Our Story

Our Story

For a National Historic Landmark that hasn’t budged an inch since 1884, the Wren’s Nest has traveled a great distance in a very short time. In July of 2006, our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was hanging on by a thread.

Bill collectors called incessantly, we owed over $112,000 to 19 different creditors around town, and Georgia Power almost shut off our lights. We had no money, no programming, and no light at the end of the tunnel.

It was grim.

Then you came along. Ideas and gifts from generous individuals like you kept the Wren’s Nest afloat. We got back on our feet and accomplished a great deal.

But don’t think we don’t still need your help!

Here’s a look at our accomplishments over the past few years on a shoestring budget. We are poised to continue growing, as long as we can make it through the next few months:

+ Completed a $200,000 conservation project.

+ Established the Wren’s Nest Publishing Company in partnership with the Decatur Book Festival and published 8 literary journals written entirely by Atlanta area high school students.

+ Established the Scribes Program  initially in partnership with KIPP STRIVE Academy, our neighborhood charter school, and last year expanded to Brown Middle School. We now have 7 books of stories written entirely by middle school students.

+ Invigorated and strengthened our governing board.

+ Built a brand from the ground up. See, for example: this very website, handsome brochures, thoughtful newspapers, awesome author events, advertisements, and so on.

+ Inspired recognition by news outlets near and far and by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission.
Brer Rabbit Illustrated by A.B. Frost

Being This Nation’s Most Exciting House Museum ain’t easy though. Earned income accounts for about 33% of our $208,000 operating budget. Generous gifts from people like you make what we do possible.

Read on for exactly how to make a gift to the Wren’s Nest. Your contribution will make a tremendous difference.

To give cash to the Wren’s Nest, simply make your check available to “The Wren’s Nest” and mail it to this address:

The Wren’s Nest
1050 R.D. Abernathy Blvd SW
Atlanta, GA 30310

To give stock via an electronic funds transfer, contact Sue Gilman,  Executive Director. Call 404-753-7735 or email sue@wrensnest.org.

To give via credit card please contact Sue Gilman  at 404-753-7735 with your number, expiration date, and designation. You may also give directly and safely online by clicking the “Donate Now!” button above. Simply type in the amount you wish to give and follow the instructions.

To make a bequest please review this suggested bequest language (.pdf) with your attorney.


Priorities & Needs

Mary and Joel Chandler Harris

Annual Giving

Annual giving is an opportunity for you to support a critical part of the Wren’s Nest: current operations. Your unrestricted support enables our staff to take full advantage of opportunities and address challenges in a timely manner.

Facilities and Planning

Our facility is more than just bricks and mortar. The Wren’s Nest is a living, breathing and, yes, occasionally crumbling National Historic Landmark that requires constant attention. You can ensure the safety of our visitors, the security of our programs, and the integrity of this national treasure.


Storytelling Programs
Akbar at the Decatur Book Festival

The Brer Rabbit stories have transcended centuries and continents. Our organization is lucky enough to preserve them and watch our storytellers perform over 250 times annually. Your gift will help us keep these stories alive and accessible to everyone.


Board Development

An organization is only as strong as its board of directors. If you feel you have more to give than a contribution, consider volunteering on our board of directors or on a committee.


Writing Programs
Trevon Brown in Don't Forget That Day

One of our greatest joys is watching one of our students see his or her name in print for the first time in a bound collection. You can help us strengthen and expand our writing programs to all of the students in our neighborhood.



The Wren’s Nest celebrated 100 years of operation in 2013. Your gift can ensure we preserve the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris and the heritage of African American folklore in perpetuity.


Is the Wren’s Nest in your will? If so, give Sue Gilman a call at 404-753-7735. She’d rather thank you than the executor of your estate.