National Trust for Historic Preservation wants to ensure that historic America is protected against destruction and negligence. The not-for-profit organization was founded in 1949 and educates, advocates, and provides resources for the preservation of historic buildings and land (not to be confused with the National Register of Historical Places, which designates buildings and neighborhoods as historic). The group also operates about 30 historic sites across the US. National Trust, which boasts about 270,000 members, operates out of a Washington, DC, headquarters and nine regional and field offices. It also works with thousands of preservation groups in all 50 states.
The group, which has provided some $40 million in financial assistance to more than 400 organizations, makes a point to partner with companies to help its chances of funding preservation efforts. Partners in Preservation is one such pairing. The National Trust collaborates with American Express, which provided $1 million in grants for 15 historic sites in the Chicago area. PVH stepped in to fund the restoration of the Ferry Building on Ellis Island in New York Harbor and the building opened to the public for the first time in 50 years soon thereafter. Other firms doing similar efforts include Lowe's and HGTV.
Each year since 1988, the National Trust has published a popular list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The list details sites and what threats they face for their survival. During the past couple years, the organization has focused on such preservation activities as interpreting historic sites, revitalizing downtown areas, advocating preservation-friendly laws, and awarding grants and loans.
The organization launched a campaign to preserve the Gulf Coast region after the devastation waged by Hurricane Katrina. (And citing retail development as a threat, National Trust included the state of Vermont in its list of the most endangered historic places in 2003 -- the first time it had given that status to a state.)