Press Release


Preservation Virginia Receives $500,000 Grant from The Mellon Foundation

Funding will support Preservation Virginia’s Voices Remembered initiative.

RICHMOND, Va. (July 6, 2023) – A recent grant from the Mellon Foundation to Preservation Virginia, the nation’s first statewide historic preservation nonprofit, will help document, elevate and save traditionally underrepresented history throughout the Commonwealth. The newly launched Voices Remembered program will grow the capacity of local preservation groups and Preservation Virginia’s team to identify, share and raise awareness for unique historic sites and stories.

Funding through the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities in Place program will: 1) support community outreach to help local communities harness tools to achieve preserving their history and historic sites; 2) grow Preservation Virginia’s African American Fellows Program from three participants to five with the goal of increasing participation in the historic preservation field; 3) expand descendant participation in the stories shared at Preservation Virginia’s six historic sites open to the public; and 4) establish a new website dedicated to connecting with descendant communities to share resources online.

“Preservation in a state as historic as Virginia is a massive undertaking, and we work with individuals, organizations and local governments to find ways to preserve and acknowledge historic sites and help plan their memorialization, adaptation and preservation with community members,” said Elizabeth S. Kostelny, Preservation Virginia CEO. “We’re thrilled the Mellon Foundation recognized the need and are partnering with us in this important work.”

Dr. Lisa Winn Bryan, community outreach manager at Preservation Virginia and assistant professor of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, joined the team in 2022 to implement a new level of community outreach to African American and Virginia Indian communities. “Studies reveal only 2% of the sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places focus on African American or Indigenous history,” said Dr. Winn Bryan. “We know how much needs to happen in Virginia to increase that percentage and document our rich history, and through the Mellon Foundation’s support, we’re ready to get to work.”

The project will begin with conversations with focus groups throughout Virginia beginning this summer. In the fall, applications will open for the next class of Fellows at Preservation Virginia.

About Preservation Virginia

Preservation Virginia is a private, nonprofit organization seeking to inspire and engage the public in fostering, supporting and sustaining Virginia’s historic places through leadership in advocacy, education, revitalization and stewardship. Learn more at

About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at