The program awards $2 million in grants across 20 sites, focusing on landmarks that celebrate diversity and the fight for equality this year.
The public has until October 26 to cast its votes for this year's winners on National Geographic’s website. Winners will be announced on October 29.
“At National Geographic, our most successful partnerships lean into purpose and tap into our leadership as the No. 1 brand on social media — Partners in Preservation is a perfect example of this,” Tammy Abraham, vice president of corporate partnerships, National Geographic Partners, told Publishing Insider.
(National Geographic has ranked No. 1 in social media for four years running by data and analytics firm Shareablee, counting more than 1.6 billion actions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in 2017.)
National Geographic has seen “incredible engagement and action with this campaign,” she notes. In its first round as a partner three years ago, the brand drove more than 1.1 million votes, exceeding its goal of 500,000.
Since then, the numbers and engagement have climbed during the second and third years. The brand has added new ways for people to easily access the campaign across social media. Abraham credits a clear call to action and acting from a place of authenticity that resonates with National Geographic’s audience.
Abraham said, “For this project in particular, we’ve also learned that success comes when we’re able to leverage communities and engage consumers at local and national levels. It’s been an incredibly powerful combination to drive action.”
American Express’s vice president of philanthropy Richard Brown is energized by the initiatives ability to preserve character and drive development, attract visitors and propel commerce in local communities across the country. So far, Partners in Preservation has awarded over $22 million, supporting more than 200 sites since 2006.
Last year, The Alabama Theatre in Birmingham received a grant totaling $140,000 that allowed it to install a replica of the original signage and complete an ongoing major exterior restoration. Since its completion, the city’s downtown area is thriving.
Brown added: “Through Partners in Preservation Main Streets, we’ve aligned two cornerstones of our long-standing commitment to communities: historic preservation and the Shop Small movement. We are also pleased to be able to focus on sites on Main Street that celebrate our nation’s diversity this year.”
Both the Partners in Preservation program and individual’s engagement across social media have evolved, allowing the program to grow from a city-wide effort to a national one that features historic places in city and town centers, but also in national parks.
Germonique Ulmer, vice president of public affairs at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, explained: “This has enabled the program to feature sites that tell a layered and compelling story about American history.”