The World Monuments Fund and Global Heritage Fund are creating a “strategic affiliation” to protect cultural heritage sites around the world

It Takes Two to Tango

The World Monuments Fund and Global Heritage Fund are creating a “strategic affiliation” to protect cultural heritage sites around the world

Phnom Bakheng, Cambodia is a WMF site. (Courtesy World Monuments Fund)

Two powerhouse preservation groups are uniting in order to help protect cultural heritage sites around the world. On October 17, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) and Global Heritage Fund (GHF) announced a strategic affiliation to “protect endangered heritage as global challenges increasingly threaten vital sites and the well-being of communities around them,” a press release stated.

“Collective action is critical in the face of growing challenges such as conflict, climate change, and over-tourism,” said Ro King, GHF Board of Directors Chair. “We are thrilled to join forces with World Monuments Fund. By uniting, we are amplifying our efforts and increasing resources for communities to protect their cultural heritage.”

Maritime Stations, Lisbon, Portugal is a WMF site. (Josh Nychuk)

The strategic affiliation means that several GHF team members will join WMF. This includes former GHF board members Rob Harper and Russell Platt who have been elected to the WMF board of trustees. Other former GHF trustees will transition to WMF’s international council, the WMF Britain affiliate board of directors, and a special task force that’s charged with maximizing the affiliation’s benefits. The partnership also means that two active GHF projects—Dali Village in Guizhou Province, China, and Ciudad Perdida in Colombia—will be added to WMF’s project portfolio.

Ciudad Perdida, Colombia (Plinio Barraza)
Dali Dong Village, Guizhou Province, China is a WMF site. (Zhang Li)

“We eagerly welcome the GHF team to our community,” said WMF board of trustees chair Lorna B. Goodman. “Our organizations share a commitment to preserving cultural heritage and our aligned missions create a formidable partnership poised to make an even greater impact on safeguarding cultural sites and traditions for generations to come.”

The WMF notes that their organization will benefit from its coalescence with the GHF community, especially on the west coast of the U.S. and in Asia. They note that GHF’s experimental approach at the intersection of heritage and technology, a legacy that stems from its 2002 founding in Palo Alto, California, will merge under the auspices of the WMF.

Rio Abiseo National Park, Peru (Heinz Plenge Archive)

“WMF and GHF bring together complementary regional and programmatic experience while sharing the same mission,” said WMF president and CEO Bénédicte de Montlaur. “This affiliation will allow us to further our work with communities around the world to safeguard irreplaceable heritage.”

Since 1965, WMF has raised over $300 million to help preserve 700 sites in 112 countries. The GHF, since 2002, has partnered with over 100 public and private organizations at 30 sites across 20 countries. Moving forward, the groups say they “aim to create a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future for cultural heritage protection worldwide.”