Young America’s Foundation purchases former president’s boyhood home
Young America’s Foundation announced Friday that the organization is the new caretaker and owner of President Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home in Dixon, Illinois.
YAF, which also preserves the former president’s Rancho del Cielo in the Santa Ynez mountains and owns the Reagan Ranch Center on lower State Street, hopes to carry on the important work of protecting the property.
The home was previously managed and cared for by the Ronald Reagan Home Preservation Foundation since 1980.
It was built in 1891, and provided a formative experience for President Reagan growing up in the 1920s. He once said of his hometown, “All of us have a place we go back to. Dixon is that place for me. There was the life that has shaped my body and mind for all the years to come.”
YAF’s acquisition will be a significant component of its efforts to share the achievements and ideals of President Reagan with future generations, particularly in the midwest.
“Young America’s Foundation looks forward to a strong partnership with the Dixon community,” YAF President Ron Robinson said. “The involvement of the community in the Santa Barbara area is still strong more than two decades after YAF acquired the Reagan Ranch. YAF plans to build on that model while we open this historic presidential site to visitors from across the country and around the world.”
The organization will preserve the childhood home through private funding rather than through state or federal taxpayer dollars, just as with the Reagan Ranch.
“Ronald Reagan shaped my values and, most importantly, my optimistic view of America,” said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, CEO and incoming president of YAF. “Like Ronald Reagan, I grew up in a small Midwestern town. I love visiting Dixon and touring the well-preserved boyhood home of our 40th President.”
The home will be available to the public, promoting President Reagan’s legacy and conservative values he learned as a young man.
“It is my hope that by sharing the story of Ronald Reagan’s early years through his boyhood home in Dixon, we will give young people and all visitors a new appreciation for one of our nation’s greatest leaders and the values he learned and fought for,” Gov. Walker said.
The organization is determined to preserve ideas and accomplishments of those who advanced freedom for future generations.
Patrick Gorman is the executive director for the Ronald Reagan Home Preservation Foundation, and said he’s pleased that YAF chose to carry on the work he and his staff have been doing since 1980.
“For the past year, in our discussions with YAF’s leadership, it was clear this was the right decision — not only financially, but also to secure the future of the home in Dixon for many years to come. Many thanks go to Young America’s Foundation and its board for this wonderful opportunity. I look forward to a smooth transition and ongoing partnership,” he said.
The organization hasn’t announced its plans for the home yet amid COVID-19. Rancho del Cielo is closed off to the public, but YAF offers tours to groups of high school and college students and select supporters of the foundation. The nonprofit also holds events at the property, such as the 9/11: Never Forget Project.