Legacy, African American History, and Dynamic Preservation Grants Awarded

Press release from The 1772 Foundation:

At its quarterly meeting, trustees of The 1772 Foundation, based in Pomfret, Connecticut, awarded eleven grants totaling $1,996,000. Individual grants ranged in amount from $50,000 to $1,000,000. The million-dollar grant, awarded to Coastal Community Foundation in South Carolina, is the largest single grant made by the Foundation in its history.

Legacy:  The 1772 Foundation, after learning about its founder’s Kean and Livingston ancestors’ participation in the American Slavery system, issued an apology statement and began a long-term, corrective action granting program. Legacy grants support efforts that lead to meaningful change towards a more just and equitable society. The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, based in Charleston, South Carolina, received $125,000, the second half of a two-year grant. The Center works to protect heirs’ property by providing legal education and services and sustainable land use management training.

Coastal Community Foundation (CCF), Charleston and Beaufort, South Carolina, was awarded funding of $1,000,000. The largest grant The 1772 Foundation has ever made supports CCF’s Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program and its Place-based Impact Investing Fund’s investment in CommunityWorks, a statewide Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

“We are honored and very grateful for The 1772 Foundation’s generous grant supporting The Reverend Pinckney Scholarship and the Place-based Impact Investing (PBII) programs, which have impacted countless lives and generated significant potential for generational change for families in the Lowcountry of South Carolina,” said Coastal Community Foundation President & CEO Darrin Goss. “Our two foundations are committed to righting the wrongs of historic, systemic racism and we are proud to stand together with The 1772 Foundation in this effort.”

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nationwide land preservation organization, received a $250,000 grant to help fund its Black History and Culture Initiative. Noting how few sites on the National Register of Historic Places reflect the experiences of Black Americans, TPL seeks to address this omission through its “efforts to create, protect, and activate public spaces of historical and cultural significance to Black communities across the country.” Looking at places in context, rather than buildings alone, one of TPL’s successes has been the preservation of Meadowood in Simsbury, Connecticut, 200+ acres of land where Martin Luther King, Jr. came from Atlanta with other Morehouse College students to work in the tobacco fields during summer breaks. During his time in the state, King gained a new perspective on society as, for the first time, he lived without the restrictions of segregation. There is little doubt that his time in Connecticut was transformative and influenced his thinking and future leadership in the civil rights movement.

African American History:  The 1772 Foundation’s grantmaking has long supported heritage efforts that document and preserve the contributions of African Americans in the United States. In the first grant round of 2022, the Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium received $125,000 in funding. The Consortium is “a collaboration of twenty historic places of worship, lodging and civic engagement that played significant roles in the African American struggle for freedom.” In Georgia, Cultural Centers International will use its $75,000 grant toward restoration of a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1882, Fountain Hall is located on the Morris Brown College campus in Atlanta. Preservation North Carolina was awarded $50,000 to grow its African American Building Preservation Fund, which is used to preserve threatened landmarks such as schools, churches, businesses, and homes of African American leaders. The Slave Dwelling Project received $50,000 to support its three-day conference this fall in Charleston, South Carolina. At Tuskegee University in Alabama, a $50,000 award will help pay for renovations to Samuel C. Armstrong Hall, while maintaining its historical significance. Armstrong Hall, built in 1932, was designed by the first accredited African American architect, Robert R. Taylor.

Dynamic Preservation:  These grant recipients submitted robust proposals/projects, incorporating energy, innovation, and a commitment to bringing about change. The 1772 Foundation awarded $85,000 to BlackSpace, a New York City collective, which takes a compelling approach to African American history and the use of historic Black spaces through profound and thoughtful community engagement. Madison-Morgan Conservancy in Madison, Georgia received $56,000 for the creation of its Seed House revolving fund and its sustainable technologies revolving fund. The latter will pay itself back with energy savings over time, thus providing for new sustainable energy installations at other sites. Boston’s WGBH again was awarded a $100,000 grant to support the production/distribution of American Experience documentaries, which explore underrepresented American history, inadequately interpreted through the built environment. American Experience makes history accessible to a wide audience, particularly those “less-understood or even hidden pieces of history still playing out in America today.”