CHARLESTON, S.C. – Historic Charleston Foundation has joined theCharleston World Heritage Coalition (CWHC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to obtaining UNESCO (United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage status for the city’s community and religious architecture. Historic Charleston Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve and protect the integrity of Charleston’s architectural, historical, and cultural heritage, has pledged an annual financial donation to assist with the expenses of applying for the designation.
“We are very grateful for Historic Charleston Foundation’s support, and we are honored to count such a venerable organization as a lead member of our Coalition. World Heritage designation will serve as a powerful celebration of the Foundation’s decades of hard work preserving Charleston’s unique material culture,” said Tom Aspinwall, the Coalition’s Executive Director. “The process of applying for World Heritage status creates exciting opportunities that are synonymous with its mission to educate the public about Charleston’s history and the benefits of preservation.”
Formed in 2013, CWHC plans to demonstrate widespread community support, raise public awareness, and ensure that all citizens of the greater Charleston area have a vested interest in obtaining the honor for the city. The CWHC will work to recognize Charleston’s historic significance recognized internationally through its inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The CWHC will use this designation to promote the city’s commercial opportunities abroad and to develop local intellectual, educational, and artistic prospects for the benefit of the greater Charleston community. The vision of the CWHC is to utilize the World Heritage designation to better the lives of all Charlestonians through:
• Increased discussion and celebration of the city’s diverse cultural heritage,
• promotion of economic development potential through strategic branding initiatives,
• attraction of greater social capital and educational resources,• exploration of greater funding opportunities for local property owners and organizations, and
• improved opportunities for partnerships across public and private sectors.
“The CWHC is undertaking an extensive nomination and application process and we are proud to be a partner in the process,” said Kitty Robinson, President and CEO of Historic Charleston Foundation. “In 2008, the Foundation worked with the City to update the 1974 Preservation Plan which recommended the pursuit of a World Heritage designation. This partnership is a natural one; both the CWHC and the Foundation are dedicated to protecting Charleston for both residents and visitors.”
The UNESCO World Heritage organization recognizes and protects natural and cultural sites that are significant to all mankind. World Heritage sites include places such as Edinburgh, the Pyramids of Giza, Venice, the Grand Canyon, and Monticello. A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place having special cultural and/or physical significance. To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. The World Heritage List includes 981 properties —21 of which are in the United Sates—forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.
About the Charleston World Heritage Coalition
The Coalition was established in 2013 with a gift from local businessman Stephen J. Ziff, to seek World Heritage designation for the city. The Charleston office of Robert W. Baird & Co. and the Baird Foundation provided additional start-up funding. Historic Charleston Foundation is the first nonprofit organization to join the Coalition. For more information contact Tom Aspinwall, or visit the Charleston World Heritage website at www.charelstonworldheritage.org
About Historic Charleston Foundation
Established in 1947, Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect the integrity of Charleston’s historical, architectural and cultural heritage. The Foundation is known for its preservation and advocacy programs including protective covenants and easements; education and outreach; and it is the first organization in the country to establish a revolving fund to acquire and preserve important buildings, a model now replicated in historic communities across the nation. Preservation coupled with education and outreach is at the heart of the HCF mission. This mission is supported through the generosity of preservation-minded donors, the annual Spring Festival of Houses and Gardens, the Charleston Antiques Show, a licensed products program, and retail shops. In addition, HCF fulfills its educational mission through the interpretation of its collections and two museum sites: the Nathaniel Russell House, c. 1808, and the Aiken-Rhett House, c. 1820.