Milestones, 1997 Annual Report
A year is but a passing gleam in the life of a monument or site, but in terms of conservation, a year can make a decisive difference. From that perspective, the fiscal year 1997 was especially significant for the World Monuments Fund, and for our capacity to make a difference to the preservation of cultural heritage throughout the world. WMF's important new program, the World Monuments Watch, experienced dramatic growth. As the fiscal year began, the Watch had just completed its first year, with the gratifying success that 32 sites on the 1996 List of 100 Most Endangered Sites received grants totaling $1.4 minion. By the end ofthe year, the list ofsites aided through the Wodd Monuments Watch grants had grown to 51, and the funds disbursed by WMF, thanks to the generosity of diverse donors, had risen to $2.85 minion. The powerful leverage effect of our grants-matched in turn by local sources, especially governmentsresulted in a total of at least $4 million devoted to listed sites during the first biennial cycle. In many cases, World Monuments Watch listing alone was instrumental in saving a site where conservation had previously stalled for lack offunds or interest. As another measure of meaningful progress, only 25 of the original sites were retained for the 1998 List of 100, chosen by an expert panel that convened in April 1997. Most ofthe sites listed in 1996 were out ofimmediate danger. Beyond the World Monuments Watch, new partnerships spurred conservation activities at several World Monuments Fund project sites. In the Czech Republic, a graduate student training program sponsored by the Kress Foundation brought together students from the University of Pennsylvania and the Litomysl School to focus on the Rendezvous, an early nineteenthcentury folly in Lednice-Valtice Park.
The Czech government adopted their planning document and allocated funds for the restoration of the building's interior. WMF reciprocated with funding for the exterior. In the summer of 1997 the renewed training partnership was engaged in hands-on work, and the dilapidated folly, abandoned since World War II, was well on its way to being restored. The success ofthese programs prompted new gifts from major donors, including our Board of Trustees.
To expand WMP's capacity to generate international partnerships, Trustee Robert W. Wilson established a $1 million-ayear challenge program requiring matching support from non-U.S. donors. Trustee H, Peter Stern created an annual fund for new project initiatives at the president's discretion. The Brown Foundation, through the interest ofTrustee Nancy WeHin, approved planning funds to expand programs in China and Cambodia. Celebrated artists and distinguished international leaders also helped our cause. His Highness the Aga Khan accepted the Wodd Monuments Fund Hadrian Award in October 1996 with a thoughtful commentary on enduring values in architecture. Lord Rothschild, a previous Hadrian awardee, spoke on the British Natio~al Lottery and its impact on cultural heritage at a small black-tie gathering in January. And the spring brought a festive gala evening with an unforgettable recital by Cecilia Bartoli and Jean-Yves Thibaudet in the elegant splendor of the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. Each of these events nurtured WMF field programs by bringing together international audiences to celebrate and support the conservation ofthe world's architectural heritage. The fiscal year closed with another celebration when American Express, the primary sponsor ofthe World Monuments Watch, hosted a dinner inJune 1997 for the new Wodd Monuments Watch program grantees. Representing sites that we have aided throughout the world, our assembled colleagues spoke in terms ofgratitude and enthusiasm for the work that has been accomplished-the difference that has been made-at site after site because ofthe W orId Monuments Fund.