Brent Leggs
**FILE** African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Director Brent Leggs (Photo by Duncan Kendall via National Trust for Historic Preservation)

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has raised more than $10 million toward its $25 million African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund initiative, officials for the D.C.-based organization announced Thursday, Nov. 15.

The fund aims to uplift stories of African-American achievement, activism, and community while steering a new generation of activists toward advocacy for diverse historic places.

“We are proud of how over this past year we’ve helped to broaden the conversation about the places that matter,” said Stephanie Meeks, National Trust for Historic Preservation president and CEO. “Since the launch of the Action Fund, we have seen overwhelming support across the country in saving spaces that tell the full American story.”

Launched in partnership with national foundations, and with support from a National Advisory Council — including Co-chairs Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, and actress and director Phylicia Rashad — the fund has changed the landscape of African-American preservation.

In year one, the fund empowered youth through a hands-on preservation experience, modeled innovative approaches to interpreting and preserving African-American cultural heritage at historic sites, continued on-the-ground work protecting significant historic places, and launched a national grant program.

“The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has seen remarkable grassroots engagement, in the more than 800 grant applications asking for help protecting African-American historic places, and in the tremendous community support at newly-launched National Treasures like the John and Alice Coltrane Home,” said Brent Leggs, the fund’s director. “As we embark on year two of the Action Fund, we will continue working to foster a national landscape where every person can see themselves, their history, and their potential in our collective story.”

This year, the Action Fund awarded 16 grants, totaling $1.1 million, to preservation organizations across the country in support of preserving sites and stories of Black history.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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