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Rep. Betty McCollum Keynotes at AAF’s 2015 Oculus Award Luncheon



The Honorable Betty McCollum keynoted at AAF’s 2015 Oculus Award. Developed to highlight organizations whose preservation initiatives promote vibrant, sustainable communities, The Oculus Award was presented at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC to Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

A vocal supporter of historic preservation and strong communities, Rep. McCollum underscored the critical role Congress and the Obama Administration play in protecting our nation’s cultural heritage.

She stated, “It is absolutely clear that without leadership from Congress and the Obama Administration our nation’s most vulnerable treasures are at risk of being lost to time, decay, or neglect. And AAF is working with me to get Congress re-engaged as a partner in protecting and restoring our country’s historic treasures, treasures that unite communities and connect the past to the future.”

Rep. McCollum is the lead Democrat on the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, the subcommittee responsible for funding America’s federal land, national parks, tribal nations, and historic sites.

Congress, however, she explained, is drastically under-funding historic preservation. She said, “[From 1999 to 2010], Congress provided modest, but critical funding for a program called Save America’s Treasures. $318 million in federal funding was appropriated for SAT grants over twelve years – that is less than $1 per American for a decade of investments. Those grants required a dollar-for-dollar match which leveraged over $400 million in additional funds.”

But, since 2011, Congress has not provided a single dollar to Save America’s Treasures.

Rep. McCollum unveiled her partnership with AAF and the other federal partners to restore federal funding for the Save America’s Treasures program. This partnership will bring historic preservation back into the focus of Congress and ensure unique structures and collections that exemplify our history are preserved for future generations.

Ending the speech with a call to action, Rep. McCollum encouraged attendees to advocate for the program: “As citizens who care about historic preservation, now is the time to get organized and energized. Working together, we need to get Congress investing once again in Saving America’s Treasures.”

AAF President and CEO, Ron Bogle and Rep. McCollum.

AAF President and CEO, Ron Bogle and Rep. McCollum.

As the noprofit partner to Save America’s Treasures, AAF is honored to partner with Rep. McCollum on this important cause. Her keynote address is available in full on her website.

Contact your local Congressperson to ensure that America’s treasures are preserved for future generations. With your help, we can get historic preservation funded again. 

Photos courtesy of Jocelyn Augustino.

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Posted in: Center for Design & Cultural Heritage, Oculus Award

The American Architectural Foundation has been dedicated to advancing the role of architecture and design in American society since its founding in 1943 by the American Institute of Architects.

In its 75 years in existence the Foundation’s work has taken many forms — from educational programming and exhibitions in its early years to large-scale design initiatives and programs —all of which serve to create a rich legacy.

As the managing partner of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design for twenty years, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the United States Conference of Mayors, the Foundation helped move the needle on design and cities. And, through its other signature programs like Save America’s Treasures in partnership with National Parks Service, the Sustainable Cities Design Academy, and Design for Learning, the Foundation has provided critical design leadership training and technical assistance to hundreds of elected officials, education leaders, business leaders, and other key decision makers in the design process.

In recent years, cities and civic leaders have embraced design and design thinking in a way that could not have been imagined when the Foundation begin its work back in 1943 — and AAF’s role in this transformation is a source of great pride for the Foundation. With this increased interest in the role of design in shaping our cities came a proliferation of new organizations to support and facilitate this cultural shift. These advances in the role of design in American society and changes in the nonprofit design sector, coupled with the departure of the organization’s longest-serving CEO, prompted the Foundation’s Board to embark on an intensive and lengthy process to examine the ongoing role and work of the Foundation.

As the Board of Regents reflected on the positive changes of the cultural value of design, the accomplishments of the Foundation, and how the legacy of the Foundation’s work is being carried out by its former staff in new roles and organizations across the country, they reached the conclusion that the American Architectural Foundation had accomplished what it set out to do. As a result, the Foundation began to complete its remaining programs and wind down its operations in the Summer of 2018 and the organization’s endowments have been distributed to allied organizations. The Foundation’s research and reports will remain available on its website as a resource to the field.

The Foundation’s work would not have been possible without the incredible talents of its many staff over the decades, the generous support of its funders, and the tireless dedication of its civic & design partners across the country. The Board remains deeply proud of the significant contributions Foundation has made in its 75-year history and would like to acknowledge that this would not have been possible without the efforts, dedication, and support from so many of you.