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Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church is an Inaugural Recipient of the Preservation League’s New Preservation Opportunity Fund Grant
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com -
Contributed By: Preservation League of NYS
Email The Author: kpeace@preservenys.org
Website: https://www.preservenys.org/preservation-opportunity-fund

WATERTOWN, NY, 6.26.24 — The Preservation League of NYS is thrilled to share that the Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church is one of three grantees of the newly launched Preservation Opportunity Fund. Their grant will fund emergency structural stabilization to mitigate water damage 

"This is exciting news for the Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church,” said Shameika Ingram, founder of Preservation In Color. “We have been working for the past three years to find grant funding while highlighting the history of the church. Being one of the recipients of the Preservation Opportunity Grant is another victory for the church." 

Following the formation of the AME Zion Church in 1821, the Thomas Memorial congregation was formed in 1878 and incorporated in 1880. The construction of their church building was completed in 1909 in the Late Gothic Revival style. It represented the only African American congregation in Jefferson County for several years. The church's masonry blocks were formed by the hands of the congregation and community members. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. It served as a place of worship for many years before it closed its doors due to a lack of congregation attendance and a need for extensive repair work. The church has remained vacant since the passing of Mr. William "Buster" Crabbe in 2017 who was the church caretaker. In 2021 a group informally named "Friends of Thomas Memorial" began to discuss ways to preserve the church. This group consists of preservation experts who have devoted time to bring awareness to the need to preserve and repair the church structure. In 2022, the church was included on the Preservation League’s Seven to Save list of endangered historic sites. This POF grant funding will help continue efforts in stabilizing the church's failing structural infrastructure, caused by age and water damage.

“Adirondack Architectural Heritage is honored to serve as the fiscal sponsor for Preservation in Color and to support Shameika Ingram’s leadership in organizing the effort to preserve Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church in Watertown,” said Erin Tobin, executive director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage.

Preservation In Color (PIC) is a platform that highlights the creative ways we preserve Black history, culture and community. PIC focuses on grassroots historic preservation community engagement and project management.

Adirondack Architectural Heritage is the nonprofit historic preservation organization for New York State’s Adirondack region, with a mission to promote better public understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the region’s unique and diverse architectural heritage.

Also receiving POF funding in 2024:
- Albany County Historical Association’s Ten Broeck Mansion Roof Restoration, Albany, Albany County 
- Old Fort Johnson’s Gutter Restoration, Fort Johnson, Montgomery County

As Preservation League President Jay DiLorenzo said when the grant program was first announced in February, “We have seen a clear need from nonprofits across the state for more grant funding specifically for capital improvement projects. Through our new Preservation Opportunity Fund, we hope to meet some of that need.”
The launch of this grant program coincides with the Preservation League’s 50th Anniversary and the organization’s recent five-year plan, which laid out clear goals for the statewide nonprofit moving forward. The creation of the Preservation Opportunity Fund is a key tactic to meeting the organization’s goal of “Protecting our heritage from loss.” Giving organizations the money they need to complete pressing projects will enable them to successfully steward those historic sites for many more years to come.

Annual grants made from this fund will support discrete capital projects on historic buildings, sites, structures, and objects. Organizations with an ownership interest in, or a long-term lease of, a historic property requiring preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation, are eligible. These grant funds aim to help those organizations that already have a clear idea of what their historic building needs — but may not yet have the funding in place to make it happen. https://www.preservenys.org/preservation-opportunity-fund

About the Preservation League of New York State
Since its founding in 1974, the Preservation League of NYS has built a reputation for action and effectiveness. Our goal has been to preserve our historic buildings, districts, and landscapes and to build a better New York, one community at a time. The League empowers all New Yorkers to use historic preservation to enrich their communities, protect their heritage, and build a sustainable future. We lead advocacy, economic development, and education programs across the state.

Connect with us at preservenys.orgfacebook.com/preservenysyoutube.com/c/PreservationLeague and instagram.com/preservenys

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Posted: June 27, 2024
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Unless noted, the thoughts and opinions expressed in the article are solely that of the
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