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archives of the united states

The Founders and The Vision

Vance & Mary Jo Patterson
Vance & Mary Jo Patterson

In 2011, Founders Vance and Mary Jo Patterson took a trip to Washington, DC. They visited the National Archives and experienced the United States' founding documents for the very first time.


Vance recalls that when he saw something the Founding Fathers had actually penned it gave him goosebumps. When they read the words, “We the People”, he saw tears in Mary Jo’s eyes.


This emotional experience made a lasting impression on the couple and would go on to shape the organization that exists today. 

The Vision

In 2012, Vance had an idea, "What if we could duplicate that experience we had in Washington, D.C.? What if we could bring that experience back to the citizens of Burke County, North Carolina?"


Two years later, the couple gifted the very first Charters of Freedom setting outside of Washington, D.C. to the citizens of Burke County. Carrying that same vision, with the goal to reach other communities across America, Foundation Forward, Inc. was officially formed.


It now operates as a nonprofit educational project that promotes civics, education, and the preservation of American history. Over 30 settings have been dedicated across the country in nine states.

Charters of Freedom
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