This fall Historic Harrisburg received the Henry A. Jordan Award for our exemplary work in local preservation efforts from Preservation Pennsylvania.
At a time when the City of Harrisburg is in dire straits, Historic Harrisburg is working hard to build relationships with residents and business owners in the city to advance historic preservation at the local level. Through projects such as City Beautiful 2.0, Lighten Up Harrisburg and 3rd in the Burg, in addition to bi-monthly education and outreach programs, the organization is inspiring and leading community members to act where the government cannot.
Just over three years ago, Historic Harrisburg was an all-volunteer organization with a four-member board and debts looming large. We realized that what we had been doing wasn't working in the new economy, so we took a risk and opted to hire professional staff who would move the organization out of survival mode, turn their liabilities into assets, and grow the organization to be a leader in Harrisburg. Historic Harrisburg’s membership doubled last year, as did our operating budget and thus our ability to have a profound impact on the City of Harrisburg.
Historic Harrisburg's success depends largely on three key factors. We are taking a big-picture approach to historic preservation, focusing not just on saving buildings, but on educating neighbors about what doing so means and how it contributes to the sustainability of the community. We empower citizens to take ownership of where they live, including public spaces and resources. Historic Harrisburg is managing our nonprofit as a business, investing what would be profits in a typical corporation right back into programming that advances our mission. Additionally, we have come to accept that compromise is not necessarily a bad thing, and is sometimes necessary to achieve a net benefit for the community. We have also worked hard to expand and diversify our board and membership, and are working to change the way “preservation” is perceived in the city. By educating and engaging local residents, we are making preservation meaningful to a broad population base.
Despite limited resources, Historic Harrisburg is pioneering change in the State Capitol to preserve their legacy and secure a brighter tomorrow.
As we celebrate our 40th Anniversary and this great recognition by Preservation Pennsylvania, we hope that you will consider donating $40 to help make our Anniversary year an even better success!