NEW YORK, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- American Express today announced a $10 million, five-year commitment to historic preservation and the launch of the American Express(R) Partners in Preservation program, expanding the Company's focus on securing the use of cultural assets for the future. The American Express Partners in Preservation program builds upon the Company's decade-long relationship with the World Monuments Fund (WMF) and establishes a partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The program is dedicated to preserving sites both in the U.S. and around the world. "Both the World Monument Fund and the National Trust are valued experts in historic preservation and, like American Express, each recognizes the vital importance of preserving historic sites for future generations," said Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive, American Express. "American Express is pleased to acknowledge two such worthy organizations as partners in our continued effort to preserve the world's cultural assets." American Express' partnership with the National Trust seeks to increase public awareness of the importance of historic and environmental conservation in the United States, preserve American historic and cultural landmarks, and strengthen local communities through preservation efforts. The National Trust is a U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring America's historic landmarks and communities. American Express continues to extend its decade-long relationship with the WMF through a renewed commitment to preservation. Based in New York, WMF is the foremost private nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the world's cultural and architectural heritage. American Express is the founding sponsor of WMF's World Monuments Watch program, established in 1995 to call international attention to and ensure the preservation of cultural heritage sites around the world threatened by neglect, vandalism, armed conflict, or natural disaster, and has contributed more than $10 million over the past ten years to help preserve 119 historic sites in 59 countries placed on the World Monuments Watch list of 100 Most Endangered Sites. "It is hard to imagine a company that has demonstrated a stronger, more generous commitment to historic preservation than American Express," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust. "We've been proud to work with the Company on several occasions in the past, and we're honored to be a partner in this new exciting initiative. I believe it can make a real difference in preserving the irreplaceable places that tell America's story." American Express has also supported National Trust for Historic Preservation initiatives, including the Save America's Treasures and Heritage Tourism programs. Last year, the Company assisted WMF and the National Trust with a $200,000 grant for their joint efforts to help save the devastated Gulf Coast in the wake of the 2005 hurricanes. "The World Monuments Fund is very pleased to continue our partnership with American Express, which has been such a committed supporter for more than ten years," said Bonnie Burnham, president of the World Monuments Fund. "Heritage preservation is a critical issue, now more than ever before, as significant sites around the world are exposed to ever-increasing threats, both manmade and environmental. We are grateful to American Express for its strong support for and its championship of our projects, and we look forward to many more years of working together to save our shared cultural heritage across the globe." Through the American Express Partners in Preservation program, American Express will provide $5 million for each partner dedicated to preservation projects. The initial distribution of funds for the National Trust and WMF will be announced in the coming months. "We are committed to preserving the world's most precious and significant landmarks and the history that accompanies them," said Chenault of American Express. "By making a significant pledge to both the National Trust and the World Monuments Fund over the next five years, American Express can help ensure future generations will have opportunities to experience the history and beauty of our past." American Express Honored for Preservation Efforts On June 13, at its fourth annual Restore America Gala held in Washington D.C., the National Trust for Historic Preservation honored American Express Company for its commitment and dedication to preservation efforts to cultural assets and historic landmarks. Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Group President, accepted the award on behalf of American Express. About the National Trust for Historic Preservation The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America's communities. Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to protect the irreplaceable places that tell America's story. Staff at the Washington, D.C. headquarters, six regional offices and 28 historic sites work with the Trust's 270,000 members and thousands of preservation groups in all 50 states. For more information, visit the Trust's Web site at www.nationaltrust.org. About the World Monuments Fund The World Monuments Fund (WMF) is the foremost private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered architectural and cultural sites around the world. Since 1965, WMF has worked tirelessly to stem the loss of historic structures at more than 400 sites in over 80 countries. WMF works with local partners and communities to identify and save important heritage through innovative programs of project planning, fieldwork, advocacy, grant-making, education, and on-site training. For more information, please visit www.wmf.org. About American Express The American Express Philanthropic Program makes grants in three major program areas: Cultural Heritage, Economic Independence and Community Service. In 2005, contributions totaled more than $31 million. Grants, made on behalf of the American Express family of companies, enrich the lives of American Express customers, their families and their communities. American Express Company (www.americanexpress.com) is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.
SOURCE American Express