In the pages of this annual report you will find beautiful monuments in the heart of historic cities, such as the church of St. Trophime in Arles, France, whereWMF is struggling to reduce the impact of environmental pollution and excessive tourism. You will also find small villages such as Bafut, Cameroon, where vernacular architecture defines the place and unites the community around a common tradition that is at risk of being lost. There are innovative works whose future conservation depends on the solutions to complex technical problems, such as buildings by Frank LloydWright.
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The places mankind has built define our history on Earth. Our structures tell the story of our past; they frame our accomplishments and reflect our cultural and artistic aspirations. They are a testament to humanity’s extraordinary creativity in adapting the world’s diverse and multifaceted environment for our own use. The “built environment,” humanity’s contributions to the planet, is one of our greatest achievements.
The year 2007 provided opportunities both to consider our record of past achievements and to break new ground. WMF has grown exponentially in the last decade, thanks in large part to the artful guidance and stewardship of Dr. Marilyn Perry, who served as chairman of WMF for 17 years. In June, she was elected chairman emerita and W. L. Lyons Brown, former U.S. Ambassador to Austria, successful businessman, and dedicated philanthropist, assumed the chairmanship.
The World Monuments Fund’s fortieth anniversary Hadrian Award lunch in October 2005 was the occasion for a thrilling announcement.
Robert W. Wilson, WMF’s most generous donor, agreed to raise the level of funding for his Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage from $50 million to $100 million.
In 2005 WMF’s programming touched an unprecedented range of sites—177 in 58 countries around the world. Almost $13 million was invested in the future of places that, through this support, will survive and flourish as local cultural attractions, anchoring communities to their history and revitalizing elements of social and economic life.
Major shifts in world events in 2004 posed both challenges and opportunities for WMF in its effort to safeguard and conserve our cultural heritage.