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Rebecca Gordon steps down as head of Governor’s Mansion foundation


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After nearly eight years at the helm, Rebecca Gordon is leaving the Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion at the end of the month.

Gordon took over as executive director in 2015 under then-Gov. Jay Nixon, using her 25 years of experience with nonprofits to help steer the group through three administrations and a pandemic that briefly shuttered the mansion’s doors last year. Gordon said the last year had been a challenge and it was time to step back to be with family. 

“A lot of my non-profit colleagues kind of hunkered down and made it through the pandemic, but 2021 has just been really exhausting,” Gordon told The Missouri Times. “We’re a small but mighty little shop, and it’s just time for a break.”

Gordon said she’s ready to focus on her work as an adjunct professor for Fox Valley Technical College in Wisconsin, where she handles part of its criminal justice training program, and consider her next steps.

As far as the organization is concerned, Gordon said she’s working with the board to pick an interim director and continue to assist during the transition. She said she would miss working with the mansion’s volunteers but was happy to be a resource for them moving forward. 

“It’s been an honor. What a beautiful building and an opportunity to be a steward of the stories and sharing the building with people for my tenure,” Gordon said. “I will miss it, but it was time to step back. Whatever they need, they know I’m just a phone call away.”

The mansion was built in 1871 and has been home to 36 first families. It is one of the oldest executive homes in the nation and was constructed in a mere eight months.

The mansion sees an estimated 50,000 visitors a year and is staffed by 65 volunteers who provide tours and conduct historical research. 

The foundation raises funds for the preservation of the building and its artifacts. It was established in 1974; Gordon was its third director.