On Sunday, August 13, 2017 members of the Frances Willard Historical Association (FWHA) voted to re-incorporate as a new non-profit organization, The Center for Women’s History and Leadership. The Frances Willard House Museum and Willard Memorial Library and WCTU Archives will continue as the focal points at the site, with tours, programs and research services expanding. But this change will allow for greater stewardship, increased capacity, and expanded programming for the entire property.
In 2018, the CWHL received a root2fruit alumni grant from the Evanston Community Foundation to fund a strategic planning and development initiative. The strategic plan is in process having identified eight critical success factors and ten key objectives grouped into four areas. The plans for each of the key objectives are in the process of being fleshed out. The development plan is also in process with plans being developed for upgraded fund-raising efforts and more focused appeals.
In conjunction with the WCTU, the CWHL is beginning the process of re-habilitating and re-purposing the WCTU Headquarters Building, located at the back of the property behind the Frances Willard House Museum. The CWHL received grants from both the National Trust for Historic Preservation and from Landmarks Illinois to begin work on bringing the building into code compliance for use as a rental space. The CWHL has contracted with the woman-owned and led Evanston preservation architecture firm McGuire Igleski Associates to lead this project.