Milestones, Fall 1995
With a $5 million lead grant from American Express Company WMF proudly announces the establishment of the World Monuments Watch, a major new program aimed at identifying and preserving the world's most important endangered cultural landmarks. The August 4,1995 kickoff took place at a luncheon hosted by Harvey Golub, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express, and attended by company executives Cornelia Higginson, Jonathan Linen, Mary Beth Salerno and Thomas Schick, and WMF trustees Bonnie Burnham, Marilyn Perry, Peter Stern, and Robert Wilson. The $5 million grant is the largest that American Express has ever awarded to an organization and the largest single grant that WMF has ever received. Since 1988, American Express has been a major sponsor, supporting WMF programs in Cambodia, the Czech Republic, Italy and Spain and publications-a special edition of The American Express Pocket Guide to Venice to celebrate WMF's 20th anniversary, Saving OUf Past: A Race Against Time on the occasion of its 25th anniversary and Trails to Tropical Treasures: A Tour ofASEAN's Cultural Heritage, a joint effort with U.S.lICOMOS. The World Monuments Watch will target selected sites for immediate action, to call attention to the need for innovative approaches to protect threatened sites throughout the world.
The World Monuments Watch emphasis on sites in danger of imminent collapse or severe damage caused by acts of man or nature distinguishes it from other cultural property listings. The List of 100 Most Endangered Monuments At the heart of the World Monuments Watch is an inventory of sites nominated each year by governments, private organizations active in the field of heritage conservation and concerned individuals. Each year, the World Monuments Watch will convene an advisory panel of international experts to evaluate the nominated sites and select the annual List of IOO Most Endangered Monuments. The advisory panel will also make initial recommendations for financial assistance. World Monuments Watch Fund The World Monuments Watch Fund is comprised of donations and grants from corporate, individual and foundation sponsors. WMF will award World Monuments Watch Fund grants each year to sites selected from the List of IOO Most Endangered Monuments. Grant awards will support activities such as strategic planning, emergency and technical assistance, educational and local fund raising programs and conservation treatment. Approximately $1 million per year will be distributed in grants within the first five years of the program (1996- 2.000) as a part of American Express's pioneering grant. World Monuments Fund will also seek contributions to the fund from other sponsors. An annual spring fundraising gala will coincide with the announcement of the List of lOa Most Endangered Monuments.