World Monuments Fund Announces Ukraine Heritage Response Fund
With initial seed grant of $500,000 from Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, fund aims to address both the immediate needs of Ukrainian heritage professionals and long-term rehabilitation.
NEW YORK, NY, April 6, 2022–World Monuments Fund (WMF) today announced the launch of a Ukraine Heritage Response Fund. The fund aims to address the immediate critical needs of heritage professionals in the country and to lay the groundwork for future rehabilitation. The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation has committed $500,000 in initial funds to support this initiative.
Since the invasion of Ukraine, at least 53 historical sites have sustained damage according to UNESCO, including the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum and its collection; the Holy Mountains Lavra, a seventeenth-century monastery in Eastern Ukraine; and the historic center of Chernihiv, which is on the Tentative List for World Heritage status.
“World Monuments Fund deplores the loss of life that is taking place in Ukraine and expresses its solidarity with the Ukrainian people,” said Bénédicte de Montlaur, WMF President and CEO. “As an organization committed to safeguarding our shared global heritage, we believe that the destruction of cultural heritage is a loss for humanity as a whole. Our decades-long experience in crisis response around the world continues to reveal the lasting consequences of this destruction on communities.”
WMF has a longstanding history of serving as heritage first-responders with a well-established crisis response infrastructure to address emergency situations for cultural heritage sites around the globe. WMF has recently undertaken crisis response projects in Yemen, Tanzania, Mexico, Peru, Japan, and Iraq. The current crisis in Ukraine requires an immediate response from the heritage preservation community, including WMF, to address the short-, medium-, and long-term needs of the country and its heritage professionals.
Following meetings with both regional and global partners, including UNESCO, The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH), the Smithsonian Institution, and Blue Shield International, among others, World Monuments Fund has identified the following critical needs:
- Short-term: Equipment and Supplies: The most immediate needs for heritage professionals in Ukraine are supplies needed to protect sites from collateral damage.
- Medium-term: Documentation and Assessment of Damage: Once conflict subsides, heritage site managers will be faced with the challenge of taking stock of the damage and assessing the most urgent restoration needs.
- Long-term: Restoration and Rehabilitation Projects: While the full extent of harm remains to be seen; we are already aware of dozens of heritage sites that have suffered varying degrees of damage. We aim to develop projects that support recovery once the conflict subsides.
As a first step in response to the destruction in Ukraine, WMF has created a Ukraine Taskforce within the organization, dedicated to monitoring the situation and coordinating with Ukrainian professionals and various international stakeholders. WMF’s Ukraine Heritage Response Fund will support Ukrainian heritage professionals and provide supplies necessary to protect Ukrainian heritage places. When safe to do so, physical conservation projects will be necessary to stabilize and rehabilitate many important cultural sites across Ukraine. WMF is preparing now for those future needs by building a strong foundation of financial support that can be deployed for physical conservation work at cultural heritage sites.
About World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund (WMF) is the leading independent organization devoted to safeguarding the world’s most treasured places to enrich people’s lives and build mutual understanding across cultures and communities. The organization is headquartered in New York City with offices and affiliates in Cambodia, India, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and the UK. Since 1965, our global team of experts has preserved the world's diverse cultural heritage using the highest international standards at more than 700 sites in 112 countries. Partnering with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF draws on heritage to address some of today’s most pressing challenges: climate change, underrepresentation, imbalanced tourism, and post-crisis recovery. With a commitment to the people who bring places to life, WMF embraces the potential of the past to create a more resilient and inclusive society.
About Helen Frankenthaler Foundation
Established and endowed by Helen Frankenthaler during her lifetime, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation advances the artist’s legacy and inspires a new generation of practitioners through a range of philanthropic, educational, and research initiatives. Since becoming active in 2013, the Foundation has continued to strategically expand its program, which includes organizing and supporting significant exhibitions of the artist’s work, fostering new research and publications, advancing educational programs in partnership with arts organizations around the world, and launching groundbreaking initiatives that foster systemic change in the field. As a primary resource on the artist, and a steward of her collection and archive, the Foundation holds an extensive selection of Frankenthaler’s work in a variety of mediums, her collection of works by other artists, and original papers and materials pertaining to her life and work.
Judith Walker, Vice President of Communications, World Monuments Fund, firstname.lastname@example.org