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Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site Vies for Grant in Partners in Preservation: National Parks

May 25,2016

A CAMPAIGN CREATED BY AMERICAN EXPRESS AND THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Public Vote Will Determine Which Park Sites Receive Funding

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site announced today that it is participating in Partners in Preservation (PIP), a community-based partnership of American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to raise awareness of the importance of preserving historic places, which is embarking on its first national campaign in the program’s 10-year history. In honor of the National Park Service’s Centennial, the 2016 Partners in Preservation: National Parks campaign will award $2 million in grants to historic sites in need of preservation within national parks units, as decided by popular vote. www.voteyourpark.org/historicmlk

As one of 20 historic places selected, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site hopes to be one of the winners of the campaign to help mitigate water infiltration and repoint the building’s brick façade.  This will allow the church’s history to be shared via interpretative activities ensuring a tangible connection to Dr. King and the dream he inspired in the American consciousness to continue welcoming more than 800,000 national and international visitors annually.

The 1922 Ebenezer Baptist Church in the heart of Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn and Martin Luther King, Jr. historic districts which was Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life-long spiritual home.

The site of many meetings and rallies—including the 1957 gathering that led to the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference—the church sits at a cornerstone of the country’s Civil Rights movement.

The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite parks today through July 5 on VoteYourPark.org, the online portal hosted by National Geographic, this year’s media partner, to determine which sites will receive preservation grants. The public is also invited to share their experiences on social media and celebrate these sites using #VoteYourPark.

“The support of private organizations has been essential to our efforts to care for the places that convey our nation’s history and culture since the creation of the National Park System 100 years ago,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The 2016 Partners in Preservation campaign is a strong symbol of our partners’ continued dedication to ensure that these special places are preserved and protected for future generations of Americans.”

“As a premier partner of the National Park Foundation’s Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque campaign and the 2016 National Park Centennial, we are engaging the community in serving, preserving and celebrating U.S. National Parks throughout this year,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “Historic preservation is a hallmark of American Express’ involvement in strengthening communities, and we are proud to help lead the effort to preserve these cultural sites and monuments that contribute to our national and regional identity.”

The Partners in Preservation: National Parks campaign gives enthusiasts the opportunity to show their support for their favorite historic sites through a popular vote. At the outset of the campaign, friends groups for each of the 20 participating sites within national parks will receive a grant of $10,000, which will be used to increase public awareness about the historic structures nominated. The national parks’ sites with the most votes at the end of the voting period will be awarded grants for historic restoration projects. By voting daily at VoteYourPark.org, supporters can also enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Yellowstone National Park sponsored by National Geographic.

“Since the inception of our national parks system a century ago, the parks’ cultural resources have been central to the visitor experience and telling the full story of our nation’s diverse history,” says Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO, The National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Today, two-thirds of our more than 400 national parks are dedicated to cultural and historic significance. As such, we are delighted to embark on Partners in Preservation: National Parks, which builds on the program’s decade-long experience in galvanizing public support for preserving historic structures for future generations.”

New to the program for 2016 is a collaboration with National Geographic, a partner with strong ties to U.S. National Parks as well as historic preservation. As the media partner, National Geographic is launching a consumer engagement campaign across its digital and social platforms promoting Partners in Preservation: National Parks and inviting people to vote.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Partners in Preservation: National Parks and celebrate our shared commitment to preserve some of the world’s most meaningful and culturally significant sites,” said Susan Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic. “We love to give our readers an opportunity to engage with their passion for parks and Partners in Preservation: National Parks is an ideal way to activate our very engaged community and empower them to participate.”  

The public can get involved by visiting savingplaces.org/partners-in-preservation for more information and voting daily through July 5 at VoteYourPark.org.