Press Release

New Watch Catalyst Fund Announced at 2018 Hadrian Gala

New York, NY, October 24, 2018—On Tuesday night at its annual Hadrian Gala, World Monuments Fund (WMF) announced new support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to create a Watch Catalyst Fund beginning with the 2020 World Monuments Watch. The evening honored two extraordinary leaders in heritage conservation: Prince Amyn Aga Khan, and Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler.

Held at New York City’s iconic Rainbow Room, the gala commenced with news that Stavros Niarchos Foundation, recipient of the 2016 Hadrian Award, has awarded WMF a two-year, $600,000 challenge grant to enhance the World Monuments Watch—the organization’s flagship, biennial program founded 22 years ago with support from American Express, recognizing heritage sites in urgent need and taking conservation actions that empower communities and improve resilience. The grant will create a Watch Catalyst Fund, allowing WMF for the first time to support interventions at all 25 sites beginning the day the 2020 Watch is announced in October 2019. WMF has successfully met the first half of the match thanks to a $300,000 grant from The Ford Foundation, and is actively fundraising for the remaining matching funds. Vasili Tsamis, Group Chief Operating Officer of the SNF, was on hand to make the exclusive announcement to the gala’s 300 attendees.

“We’re proud to partner with World Monuments Fund on the 2020 Watch program, to support conservation efforts that empower community stakeholders around their heritage sites and to help ensure a sustainable future,” said Vasili Tsamis, Group Chief Operating Officer of the SNF. “Today, more than ever, it is essential to reach out to each other, to respect, to appreciate, to celebrate and to preserve our world's cultural achievements.”

“Support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and now The Ford Foundation enables us to maximize the impact of the World Monuments Watch and ensure that every site has the resources they need to see transformative change—not just for the places themselves, but for the communities that steward them,” said Lisa Ackerman. “We are grateful for this opportunity to expand the impact of the Watch.”

The evening culminated with the presentation of the 2018 Hadrian Awards to Prince Amyn Aga Khan and Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler. Since 1988, the Hadrian Award has recognized leadership that advances the understanding, appreciation, and preservation of the world’s cultural heritage. Prince Amyn Aga Khan received the Hadrian Award in recognition of his lifelong support of cultural heritage in all its forms. Prince Amyn holds multiple leadership roles within the Aga Khan Development Network—a group of development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, tourism, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise, and the revitalization of historic cities. Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler received the Hadrian Award in recognition of his unmatched contributions to the preservation of the historic center of Havana, Cuba. Dr. Leal has served as the historian of the city of Havana since 1967, and is responsible for the comprehensive rehabilitation of Havana’s historic center, which is inscribed on the World Heritage list.

“Prince Amyn and Dr. Leal represent the impact that steadfast leadership can have on cultural heritage sites and their communities around the world,” said Lisa Ackerman, Interim Chief Executive Officer, World Monuments Fund. “We are thrilled to honor their extraordinary accomplishments this year.”

Now in its 31st year, WMF’s annual Hadrian Gala honors champions of conservation for their passionate commitment and extraordinary contributions to preserving and protecting the world’s shared cultural heritage. The 2018 Hadrian Gala was hosted by Dinner Chairs Tony Bechara, Brook and Roger Berlind, Linn and Robert Feidelson, Lorna and Edwin Goodman, Fernanda M. Kellogg, Monika McLennan, Christopher Ohrstrom, and Jack Shear. Attendees included Lorna Goodman (Chair of the Board of Trustees, World Monuments Fund) and Edwin Goodman, Mercedes Bass, Annabelle Selldorf, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Jack Shear, Fairfax Dorn, Marc Glimcher, Wendy Brandow, Margo Leavin, James Reginato, David Ford, Tobias Meyer, Mark Fletcher, Mary McFadden, Jane Weitzman, Katharine Rayner, Joan Hardy Clark, Peter Marino, Ashton Hawkins, Johnnie Moore Hawkins, Susan Gutfreund, Brook Berlind, Hélène Marie Shafran, Warrie Price, Fernanda Kellogg, Kirk Henckels, Sydney Weinberg, John Heilpern, Heather Henricks Lenkin, Monika McLennan, Tony Bechara, Dan Brodsky, Estrellita Brodsky, Christopher Ohrstrom, Melissa Stewart, Michael Stewart, Collin de Rham, Margo Langenberg, Prince Peter Kimmelman, Elbrun Kimmelman, Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas, Mahmood Khimji, and Richard Brown.

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About World Monuments Fund

World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organization devoted to saving the world’s treasured places. For more than 50 years, working in over 100 countries, its highly skilled experts have applied proven and effective techniques to the preservation of important architectural and cultural heritage sites around the globe. Through partnerships with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF seeks to inspire an enduring commitment to stewardship for future generations. Headquartered in New York City, the organization has offices and affiliates worldwide. Visit for more information, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Media Contact: Hillary Prim, Director of Communications,

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