National Trust for Historic Preservation in the US

Save the past. Enrich the future.

aka National Trust for Historic Preservation   |   Washington, DC   |

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately funded nonprofit organization that saves America’s historic places to enrich our present and our future. Chartered by Congress in 1949, the National Trust manages a portfolio of 28 National Trust Historic Sites and leads grantmaking and advocacy efforts for thousands more historic places across the United States, collaborating with a variety of partners to build vibrant and sustainable communities with historic places and neighborhoods; facilitating public participation in the preservation of sites, buildings, and objects of national significance; and striving to create a cultural legacy that is as diverse as the nation itself so that all of us can take pride in our shared American story.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Dr. Carol E. Quillen

Main address

600 14th Street NW Suite 500

Washington, DC 20005 USA

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NTEE code info

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The National Trust aspires to create a cultural legacy that is as textured and diverse as the American experience, so that all people can see their stories in the places around them. We do this work to strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of our cities and communities, inspire a new generation, and create a stronger, more united future for our nation.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Since 1988, the National Trust has used its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places to raise awareness about the threats facing some of the nation's greatest treasures. The list, which has identified more than 300 sites to date, has been so successful in galvanizing preservation efforts that only a handful of sites have been lost. Dozens of sites have been saved through the tireless work of the National Trust, its partners, and local preservationists across the country. Many more sites are now considered "favorable" and are on the path to a positive solution. Still, others remain threatened, and the National Trust and its partners continue in their efforts to save America's historic sites.

Population(s) Served

In November 2017, the National Trust for Historic Preservation launched its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a preservation campaign to preserve and protect places that have been overlooked in American history and represent centuries of African American activism, achievement, and resilience. Since launching the program, the Action Fund has raised $45 million and supported more than 150 preservation projects nationally. Through this preservation effort—the largest ever undertaken in support of African American historic sites—we partner with and empower Black and diverse communities to expand the American story.

Population(s) Served

Women’s history is America’s history. Female thinkers, activists, and trailblazers have shaped us into the nation we are today and continue to lead us forward. Yet only a small fraction of our cultural heritage recognizes women’s ever-present role in history, and far too often women's struggles and achievements have been lost, forgotten, or deliberately obscured.

Through Where Women Made History, we are identifying, honoring, and elevating places across the country where women have changed their communities and the world. Together, we can galvanize support for preserving these places, inspire a new generation of women and girls, and create a future where all people see themselves reflected in a more truthful and inclusive collective history.

Population(s) Served

Historic places create connections to our heritage that help us understand our past, appreciate our triumphs, and learn from our mistakes. Historic places help define and distinguish our communities by building a strong sense of identity. To ensure that their stories remain a part of our lives today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation protects and promotes historic places, including a diverse collection of 27 sites open to the public. When you visit a historic site, you learn from their stories and help keep history alive.

Population(s) Served

The Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program (HAHS) is a coalition of 48 museums that were the homes and working studios of American artists. The HAHS program is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the places where art was made. We are a coalition of independent museums that have come together to celebrate and investigate creativity. Every place in the HAHS program was the home and working studio of an American artist. Each of these places is now devoted to understanding and explaining how an artist made their art. In fact, some of our sites represent an artist couple, or an art colony; these places demonstrate complex artistic interchange. We join the dialogue between art and the space where it was created. We do it by ensuring the long-term longevity of buildings and landscapes and objects. And, we do it by making these places open to everyone, and by inviting everyone into the conversation. Come, witness creativity.

Population(s) Served

PastForward, the annual conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is one of the most important and impactful investments the National Trust makes in preserving America’s cultural heritage and empowering the people on the front lines of that effort. Attracting nearly 5,000 of the most creative and impactful preservationists—online and in person—every year, PastForward helps to expand the toolbox of policies, approaches, and financial incentives for saving our nation’s cultural heritage.

Population(s) Served

The National Main Street Center (NMSC), the National Trust’s nonprofit subsidiary, is a national organization working to revitalize older and historic commercial districts. Its primary program, recently branded as Main Street America, has helped revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years, first as a program of the National Trust. It constitutes a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.

Population(s) Served

For more than three decades, the federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) has successfully implemented a national policy of preserving our historic resources. It is the most significant investment the federal government makes toward the preservation of our historic buildings. In addition to preserving historic buildings, the HTC revitalizes communities and spurs economic growth—all while returning more to the Treasury than it costs, $1.20 in tax revenue for every dollar invested. It is a critical ingredient for historic preservation building stronger communities.

The National Trust has also supported the enactment of over 35 state historic tax credits and continues to work with partners to increase this number. These credits attract private investment to restore historic properties, many of which would otherwise likely be demolished. And true to their legacy as “laboratories of democracy,” states are innovating with different provisions to tackle complex issues such as ru

Population(s) Served

The 100,000+ historic houses of worship across America play a crucial role in shaping the character of our communities. They are valuable parts of communities, and many are works of art whose beauty and history make them irreplaceable elements of our national cultural heritage. Yet though the structures are considered icons of stability, today congregations of every faith face challenges in stewarding their historic houses of worship.

To ensure that America’s sacred places continue to serve their communities’ material and spiritual needs, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has joined Partners for Sacred Places and the Lilly Endowment to establish the National Fund for Sacred Places. Through the National Fund, Partners for Sacred Places provides planning grants, technical assistance, and capacity-building support, while the National Trust provides preservation expertise and capital grants up to $250,000 to help congregations restore and preserve historic places of worship.

