Weare NH

2019 Preservation Achievement Award Winner: Terry Knowles

Terry Knowles received an award for her outstanding public service, leadership and support of statewide historic preservation-related activities in a career of nearly four decades. (Photo by Rick Kipphut )

Terry Knowles received an award for her outstanding public service, leadership and support of statewide historic preservation-related activities in a career of nearly four decades. (Photo by Rick Kipphut )

Terry Knowles has been an incredible problem solver for historic places, as well as an educator about charitable “best practices” for almost four decades. People who care about New Hampshire’s historic libraries, grange halls, cemeteries, easements and age-old trust funds know Terry’s commitment to public service.

A UNH graduate, Terry Knowles held the position of Assistant Director of Charitable Trusts at the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office for 37 years on a full-time basis and continues to work there part-time. She is twice past president of the National Association of State Charity Officials, and writes and lectures locally and nationally on the nonprofit sector. Her expertise on charitable trusts makes Terry an especially popular drafter of laws, including the federal Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act. She has made presentations at Georgetown, Columbia and Harvard University on nonprofit issues.

She has an impressive resume of civic leadership and contributions beyond her day job as well. Terry served as a Commissioner on the Southern NH Planning Commission for 27 years, served as trustee of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, and currently chairs the New Hampshire Historic Burial Ground Commission. She is the State Chair of the DAR Special Project Grants Program and in her hometown of Weare, has served on the Mildred Hall Bequest Advisory Committee where she approved grants to preserve unique land and buildings in town. She is a former Weare Library Trustee, Cemetery Trustee, and Selectwoman.

Terry is also an adjunct professor at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire and teaches in the Master of Public Administration program.

It is this remarkable track record and dedication to her job and extracurriculars that keeps her phone ringing. Terry receives calls from local officials daily about the use—and misuse —of charitable funds. To help local officials learn their responsibilities, Terry created and then delivered a series of annual seminars for municipal cemetery, library and trust fund trustees. They have gone on for more than 30 years, and we’re sure that many of you have attended them in the past and had Terry answer your very specific question about opportunistic selectmen looking for spare change.  

Terry says she would rather educate than regulate. It is likely because of this approach that she has earned so much respect. Tom Donovan, Director of Charitable Trusts, says: “It is rare for a state official to be admired as much by those organizations she regulates as by those people who are her fellow regulators.”