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Windham Foundation History

The Windham Foundation is a not-for-profit organization located in Grafton, Vermont. The Foundation was established in 1963, and we carry the mission of the Foundation today: to promote the vitality of Grafton and Vermont's rural communities through its philanthropic and educational programs and its subsidiaries whose operations contribute to these endeavors.

Funding for the Windham Foundation came from Mr. Dean Mathey, a prominent investment banker from Princeton, New Jersey, with long family ties to Grafton. He was a partner in the investment firm, Dillon, Read & Company, Chairman of the Board of Empire Trust Company, Honorary Chairman of the Board of the Bank of New York, and a Princeton University Trustee. After overseeing the early years of the Windham Foundation, Mr. Mathey died in 1972, leaving his residual estate to the continuation of the Foundation’s work.

The first President of the Windham Foundation was Mat Hall, Mr. Mathey's cousin. He, along with his wife, Lib, oversaw many of the early efforts of the Windham Foundation, especially its restoration of the Grafton Inn in 1964. A year later, the Windham Foundation revived the Grafton Village Cheese Company, which once existed as a local cooperative for dairy farmers  (the original coop burned down in 1912). In 2001, the Foundation purchased the Retreat Farm in neighboring Brattleboro; preserving & protecting 475 acres of land and historic buildings in a partnership with the Vermont Land Trust. Today,the Grafton Inn and the Grafton Village Cheese Co are hallmarks of Grafton and are leaders in their respective industries. The Retreat Farm features a seasonal petting farm and the Retreat Trails, a nine-mile recreational trail network open to the community (in partnership with the Brattleboro Retreat) The Foundation is led by Bob Allen, who serves as President and CEO.