More than 1,000 Filoli volunteers have signed a new volunteer agreement, Executive Director Cynthia D'Agosta announced in a prepared statement Monday afternoon.
"In recent days there have been a number of inaccurate or incomplete media reports concerning Filoli and our volunteers," she said in the statement. "These reports suggested a level of division within the organization that is exaggerated."
There has been considerable controversy over the agreement, and Ms. D'Agosta has declined interview requests.
Filoli later decided to allow volunteers to opt out of a controversial clause releasing Filoli from liability for damages to volunteers.
Heidi Brown, president of Filoli's volunteer group, Friends of Filoli, explained the origins of the agreement in an interview with the Almanac.
Text of statement
Below is the Filoli statement, emailed to the Almanac on Monday afternoon from Larry Kamer of the Kamer Consulting Group, an Oakland-based crisis communications management company.
"(WOODSIDE, CA -- Monday, March 2, 2015) -- Cynthia D'Agosta, Executive Director of Filoli (www.filoli.org), issued the following statement today:
"In recent days there have been a number of inaccurate or incomplete media reports concerning Filoli and our volunteers. These reports suggested a level of division within the organization that is exaggerated.
"Filoli truly values the contributions of its 1300 registered volunteers. Without them, Filoli would not be the same wonderful and special place it is. Over 1,000 volunteers have decided to sign the new volunteer agreement and continue to help preserve and protect Filoli as they always have. Regrettably, a very small number of individuals took inaccurate interpretations of the new agreement to several media organizations, including local TV stations.
"In addition to protections afforded under state and federal laws, Filoli volunteers, members and visitors are all covered by a policy that has been in place for many years. Recently, Filoli's Governing Board, a group of 31 volunteers, approved changes to include a volunteer agreement designed to protect both the institution and the volunteers.
"These changes signify responsible stewardship of this precious estate owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and bring Filoli into alignment with virtually all other museums and cultural institutions of its kind.
"Filoli has experienced no significant loss of volunteers or volunteer hours, nor do we expect to.
"We are implementing an outreach campaign to our members and media organizations to clear up any confusion these initial stories may have generated, and we value all input concerning ways in which communications can be improved. We welcome any and all inquiries and invite everyone to visit Filoli, take advantage of our educational opportunities, and volunteer at Filoli. "