SRI Foundation Receives American Express Grant to Support Historic Preservation Leadership Development and Diversity Expansion

ARCUS Leadership Program Fellows

​​​​​​​The SRI Foundation, which promotes the advancement of historic preservation professionals, today announced a $225,000 grant from American Express to grow the ARCUS Leadership Program. ARCUS is among the first initiatives with a comprehensive curriculum developing leadership skills among emerging leaders of the heritage preservation movement.

The grant provides scholarships over three years to 75 emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds to participate in a year-long fellowship. American Express previously supported the design of ARCUS and pilot fellowship classes.

Twenty-seven new ARCUS Fellows from 17 states gathered in Denver in October to kick off their experience during the annual conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. ARCUS Fellows will now receive faculty-guided access to 25 online courses in leadership theory and practice and in-person networking and training opportunities.

"For more than four decades, American Express has helped preserve and sustain places that exemplify our nation's rich and diverse history," said Timothy J. McClimon, president, American Express Foundation. "We also invest in the future leaders who will preserve and protect our shared past."

SRI Foundation Executive Director Terry Klein stated, "American Express' support is making it possible for emerging heritage preservation professionals, especially from underrepresented communities, to benefit from this in-depth training, regardless of their ability to pay."

In 2015, a coalition of more than 100 federal and state government agencies, nonprofits, and American Indian tribes identified the lack of tailored and accessible leadership training as among the biggest challenges for historic preservation - and established ARCUS in response.

In addition to fellowships, ARCUS offers low-cost virtual access to its courses to preservationists worldwide at

To implement ARCUS, the SRI Foundation is partnering with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Cultural Heritage Partners, a global law and policy firm specializing in historic preservation. CHP Founding Partner Greg Werkheiser commented, "Culture and history is constantly lost to development, conflict, theft, and neglect. To answer these threats systemically requires entrepreneurial and creative thinking from a variety of viewpoints. The role of ARCUS is to help build that new leadership ecosystem."

The ARCUS Leadership Program consists of courses that include video presentations, live web programming, curated publications, as well as written and practice assignments that focus on real challenges in the field. Titles include: Advocate, Budgeter, Convener, Entrepreneur, Futurist, Evaluator, Fundraiser, Grassroots Organizer, Grasstops Organizer, Historian, HR Manager, Includer, Legal Navigator, Native Partner, Negotiator, Office Manager, Orator, Planner, Risk Mitigator, Social Media Maven, Successor, Team Builder, Trusted Source, Visionary, Volunteer Coordinator, and Writer.

ARCUS graduate Jessica Wobig, Architectural Historian Planner at Jacobs Civil Engineering, commented on the impact ARCUS has had on her career: "I gained professional confidence and practical skills from ARCUS. I feel that my leadership capacity really came into focus, which helps me deliver on great projects, and hopefully, inspire others to think big."

SRI Foundation - Founded in 2001, SRIF aims to advance education, training, public outreach, and research in all fields of historic preservation. Their work prepares historic preservation professionals for the future and builds their expertise to be more effective at conveying the value of their discipline.

Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC - CHP is a global law, policy, and business strategy firm serving clients from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who have challenges involving the protection of and access to art and antiquities, archaeology, historic buildings and landscapes, and living cultural practices.

National Trust for Historic Preservation - The Trust is a privately funded nonprofit organization that works to save America's historic places.

Contact: Greg Werkheiser,

Source: SRI Foundation

About Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC

As one of the world's only law and policy firms dedicated exclusively to serving cultural heritage clients, Cultural Heritage Partners is committed to advancing the interests of our clients and the global art and preservation movement as a whole.

Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC
2101 L Street NW , #Suite 800
Washington, DC

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