Madame C.J. Walker's Villa Lewaro, New York

photo by: Villa Lewaro courtesy A’Lelia Bundles/Madam Walker Family Archives

African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

Tell the Full American Story

  • Tell the Full Story

    Too often the places where significant African American history happened have been unrecognized for the important role they play in the fabric of American society.

  • African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation is working to fill this gap through our African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Stand with us.

    Take the Pledge
  • We Can’t Do It Without You!

    Join us in protecting and restoring places where significant African American history happened.

    Give Today

In November 2017, the National Trust for Historic Preservation launched its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program that makes an important and lasting contribution to the American landscape by preserving sites of African American activism, achievement, and resilience.

Through this preservation effort—the largest ever undertaken in support of African American historic sites—we work to expand the American story.

Why the Action Fund, and Why Now

Black history is American history, and it is our responsibility to cultivate spaces to engage with it. We must ensure that everyone has the opportunity to draw inspiration and wisdom from African American historic places.

We must tell stories that reflect our complex and difficult past—and help us shape a better collective future. Though America may be rich in diverse history, our society has often been poor in representing that history and in funding its protection, conservation, and recognition. That’s why we actively invest in and restore cultural assets that hold exceptional cultural value.

The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is about making room—within our understanding of history, preservation, and social justice—for a movement that uses preservation as a force for enacting positive social change. In modeling this approach and in partnering with other organizations around the country, we challenge ourselves to realize equity-driven outcomes that benefit all Americans.

We Believe Black Lives Matter

The Action Fund at 5 Years

As the Action Fund celebrates its 5th anniversary in 2022-2023, we reflect on the significant progress we’ve made in stewarding cultural assets, documenting and identifying Black heritage places, and inviting new voices and perspectives to the movement.

Since launching the program, the Action Fund has raised more than $91 million and supported 242 preservation projects nationally. In particular, the Action Fund’s national grants have made a total investment of $20 million since 2018. And by leveraging the Action Fund’s scale, resources, and preservation expertise, important sites of Black cultural heritage have been permanently protected and recognized for their role in shaping our American history.

But we didn’t reach this milestone alone. Thank you to our grant recipients, partners, and supporters who have contributed to the last five years of impact by telling their stories and working to preserve the places that represent African American history.

Through our work, we hope to inspire a new generation of social justice leaders and preservation practitioners who can advocate for the preservation of African American historic sites and communities. Together, we will create a national identity that reflects the nation’s true diversity.

Action Fund Leadership : National Advisory Council

These leaders in academia, arts, business, government, and preservation have answered our call to form a National Advisory Council for the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.