The State Historical Fund is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion work rooted in History Colorado’s Anti-racism Grounding Virtues. We launched this process introspectively, reviewing past grants and identifying recipients from the last 30 years. We found that we already support projects that celebrate Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The projects we fund also make historic buildings compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) throughout the state. However, we can increase our work in this area, and we are committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in our grants, in ourselves, and in the processes and committees making decisions for funding.
On June 1, 2021 we launched updates to our grant programs for BIPOC projects. We define a BIPOC project as one that significantly benefits and involves one or more BIPOC communities. A new section of the State Historical Fund application asks applicants to discuss how their prospective grant project was created with, by, and for BIPOC communities. Applications are evaluated on a 100-point scale, and only projects that primarily serve BIPOC individuals and communities can earn a full 100-point score. Projects serving these communities also benefit from new, lower cash-match requirements, reducing or eliminating additional fundraising burdens for those seeking grants.
These changes occur against a backdrop of stark inequities in historic preservation in Colorado and beyond. As of 2020, only eight percent of the properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places relate to underrepresented communities and/or women nationwide, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Only two percent relate explicitly to Black history. Here in Colorado, of the approximately 1,500 properties in this state listed by the National Register, less than five percent are directly related to the history of women and underrepresented communities.
Future efforts to continue this work include increasing applicant convenience in accessing staff, program information, and completing our application; staff and reviewer training in diversity, equity, and inclusion and creating new partnerships with consultants and community organizations. We are making efforts immediately, but this is a permanent aspect of our work. To increase transparency of this work, this webpage will be updated as our work moves forward.
Want to learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion in preservation? Read Marisa Brown’s Preservation’s Existential Crisison the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Preservation Leadership Forum posted on June 18, 2020.