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Foundation Matters

Post & Courier: Historic Charleston Foundation evolving to meet challenges

Posted: December 5, 2023

by Anne Blessing, Board Chair, and Winslow Hastie, HCF President & CEO, November 28, 2023

Anne Blessing, Board Chair

Last year, Historic Charleston Foundation celebrated 75 years of pioneering advocacy, preservation and education in the Lowcountry.

Since its formation, the foundation has devoted itself to safeguarding this unique and remarkable city in myriad ways — from founding the nation’s first revolving fund in 1957 to launching a robust easement program to preventing the destruction of hundreds of properties in Charleston’s neighborhoods and more.

Over decades, we have ensured that issues of suburban sprawl did not undermine the vitality of the city’s historic district or its unique character at the rural edges. Most recently, with our coalition partners we have successfully advocated for a better Union Pier redevelopment plan.

In January, the Foundation began a strategic planning process based on three questions: What does the community need from us at this critical juncture? How must we focus our energy and resources going forward? And how must we deploy those strengths to protect our city and region most effectively in the face of massive growth and change?

June 7, 2023 public meeting regarding the future of Union Pier.

The answers are clear. Charleston faces unprecedented threats in the forms of increased flooding and storms, over-tourism in the fragile historic district, and outdated policies that fail to provide a positive vision for our region’s growth. Despite the increasing complexity of these challenges, HCF’s core purpose remains: to advocate for places, culture, and communities that are essential to the extraordinary character of Charleston and the Lowcountry. Please join us as we begin to implement the following initiatives:

 ICAA Juried Art Exhibit at ARH, 2023. 

The scope of the Historic Charleston Foundation’s work has evolved from a downtown focus in 1947 to the broader region. The work on the peninsula continues, but the foundation’s efforts now stretch from Mosquito Beach to Johns Island, to Awendaw and beyond, including settlement communities such as Phillips and Beefield. Today, the foundation continues to seek new solutions for protecting these vital neighborhoods.

Winslow Hastie, President & CEO

Historic Charleston Foundation has remained successful for over 75 years by evolving to meet the needs of the time, and the needs of this current time are substantial. As we enter this next phase, we are well-poised to advance the priorities of our bold strategic plan. Guided by our mission statement to advocate for a future for Charleston that honors and protects its people, places, culture and community, join us as we work toward executing these ambitious goals.

Anne Blessing is board chair of Historic Charleston Foundation. Winslow Hastie is the foundation’s CEO.

SOURCE: Post & Courier, November 28, 2023

One response to “Post & Courier: Historic Charleston Foundation evolving to meet challenges”

  1. Julie Welch Hoke says:

    I grew up downtown and my parents were both active in the Historic Foundation. I agree with the mission statement, but I do not think it was the Foundation’s original intent to extend its resources outside the city of Charleston. Given the cost of maintaining the historic properties and fulfilling its mission within the city limits, I think the foundation is overreaching and diluting its ability to take care of the historic resources in the city. Advocacy and collaboration with other communities are important, but should not take the focus and resources away from saving the historic buildings and treasures entrusted to it by generations of Charlestonians. I am not saying that other towns do not have issues that need addressing. But the “Historic Charleston” foundation simply cannot be all things to all people when there is so much to work on in Charleston. I disagree with selling the Nathaniel Russell House. It would be a travesty to take away the community’s access to this museum and to divest the foundation of its landmark property.

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