Since 1993, Preservation Delaware Inc. has worked to maintain Delaware’s architectural and historical heritage.
2019 was a significant year for the nonprofit, which welcomed new board members and a new executive director. The organization also participated in Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C., where members met with U.S. Sen. Tom Carper to discuss issues facing the preservation community. The group has also worked to establish a legal defense fund for historical resources, with a $10,000 goal that will allow the organization to oppose demolition of historical landmarks.
At its annual meeting in December, new board members were introduced. “I think old Delawareans, long-term Delawareans, and newly arrived Delawareans all care about our history,” said Michael McGrath, president of Preservation Delaware Inc. “I believe our job as Preservation Delaware is to mobilize that interest to change how the government deals with our history, how homeowners and property owners perceive the resources that they are stewards of, and help all of us better understand our relationship to our quality of life in a place like Delaware and how it’s related to our history.”
McGrath said hometown businesses, cultural landscapes, communities and people are what maintains Delaware’s quality of life. Preserving history is crucial to building a better tomorrow, he said.
“If we can’t do it in the First State, then there’s no place in America where it can be done,” McGrath said.
Introduced at the annual meeting was incoming Executive Director Jay McCutcheon, a graduate of the University of Miami with 25 years of experience in nonprofit and corporate settings. McCutcheon said successful organizations need three things: dedicated people; a good product, in this case preservation; and a strong strategic communication and development plan.
“PDI already has the first two,” McCutcheon said. “It is in the third area where I feel I can contribute the most.”
For the coming year, the organization plans to offer informative programs including a series of preservation workshops in May and a fall conference. It is also developing preservation toolkits that will help preserve buildings, landscapes, and vistas.
For more information about Preservation Delaware Inc., go to preservationde.org.