27.7 C
Niagara Falls
Friday, July 12, 2024
NOTL Museum’s spotlight on donors: Lauren and Vaughn Goettler
Vaughn and Lauren Goettler have made significant contributions to the preservation of Niagara-on-the-Lake's heritage and history, through the Goettler Family Foundation.

Barbara Worthy
Special to The Lake Report

When philanthropists Lauren and Vaughn Goettler arrived in Niagara-on-the-Lake, their passion for history, preservation and community engagement immediately found a home. 

Not only in the 1908 four-level cottage heritage home they purchased in 2015, but also in their desire to champion projects that would improve, inspire and challenge the community. 

In 2020, they formed the Goettler Family Foundation to do just that and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum received the very first gift from the foundation.  

“I’ve always been a history buff,” said Vaughn Goettler, “and museums are a vital connection to our past — to the stories and people that remind us of the good as well as the bad.”

“Museums actually help us understand the roots of our community and gain a sense of who we are.”

That commitment to history convinced the Goettlers that the NOTL Museum’s expansion plans were essential and so they became one of the first donors to the capital campaign.

“This museum is already the little heartbeat of the town,” said Lauren Goettler. “But it really needs to be a bigger heartbeat.”

By spearheading the campaign, their six-figure donation created exactly what the couple intended and that heartbeat continues to grow.

Jodey Porter, director of the foundation, echoes the Goettlers’ sentiment.

“It’s very important to champion the activities of museums and of the NOTL Museum in particular. The sanctuary of history is beyond valuable today, because there are very few places where that can happen.”

Porter, herself a descendant of United Empire Loyalists, has overseen the foundation’s philanthropic projects, from supplying water to villages in Africa, creating fish farms in Bolivia, planting pollinators along Niagara’s heritage trail, to supporting countless local art groups.

“If Niagara-on-the-Lake didn’t treasure its history, which is what the museum does for us, we would be just another suburb of St. Catharines. Our history is what makes us different.”

Both Goettlers acknowledge the role the NOTL Museum holds in preserving and protecting treasures of local history, and for sharing that knowledge through its outreach programs and decades of archival collecting. 

“If we didn’t have the museum,” said Lauren Goettler, “just think of what we would lose. I love the fact that our history is there, and we know it’s safe.”

As retired entrepreneurs, the couple believes philanthropy is a social enterprise, with huge rewards.

“This is an affluent town,” said Vaughn Goettler.

“It shouldn’t be difficult to support cultural activities here and humanitarian projects overseas. Those of us who are able, should stand up and be counted.”

Which is exactly what Lauren and Vaughn Goettler do, with a passion.

And, as everyone associated with the NOTL Museum knows, that kind of commitment turns dollars into critical improvements, preservation and a future expansion that will honour the unique history of Niagara-on-the Lake.

Subscribe to our mailing list