; $25,000.00 in total support.

Funded California State Park’s interpretive team (ISET) to train for and work the bicentennial weekend, providing the public with hands-on assistance; $38,063.00 in support.

Supplemented California State Park’s rangers’ time to plan for and execute Fort Ross Bicentennial Weekend; $15,000.00 in support.

Supplemented FRC’s support staff to help with the planning and execution of all Fort Ross Bicentennial events; $12,832.00 in support.


New Costumes Completed for 2012 Bicentennial Celebration cast.
Thanks to the sponsorship of the Renova Fort Ross Foundation, our Fort Ross Bicentennial Weekend on July 28 & 29, 2012, presented new historic scenarios with actors in a wide array of period costume. Fort Ross visitors stepped back in time when they witnessed these historical re-enactments of the Fort Ross era.


This “living theater” brought Settlement Ross to life, and was made all the richer by the shared history of the Russians, early Californians, the local Kashaya peoples, and the Native Alaskans that accompanied the Russians to Colony Ross.

When RFRF funded this project in early 2011, they knew FRBW 2012 would be a very special celebration. They were willing to commit to a project that required at least a year of advance planning, and we are grateful for their confidence.

Special thanks to David Rickman, Sherry Madrone, & Sarjan Holt for their work on the costumes.

Total support to date from Renova Fort Ross Foundation for the costumes, script, and scenario development: $54,786.00.


Russian Orthodox Concelebration at Fort Ross
Renova Fort Ross Foundation provided event sponsorship for the August 25, 2012, Fort Ross Bicentennial Russian Orthodox Con-Celebration, where hierarchs and clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Orthodox Сhurch in America and other Orthodox jurisdictions will con-celebrate the Divine Liturgy in commemoration of the bicentennial of the establishment of the first Russian settlement in California at Fort Ross. Renova Fort Ross Foundation sponsorship of $10,000.00 defrayed the cost of the event.


Library Digitization

Renova Fort Ross Foundation has underwritten the Fort Ross Library Project, which scans and makes searchable many of the one-of-a-kind documents and photos that live in FRC’s library. Our goal is to make these documents available to researchers and historians around the globe. To date we have scanned over 2000 manuscript pages and several hundred rare photographs. Documents are added weekly; check back often to see what’s been added.






Fort Ross Media Project
Fort Ross Conservancy has partnered with Abamedia, an international producer of television, film, new media, and archival properties for the global marketplace. Abamedia has been filming events at Fort Ross for the past eighteen months, and thanks to sponsorship by Renova Fort Ross Foundation, now offers stock footage on Fort Ross, and past and current Fort Ross events through the Fort Ross Media Project. Renova Fort Ross Foundation sponsorship of Fort Ross Media Archives: $25,000.00


Stanford-Russia Forum
In both 2011 and 2012, RFRF brought 50+ students from SURF (Stanford US Russia Forum) to Fort Ross for an overnight of history and community service. In addition, RFRF also sponsors Fort Ross’ presence at UC Berkeley’s SpringFest and many other local venues and universities. SURF is an international organization that is dedicated to exploring foreign policy through student collaboration.

We worked with a great group of young adults and we hope that they’ll carry their Fort Ross experience with them as they go out into the world. Renova Fort Ross Foundation underwriting of SURF group to Fort Ross for both 2011 and 2012: $20,708.00


Rotchev Roof Replacement
The Renova Fort Ross Foundation (RFRF) is underwriting a new roof for the Rotchev House. Renova Fort Ross Foundation is working with California State Parks to ensure that a historically accurate roof will be in place in 2012. We appreciate that the Renova Fort Ross Foundation has stepped in at this critical time to ensure that this most unique building does not undergo further damage. See photos

The Rotchev House, built circa 1836, is the only original Russian-built structure at Fort Ross and is the most important structure in the re-created Fort Ross compound. It is a national landmark structure. The roof repair work is scheduled to begin in early 2013.

Underwriting by Renova Fort Ross Foundation to California State Parks for replacement of the Rotchev House roof: approximately $158,000.00


Repair the Water Well
The Fort Ross water well, situated in the middle of the historic compound, has been deemed unsafe and was slated to be filled in. Thanks to RFRF, the well restoration project replaces the failing structure of the well and mitigates the drainage and erosion issues around the well surround. Work is scheduled to begin late 2012 or early 2013.

Renova Fort Ross Foundation sponsorship for this project is $27,500.00


New Sign, Better Visibility
Renova Fort Ross Foundation has underwritten a new entrance sign at Fort Ross State Historic Park, and it’s definitely an attention-getter! Most importantly, it lists the historic eras that make this place special: Former Russian Settlement, Early California Ranch, and Kashaya Territory. Now drivers passing by will know we’re not just another fort along the California coastline.

Renova Fort Ross Foundation sponsorship: $11,948.00


Visitor Center Upgrade
The Visitor Center is the first point of contact for visitors arriving at Fort Ross & it is critical to the Fort Ross experience. This building, which houses both public and administrative spaces, was constructed in the early 1980s. It has served its community well but it most definitely needs an upgrade.

Renova Fort Ross Foundation encouraged us to specify interim improvements to best prepare for 2012 celebrations. These changes – such as new carpeting, lighting, public media computers, storage for inventory, and upgraded kitchenette – all provide maximum improvements to enhance the visitor experience. The generosity of RFRF and their specific attention to detail is a benefit to us all.

Renova Fort Ross Foundation sponsorship for Visitor Center Upgrade: $90,000.00


Operational Support
While Renova Fort Ross Foundation has provided enormous infrastructure and event support to both FRC and California State Parks, they have determined that their mission does not include supporting day to day park operational costs. What they have done is provide support to FRC such that we can work towards finding the sustainable path to keeping Fort Ross open and accessible to the public. To that end, RFRF has funded grants that support:


  • Outreach – This grant aims to increase public awareness of Fort Ross both locally and abroad through the creation of brochures, printed materials, and exhibits, as well as event logistics. We have created collateral in both English and Russian to better educate the public about the unique history of Fort Ross. Much of this material will be available on our website, and distributed at the fort and other local spots. Total Outreach grant from Renova Fort Ross Foundation for both 2011 and 2012 = $42,155.
  • Executive Staff Support – RFRF recognized the necessity of having FRC be a strong, stable, growing organization. They have provided a grant to partially fund three of our executive staff during 2011 and 2012. We are grateful for the continued confidence Renova Fort Ross Foundation has shown us. Renova Fort Ross Foundation Executive support was $30,228.00 in 2011, and $72,547.00 in 2012.