Preservation Magazine, Winter 2019

President's Note: A Fond Farewell

Ever since I announced I was moving on last July, it has been a season of goodbyes. Now, eight years and 37 issues since I first had the honor of writing this column, this marks my final issue of Preservation before I step down as president of the National Trust. Before I go, I want to convey my profound gratitude for all your support and friendship.

Together, we have made substantial strides forward on behalf of both the Trust and preservation. We embarked on 100 National Treasure campaigns to save the great buildings, cultural landscapes, and public spaces that matter to our nation. We completed more than $20 million in critical capital projects at our historic sites. With our growing ReUrbanism initiative, we have forged exciting new partnerships and tools to help more cities repurpose their rich cultural fabric. Through programs such as HOPE Crew and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, we have brought preservation to new audiences and helped save a more diverse group of places. And thanks to your tremendous advocacy and generosity, we saved the federal historic tax credit in Congress and successfully completed the biggest capital campaign in the Trust’s history, raising $311 million to create a stronger future built on the best of our nation’s past.

Stephanie K. Meeks

Because of your hard work, historic preservation is a broader and bolder movement than ever before. In bustling cities and small towns alike, more communities are embracing preservation as the way forward—both for saving places that define us and addressing contemporary challenges like disinvestment, displacement, natural disasters, and climate change. Preservationists are embracing new technologies, finding innovative ways to scale up our work, and striving to protect the intangible heritage—customs, culture, and practices—that undergirds historic places. As we work harder to tell our full story, in a way that does justice to the experience of all Americans, our numbers and relevance are growing.

I am excited to witness that continued growth in the years to come, and confident that the future of preservation is bright. Our work can be difficult and complicated, but ultimately it is infused with an infectious joy and love for our country and communities. More than anything else, alongside all the friendships I’ve made on this preservation journey with you, I will always remember and cherish that joy and passion.

Thank you for all you’ve done, and continue to do, to save places that matter.

Stephanie K. Meeks was the president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 2010-2018. She is the author of "The Past and Future City."

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