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Kossuth House

The Kossuth Foundation is working to establish the former HRFA headquarters building at DuPont Circle in the heart of Washington, D.C. as a new Hungarian Heritage Center in the Nation’s capital. Read More
Jul 11 2019

Kossuth House News

SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS TOWARD RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF A HUNGARIAN CULTURAL CENTER IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

July 11, 2019

Washington DC. The Kossuth Foundation is pleased to announce that the Government of Hungary has purchased the historic Kossuth House.  This property has served as a center in Washington DC for the Hungarian-American community and will once again be a community center for those of Hungarian ancestry and visiting Hungarian nationals.

Named the Kossuth House, after the Hungarian freedom fighter of the 1848 Revolution in Hungary, Lajos Kossuth, the building had served as the home of a nonprofit fraternal life insurance company, the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America (HRFA), which was established in 1896 with a Federal charter approved by Theodore Roosevelt.  For decades, the building served as a meeting place for visiting Hungarian artists and dignitaries and as the unofficial embassy of “Free Hungary” during the Communist era. 

The building will continue to be managed by the Kossuth Foundation, an independent, not for profit; the successor to the charitable work carried out by HRFA under a long-term management arrangement with the Government of Hungary.  The building is being purchased from a joint venture (JV) established between the Kossuth Foundation and a New York real estate developer, Silverback Development.  In 2017, the building was reacquired by this Joint Venture after litigation to resolve ownership rights brought by the successor life insurance company that merged with HRFA in 2011.

The government of Hungary, in partnership with the Kossuth Foundation, has agreed to provide the funding needed for some essential repairs.  These improvements would provide needed upgrades to the existing two-story structure built in in 1934 and designed by noted architect, Gertrude Sawyer. 

The legal work was performed by Robert Gage and Edward Dix of Covington & Burling LLP. Their professionalism and excellent counsel over the past seven years helped the Foundation to successfully conclude this complex international real estate transaction.

 “We are delighted to complete this transaction which will fulfill the dream of maintaining a Hungarian American community center in Washington DC” said Gábor (Gabe) Rózsa, Executive Director and Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.  The building will continue to be home to a Hungarian lending library, language classes and a variety of lectures, films, educational and cultural programs for the Hungarian-American community in the DC metro area under the direction of the Foundation.  We look forward to working with the Government of Hungary, and members of the Hungarian American community, make the Kossuth House fulfill the role it has served over several decades.” 

  

 

 

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Mission Statement

The mission of the Foundation is to, “foster diversity in American society and honor the presence of Hungarian Americans in it by maintaining and encouraging the language, heritage, religious traditions, and historical culture of Hungarians in America and the appreciation thereof.” [from Article I of the Kossuth Foundation Bylaws]

Kossuth Foundation Awarded Grant from the Bethlen Gabor Foundation

On May 24, 2018, the Kossuth Foundation was awarded a generous 1,000,000 HUF (approximately $3,600) grant from the Bethlen Gabor Foundation (Bethlen Gábor Alapitvány or BGA) to support the Kossuth Foundation’s adult Hungarian language education program. The BGA is supported by the National Policy Research Institute (Nemzetpolitikai Kutatóintézet) of the Government of Hungary. Upon hearing of the grant award, Gabor Rozsa, Executive Director of the Foundation, said “We are enormously appreciative of the generous support we have received from the Bethlen Gabor Foundation and the Hungarian Government.”

The Kossuth Foundation’s language program offers evening adult language education in the Washington, DC metro area at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The program employs professional teachers who are all native Hungarian speakers with practical experience in language education. In the past, the program has been supported by donations from students, and has struggled to break even. This new grant will allow the program greater flexibility to grow and provide more services to the community. Grant funds will be used to help defray the salaries of teachers and also to purchase supplies to enhance the ability of the classes to meet student needs.

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