Population(s) Served

The National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC), the National Trust’s for-profit subsidiary, enables tax credit equity investments that support sustainable communities nationwide. NTCIC provides tax credit financing for federal and state historic (HTC), new markets (NMTC), solar (ITC), and low-income housing (LIHTC) projects. On an annual basis, NTCIC declares dividends from net profits to support the National Trust. NTCIC is also the parent company of National Trust Tours, which operates study tours (temporarily paused because of the coronavirus pandemic). NTCIC also oversees an affiliate company that serves as a specialized insurance brokerage for owners of historic properties, from private homes to prominent historic landmarks, National Trust Insurance Services.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Total dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Total number of organization members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Includes members of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Leadership Forum, and National Trust Historic Sites.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We save diverse historic places for and with all people, empowering individuals to make changes in their own communities. We lead a preservation movement that grounds its work in human needs and aspirations and becomes a prevalent, powerful, and practical force to sustain, improve, and enrich people’s lives. We use our national scope to save historic places that matter, and expand our influence through meaningful partnerships. We take on the challenges that we are uniquely positioned to address, demonstrating the relevance of preservation through action and example.

Save America’s Historic Sites: In addition to engaging millions of visitors each year at our National Trust Historic Sites, we take direct action on the ground, in the courts, and in Congress to empower Americans to save threatened historic sites in their own communities.

Tell the Full American Story: Just a small fraction of sites on the National Register represent women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals. Through programs and public engagement, we uncover and uplift these long-hidden legacies by saving the places where generations of trailblazers raised their voices, took their stands, and found the courage to change the world.

Build Stronger Communities: Together, with our subsidiaries at the National Trust Community Investment Corporation and Main Street America, we help Americans unlock the potential of historic places to promote prosperity, foster equity, and encourage sustainability.

Invest in Preservation’s Future: The National Trust partners with more than 120 statewide and local preservation organizations, and hundreds more organizations around the country, to build a vigorous and growing community of champions for America’s historic places, and equip them with funding, tools, networks, and inspiration to advocate successfully for our past.

With more than 60 years of experience, the National Trust is taking direct action to protect places and promote preservation. Governed by a Board of Trustees comprised of nationally known leaders in business, finance, marketing, urban planning, and preservation, the National Trust leverages a variety of tools, resources, and networks to lead the preservation of America's historic and cultural legacies.

Based from its national headquarters in Washington, DC, and with field operations and employees at National Trust Historic Sites, the National Trust workforce is comprised of nearly 200 preservation, advocacy, legal, marketing, and fund-raising experts from across the United States. The National Trust is also steward to more than 60,000 historic objects and 4,200 acres across 28 National Trust Historic Sites representing more than 2,000 years of human history.

The National Trust celebrated several major accomplishments in 2020 in its work to save America’s historic places and engage the public in their support and preservation:

We kept Americans connected to cherished historic places through innovative exhibitions, more accessible historic landscapes, and dramatically expanded opportunities to connect virtually with our heritage from the safety of home.

We awarded more than $6 million in grant funding to help Americans preserve the places where our history happened.

We successfully championed more than $9.5 billion in federal funding to preserve and restore our cultural heritage on National Park sites and other lands held in trust for the American people.

We surpassed more than $23 million raised to tell a fuller American story through the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. In 2020 alone, the Action Fund made possible $1.6 million in grants to preserve African American sites, launched a $1 million initiative to uplift and preserve the legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and released a landmark report exploring preservation’s potential as a tool for equitable growth and development.

We fought back in court against the weakening of the National Environmental Policy Act, legislation that has been fundamental to 50 years of protecting America’s historic places, from historic neighborhoods to national icons like Jamestown.

We marked more than three decades of sounding the alarm to save a diverse mix of imperiled places through our annual listing of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

We convened the nation’s most innovative design leaders to collaborate on a vision to meet the demands of a changing climate at the National Mall Tidal Basin – America’s most visited national park.

Our affiliate Main Street America is strengthening historic downtowns struggling with Covid-10 closures with more than $1 million in new grant funding, now being awarded directly to small businesses and main street communities, as well as an advocacy campaign aimed at securing $100 million in federal assistance for downtowns.

We began investing more than $50 million in tax credit equity awarded by the U.S. Treasury to the National Trust Community Investment Corporation to create opportunity in underserved communities by transforming old buildings into new drivers of growth and renewal.

We engaged Americans in a public history campaign that is celebrating 1,000 places—and counting—where women of every generation raised their voices, took their stands, and moved our nation forward.

Looking to the future, the National Trust will continue to leverage and expand on its strengths of its signature programs to take direct action, inspire and engage the public, and support preservation leaders to advance its four strategic priorities (Saving America’s Historic Sites, Telling the Full American Story, Building Stronger Communities, and Investing in Preservation’s Future).

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection


National Trust for Historic Preservation in the US

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

National Trust for Historic Preservation in the US

Board of directors
as of 04/30/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Martha Nelson

Martha Nelson

Phoebe Tudor

Julia Ideson Library Preservation Partners

William J. Bates

Carnegie Mellon University

Christina Lee Brown

Elizabeth (Betsy) Kirkland Cahill

Samuel Dixon

Dixon and Thompson Law, PLLC

Damien Dwin

Lafayette Square

Tracy Frist

Alison K. Hoagland

Shelley Hoon Keith

Hoon Construction Services, Keith Properties

C.H. Randolph "Randy" Lyon

Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated (Baird)

Jennifer Skyler

American Express

Robert Joseph Vila

Deb Haaland

United States Department of the Interior

Merrick B. Garland

United States Department of Justice

Kaywin Feldman

National Gallery of Art

David Scott Parker

Joseph E. Quinata

Guam Preservation Trust

Jay C. Clemens

Tony Gelderman

KCT Real Estate Ventures

Peter Kies


Danielle Del Sol

Preservation Resource Center

Isaac Cosby Hunt, III

Center for Inspired Teaching

Edward I. Torrez

Bauer Latoza Studio

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/30/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/01/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.