Press Release | San Francisco, California | November 13, 2018

Founder of Young Ohio Preservationists Receives Aspire Award

National Trust and American Express to present award to Sarah Marsom at PastForward

Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express announced that this year’s Aspire Award will be presented to Sarah Marsom, founding president of the Young Ohio Preservationists. Marsom is one of nine award winners to be honored by the National Trust during its 2016 PastForward National Preservation Conference next week in San Francisco.

“Sarah’s work with both Young Ohio Preservationists and the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists shows her dedication to bringing more young people into the field of preservation,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Her work on the Tiny Activist Project illustrates the remarkable creativity, innovation, and storytelling that she brings to the table.”

The American Express Aspire Award recognizes emerging preservation leaders who demonstrate innovative thinking and achievement in advancing historic preservation in their local, state, or national communities.

“At American Express, we believe that strong leaders within the nonprofit and social purpose sector can help solve the world’s most pressing challenges,” said, Timothy J. McClimon, president, American Express Foundation. “We are proud to back up-and-coming leaders like Sarah who are pushing preservation forward through innovative youth and community engagement strategies.”

Through the creation of Young Ohio Preservationists in 2014, Marsom helped start a statewide initiative to embolden young adults to protect the past. With other leaders from young preservationist groups around the region, Marsom co-founded the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists in 2016, creating free educational opportunities for emerging community leaders in the region.

Her efforts to create opportunities for emerging preservation professionals, and highlight hidden histories, led to the development of the Tiny Activist Project. The Tiny Activist Project works to engage diverse age groups on the subjects of urbanism, heritage, and community activism, highlighting stories of people who fought to save cultural resources, through hand-sewn dolls and workshops that join together art and history. Marsom was also recognized as one of the National Trust’s 40 Under 40: People Saving Places last spring.

The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage. These efforts include citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks; companies and craftsmen whose work restores the richness of the past; the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities; and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the value of preservation.

The 2018 National Preservation Award Winners:

  • Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award: Jay Turnbull, San Francisco, CA
  • American Express Aspire Award: Sarah Marsom, Columbus, OH
  • John H. Chafee Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy: Sen. Bill Cassidy, LA
  • Trustees’ Award for Organizational Excellence: Historic Macon Foundation, Macon, GA
  • Trustees Emeritus Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of Historic Sites: Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center, Nyack, NY
  • Peter H. Brink Award for Individual Achievement in Historic Preservation: Matthew Adams, San Francisco, CA

The 2018 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award Winners:

  • Crosstown Concourse, Memphis, TN
  • The Douglass at Page Woodson, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Richardson Olmsted Campus, Buffalo, NY


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

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