Funding the Future

The National Trust for Historic Preservation concludes its second fundraising campaign

The National Trust for Historic Preservation ran the People Saving Places campaign out of its Washington, D.C., headquarters, a National Historic Landmark on Massachusetts Avenue.

Credit: Alan Karchmer

Raising dollars in difficult economic times certainly poses its share of challenges. But the National Trust for Historic Preservation managed to defy the odds, raising $165 million during the 30-month-long People Saving Places initiative that concluded in June.

The total was considerably more than the organization raised during its first campaign, a five-year effort that ended in 2003.

Board member Carolyn Brody chaired the latest campaign, which enabled the National Trust to accomplish a host of goals, including:

Funding programs to promote sustainability and combat climate change.

Helping launch, the content-rich new website designed to engage a wider audience.

Launching the organization's groundbreaking new Modernism + Recent Past program.

Raising funds to support programs at individual historic sites.

The campaign also enabled the Partners in the Field program, which supports state and local preservation groups, to hire 53 new field representatives to work on preservation projects and outreach in their communities. Robyn Mainor, the Partners in the Field representative hired at Historic Augusta, Inc., recently oversaw the restoration of the c. 1851 Union Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., a project that helped inspire the revitalization of other nearby historic buildings. "The assistance was essential," she says of the funding generated by the campaign. "It gives weight to what we do down here."

David Cooper, vice president of resources development at the National Trust, says the campaign focused on programs that save buildings and the things that touch people. "That's what fundraising is really about. It's all about the people saving the places that matter. A lot of these programs and projects [the campaign funded] were not necessarily for our benefit as an organization; they were for the movement at large."

Significant contributions came from the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust, Robert and Anne Bass, Robert H. Smith, Daniel K. Thorne, American Express, and Lowe's.

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