Press Release | Washington, DC | June 16, 2021

National Trust’s Action Fund Receives $20 Million MacKenzie Scott Grant

Yesterday, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced that she has awarded a grant of $20 million to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. The National Trust is one of 286 organizations across the country and around the globe that will receive a total of $2.7 billion in grants from Ms. Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett.

“This generous contribution will be transformative for the Action Fund,” said Paul Edmondson, President and CEO of the National Trust. “These funds will be used to advance the Action Fund’s mission of protecting and telling the story of historic places that have been overlooked in American history, and that represent centuries of African American activism, achievement, and resilience.”

Since its creation in November 2017 as a $25 million campaign in support of African American historic sites, the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has worked to promote a national identity that reflects the nation’s true diversity.

“This inspiring gift,” said Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the Action Fund, “is an affirmation that our work to elevate the significance of Black culture in American history matters, and that preservation of historic landmarks is a form of equity. We are grateful to Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett for their investment, which scales up our commitment to preserve and tell overlooked stories of African American achievement that are fundamental to the nation itself.”

“The gift would not have been possible,” Edmondson continued, “without the incredible success of the Action Fund and its National Advisory Council since its establishment in late 2017, the visionary leadership of Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the Action Fund, and the hard work of staff across the organization.

In just 3.5 years, the Action Fund has raised over $30 million from the Ford, Mellon, and JPB Foundations and other funders, has awarded grants to 65 historic African American places and invested more than $4.3 million to help preserve landscapes and buildings. It is the largest fund in American history dedicated to preserving African American landmarks.

About the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a multi-year initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and other partners, working to make an important and lasting contribution to our cultural landscape by elevating the stories and places of African American achievement and activism. Visit


The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. | @savingplaces

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