Doris Duke, Ford, Nathan Cummings, JPB, Open Society and Others Support Initiative to Transform Our Nation’s Cultural Landscape

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Doris Duke, Ford, Nathan Cummings, JPB, Open Society and Others Support Initiative to Transform Our Nation’s Cultural Landscape

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, in partnership with the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations, today announced the launch of the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF). The multi-year national initiative is aimed at uplifting the largely overlooked contributions of African-Americans by establishing a grant fund for the protection and restoration of African-American historical sites. From the protection of Shockoe Bottom in Richmond to Fort Huachuca Black Officer’s Club in Arizona, the fund will help to support direct action needed to protect threatened sites of historic significance, address critical funding gaps for the preservation of African-American historic sites, and help uncover hidden stories of African-Americans connected to historic sites across the nation.

“There is an opportunity and an obligation for us to step forward boldly and ensure the preservation of places which tell the often-overlooked stories of African-Americans and their many contributions to our nation,” said Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We believe that this fund will be transformative for our country, and we are committed to crafting a narrative that expands our view of history and, ultimately, begins to reconstruct our national identity, while inspiring a new generation of activists to advocate for our diverse historic places.”

Leaders in academia, business, government, arts, and philanthropy have answered the call to form an Advisory Council for the Action Fund. Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation will serve as its chair. Celebrated actress, singer, and activist Phylicia Rashad will serve as both an advisor and ambassador to this effort and expressed her support in a video. Ms. Rashad and her family have worked for nearly two decades to preserve the historic Brainerd Institute in South Carolina.

“Without a thorough reckoning with the complex and difficult history of our country, especially when it comes to race, we will not be able to overcome intolerance, injustice, and inequality,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. “We have an opportunity with this Fund to broaden the American narrative to reflect our remarkably rich and diverse history."

The Action Fund has also drawn the support of a number of leading funders as partners—including four of the largest foundations in the country─ interested in furthering a vision of America where all its citizens’ diverse stories are reflected in the places that surround us. Joining the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and The JPB Foundation in supporting this multi-year initiative with a $25 million funding goal are the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation...