President's Note

New Beginnings

Vibrant historic communities are places where generations meet—and learn from each other. They’re infused with the richness of the past, an abiding appreciation for the present, and a palpable sense of optimism about the future.

In mid-May, the vibrant community that is the National Trust bid farewell to retiring president Richard Moe with a series of moving events in the nation’s capital. Many of the giants of preservation joined in saluting Dick’s legacy. Current leaders of the National Trust honored Dick’s extraordinary tenure by electing him President Emeritus. And the presence of the younger generation of preservation leaders, many of them mentored through Dick’s generosity of time and spirit, inspired confidence that this movement will maintain its relevance in the 21st century.

As we embark upon a new chapter in the history of the National Trust, I’m reminded that transitions—like changes in communities—lead to new opportunities, new approaches, and new partners.

I’ve been a preservationist for three decades, leading local and statewide advocacy organizations before joining the Trust in 1996. And, now more than ever, I’m convinced that we are building an enduring American preservation ethic that will connect people to the places that matter. Working together, we are proclaiming the value and relevance of preservation, making the case that preserving and revitalizing our existing treasures can create sustainable communities and healthy economies.

And we have a powerful new weapon in our arsenal: the first independent national study analyzing the economic impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit, which encourages the rehabilitation and reuse of historic buildings. (You’ll find the full study, which was conducted by the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University, on our website, PreservationNation.org.)

It concludes that rehabilitating historic buildings "primes the economic pump" better than many other investments, producing a markedly better economic impact in terms of jobs, income, and state-and-local taxes than similar investments in new buildings or highway construction. In another bit of good news, the study confirms that rehabilitating historic buildings directly benefits low-income neighborhoods. When you consider the fact that as much as three-quarters of the economic benefit stays in the local communities and states where the investment is made, you can see how historic preservation is an unparalleled economic engine for sustainable development.

We have much to do in the months and years ahead, but we’ve always known that preservation is really about the future. Given our vibrant community, and the gifts and talents you bring to bear wherever you live, I couldn’t be more excited about the future of the National Trust.

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