THOMASTON – A world-famous philanthropist and a widely recognized news anchor will join together to help raise money for one of Maine’s most enduring history museums.

The General Henry Knox Museum has its annual fundraising gala Thursday evening, and the guest of honor is philanthropist Doris Buffett, sister of the famous investor Warren Buffett.

The event, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Strand Theatre in nearby Rockland, will help raise money for the museum’s education programs and preservation efforts surrounding the historic Montpelier mansion, which overlooks Thomaston from a perch high above Route 1.

“This is an event we do every year,” said Ellen Dyer, the museum’s executive director. “We find someone prominent who is willing to talk about a book they have written or talk about things related to history or current events. We generally fill the Strand Theatre and then have a gala dinner afterward for our major donors.”

Tickets cost $35, or $25 for museum members. The event raises about $50,000 each year, and the money goes to the museum’s bottom line and general operation, Dyer said.

“It’s our largest single fundraiser ever year,” she said.

Thursday’s event celebrates Buffett’s philanthropic endeavors in Maine and across the country through her Sunshine Lady Foundation.

During her talk, she will discuss her philosophy about giving, her childhood and her intention to give away her entire fortune before she dies. WCSH-6 TV anchor Rob Caldwell will interview Buffett on stage.

Her biography is titled “Giving It All Away: The Doris Buffett Story.” The book, published in the spring, will be available Thursday.

Buffett has said she believes in a hand up instead of a hand out. She wants to help people help themselves. She funds programs that help educate prisoners, that rebuild the lives of battered women and that teach college students about philanthropy.

Buffett bought a seasonal home in Maine in 2002. Among the organizations she has supported is the Knox Museum. She initiated the Patriot Challenge in 2002, which raised more than $200,000, and has been the primary funder of the Knox Museum’s Summer Teacher Institute, Dyer said.

Since 1996, the Sunshine Lady Foundation has supplied more than $50 million in grants.

The Knox Museum’s mission is to maintain Montpelier and operate it as a museum while providing insight into the life of Henry Knox, a Revolutionary War hero. Many historians credit Knox for turning the war in favor of the Continental Army during its early days.

In winter 1776, Knox led troops who carted 60 tons of cannon captured at Fort Ticonderoga in eastern New York to Dorchester Heights in Boston. That action help drive the British from Boston Harbor, and set in motion the events of the war that followed.

Knox became one of George Washington’s most trusted aides, rising to the rank of major general. After Washington became president, Knox was named secretary of war.

He retired to Thomaston in 1795 to live the life of a gentleman farmer at his 19-room mansion.

 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at: [email protected]