June 16, 2022

What's Next for the National Impact Agenda

Lead the Change by Submitting a Case Study or Joining the Leadership Cohort

We are thrilled to share that the Leading the Change Together: A National Impact Agenda for the Preservation Movement (NIA) is now an online resource available for exploration. The purpose of the NIA is to guide and inspire the preservation movement to work towards strategic change across the field.

Developed out of crowdsourced ideas from hundreds of people across the country, the agenda collectively demonstrates what preservationists care about in a changing national context. We first presented the findings of this rigorous year-long engagement process at PastForward 2021, and previewed the NIA with the participants who helped us shape these concepts to ensure that we adequately captured public insights and case studies.

A group of people gathered for the Kaliupkapaakai Collective 2019 Think Tank.

photo by: Huliauapaʻ

One of the case studies for second goal of the National Impact Agenda, Building an Inclusive Movement, features The Kali’uokapa’akai Collective, an organization working to reframe historic preservation from a Native Hawaiian perspective. This image is from the collective's 2019 Think Tank.

As a result of those discussions, seven goals emerged, along with crowdsourced actions, and case studies demonstrating what the agenda looks like in practice. These goals, actions, and case studies combine to form a framework for change—it is available at savingplaces.org/impact-agenda. Our hope is that in the coming weeks and months, preservationists will identify their own benchmarks for change and share their collective progress toward these goals.

The National Impact Agenda at the National Trust

Collaborative leadership across the movement is needed to achieve the greatest impact. The National Trust is currently using the NIA framework to evaluate how well our own commitments to action are aligned with the seven goals, drawing inspiration from the crowdsourced case studies and ideas. We are identifying strengths, gaps, and growth areas to shape our current and future programs.

These findings are already creating tangible impacts and ripple effects across the work of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We applied the seven goals of the NIA to the criteria used to evaluate several of our programs including the annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, grants from the National Trust Preservation Fund, as well as preservation fellowship programs.

The National Trust and the National Preservation Partners Network continue to link the goals of the of National Impact Agenda with the response plans in each of the four priorities of the Preservation Priorities Task Force.

The NIA framework was thoroughly woven into the PastForward conference in 2021, and for PastForward Online 2022, the theme—Moving From Vision to Action—will continue to explore how we are moving from ideas and discussion to tangible action for change. More specifically, the three subthemes of the conference–Preservation is Climate Action, Inclusion and Diversity, and Role in Real Estate Development–were developed to take a deeper look at the focus and intention of the seven goals.

We encourage other organizations to join us in this effort to demonstrate how we each uniquely and collectively contribute toward a more equitable, sustainable, and impactful preservation practice. You can get involved directly in the following ways:

Participate in the NIA Leadership Cohort

The goal of the Leadership Cohort is to help participating organizations apply the National Impact Agenda framework to their work, guide decision-making on future programs, and share lessons learned to inspire others to the lead the change. Through the National Trust’s own experience, we have found that the NIA provides a framework for promoting internal discussion, strategic planning, and cultivates a deeper understanding regarding the importance of preservation among our teams and staff.

While any group can benefit, participating in the leadership cohort might be particularly helpful for organizations that are actively looking for ways they can contribute to a more equitable preservation practice. It is also useful for those engaging in strategic planning processes that are seeking tools, resources, and a community to support them in doing so.

Please consider joining the inaugural National Impact Agenda Leadership Cohort. For more information send us an email, and we will help you decide if this program is a good fit for your organization.

Submit a case study to the new Lead the Change Case Study Explorer and help spread the word.

The newly launched Lead the Change Case Study Explorer—a crowdsourced centralized database featuring short-form case studies across a wide range of preservation projects—is now open to additional submissions. The case studies featured on this site aim to showcase innovative and fresh approaches to preservation work, from those doing the work.

The Case Study Explorer, features case studies that illustrate how projects are actively advancing the seven goals of the National Impact Agenda and the four priorities of the Preservation Priorities Task Force—all in the name of strengthening communities through preservation. We envision the Case Study Explorer as a living library that will grow over time and will spread awareness of other important preservation projects while also providing links to further information. Due to the crowdsourced nature of the Case Study Explorer, it will take time to build up a critical mass of case studies, and so we encourage you to submit a case study to expand the resources this tool has to offer. To submit a case study, please visit this submission form.

Please note that this tool is best viewed on computer desktop as mobile viewing is still under development.

We hope the NIA will encourage both individual and collaborative actions in the next few years, resulting in a more inclusive, empowered preservation movement that is accountable to making the world a better place.

As always, please send us an email at NationalImpactAgenda@savingplaces.org with your feedback, questions, and suggestions. We love to hear from you!

National Trust for Historic Preservation National Impact Agenda Core Team: Amy Webb, Di Gao, James Lindberg, Leslie Canaan, Renee Kuhlman, Rob Nieweg

Donate Today to Help Save the Places Where Our History Happened.

Donate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation today and you'll help preserve places that tell our stories, reflect our culture, and shape our shared American experience.

Di Gao is the senior director of research and policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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