President's Note: Preservation Resources
The National Trust has long been one of the largest sources of grant funding for preservation projects in the United States. In recent years, the broad scope and deep impact of our grant-making programs has come into sharper focus. Throughout the National Trust’s history, it has supported a wide range of projects, including the maintenance of historic buildings, sites, and landscapes, as well as the documentation and interpretation of historic places across the United States. We are continually evolving these programs to create funding for places with rich stories related to communities that have traditionally been underrepresented by historians and preservationists. Through this work, the National Trust directs resources to groups, individuals, and places where they can make the most impact.
On page 36, for example, we visit the house and garden of Anne Spencer, renowned Harlem Renaissance poet and civil rights activist. Important to preserving her legacy, the site was a gathering place for prominent African American intellectuals, artists, and activists such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Zora Neale Hurston. Now open to the public as a museum, it received a grant from the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF) for the purpose of hiring an executive director to handle fundraising.
Chicago’s Gothic Revival–style Second Presbyterian Church received a grant from the National Fund for Sacred Places (NFSP), a program of Partners for Sacred Places in collaboration with the National Trust. While the church was built in 1874, it capably serves the needs of today’s communities. In addition to traditional services, it provides free lunches, suppers on Sundays, and after-school tutoring in its Parish House, which was rehabilitated in 2022 with the assistance of the NFSP grant.
We’ve also developed programs to address places that contribute differently to our shared social fabric. In June, our Backing Historic Small Restaurants program in partnership with American Express announced the 2023 cohort of grant recipients. Recognizing the community impact made by small and independently owned eateries, these grants focus on restaurants in historic buildings or neighborhoods that tell an inclusive story about cuisine and community in the United States.
Also in June, we announced the recipients of our annual AACHAF National Grants, as well as the Fund’s new Conserving Black Modernism grant program in partnership with the Getty Foundation. I am pleased to introduce this new grant program, which will empower and equip preservationists and stewards with funding and technical support to preserve the material heritage, innovation, and legacy of modern architectural sites designed by Black architects. Please visit SavingPlaces.org/conserving-black-modernism to learn more.