Andrew Jackson Foundation elects Janet Ayers to board

Staff Reports • Updated Feb 4, 2017 at 4:00 PM

NASHVILLE – The nonprofit Andrew Jackson Foundation recently elected business leader and philanthropist Janet Ayers to its board of trustees.

 Ayers currently serves as president of the Ayers Foundation, which focuses on improving the quality of life for people in Tennessee, specifically in Decatur, Henderson, Perry and Unicoi counties. To date, the Ayers Foundation has awarded more than 4,200 scholarships to graduating high school seniors. She has also been deeply involved with the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, a nonprofit and nonpartisan advocacy and research institution founded by former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist.

In addition to Ayers, the Andrew Jackson Foundation board of trustees’ officers and members include a national representation of business and philanthropic leaders. Officers are regent Frances Spradley, vice-regent and treasurer Bob McDonald, of Lebanon, past regent Gina Lodge and secretary Charles Overby. Other board members are Michael R. Beschloss, Carol Daniels, Anne Davis, Cindy Garfield, Willie Geist, Debby Patterson Koch, Mara Liasson, Ashley McAnulty, Jon Meacham, Thomas A. Negri, Kathy Nevill, Gif Thornton and Katy Varney. Howard Kittell is president and chief executive officer of the Hermitage. 

The Andrew Jackson Foundation aims to increase the public’s understanding of the complex life and times of Andrew Jackson and to discuss their relationship with current events through preservation, interpretation, exhibition, education, research and publication.

“Janet’s experience and her commitment to the Andrew Jackson Foundation will make her a wonderful addition to our board of trustees,” said Kittell. “Her nonprofit experience and background in education will help the foundation in its mission to engage and educate visitors about Jackson’s life and legacy.”

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: Home of the People’s President is one of the largest, most well-preserved and most visited presidential homes in the United States. Opened to the public in 1889, the Hermitage is one of America’s first presidential museums. The Hermitage currently is a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with 27 historic buildings, including Jackson’s mansion and tomb, restored slave cabins, a church and gardens. In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as archaeology and the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of 200,000 annual visitors. In 2015, the Hermitage launched Andrew Jackson: Born for a Storm, a state-of-the-art exhibit that delves into the life of Andrew Jackson, including his military and presidential careers. For more information, visit thehermitage.com.

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