President's Note: The People Behind the Mission
I write this note just a few days after our board of trustees asked me to serve as the ninth president and CEO of the National Trust. I am honored to have been chosen to take the helm of this organization, and particularly because this is the first internal hire for the Trust’s top position.
I came to the National Trust as a young lawyer with a background in archaeology, a passion for history, and an idea that I might combine all of these interests and make a difference by saving historic places. And I felt right at home, surrounded by fellow professionals who were equally passionate about the work of this great organization. Over the years, we have had many wins, and some hard losses, but our mission, the passion of our supporters, and the commitment of our staff are as strong as ever.
So, today, I am proud to lead a team of staff members dedicated to the cause, working to protect our shared heritage. You can find our employees engaging the public at 28 National Trust Historic Sites across the country; making the case for preservation in the courtroom and in the halls of Congress; leading campaigns to protect important National Treasures; and providing hands-on preservation experiences to veterans and young people through our HOPE Crew program. With the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, the National Fund for Sacred Places, and other targeted funds, we advance preservation projects and provide technical assistance to ensure successful outcomes.
Over the years, the National Trust has also expanded to include a dynamic group of subsidiaries that share our mission and our passion. The National Trust Community Investment Corporation is an industry leader in syndicating federal and state tax credits to transform crumbling landmarks into vibrant community anchors. Main Street America is deeply engaged with urban and rural communities to revitalize and sustain their historic commercial districts. And, in all of this work, the National Trust is deeply committed to preserving the stories and the places of all Americans, in collaboration with state and local preservation organizations and a host of other allies.
As I reflect on this work and the people who do it, I am gratified by the confidence that our board placed in me to lead this organization, which in turn reflects my own faith in the remarkable group of staff members and volunteers who make up the National Trust, as well as you and our many other members and supporters.
In future columns I look forward to highlighting specific aspects of our work, but I thought I would start my tenure as president by expressing my gratitude to the many individuals whom I am privileged and grateful to call colleagues.