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CONTACTS: Jennifer Kaleba
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Virgil McDill
National Trust for Historic Preservation

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Each Will Be Awarded $200,000 By American Express as Part of the company's "Members Project" Campaign

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the National Trust for Historic Preservation End in a Tie Vote (PDF 14K)

Washington, DC (June 1, 2010)— For the past twelve weeks, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and several other non-profit organizations have squared off against one another in an online voting campaign sponsored by American Express, vying for $200,000 in grant money. After an intensely spirited campaign, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy tied for the most votes in the Arts and Culture category, and American Express has generously decided to award $200,000 to both non-profit organizations.

The online voting campaign is part of American Express' innovative "Members Project," a partnership between American Express and TakePart— the socially conscious film company. For the Members Project online voting competition, non-profit organizations were grouped into one of five categories, including Arts & Culture, Community Development, Education, Environment & Wildlife, and Health & Wellness.

"This campaign went down to the wire, demonstrating the enthusiasm and wide support that can be generated by the use of social media to engage individuals in an organization's work," said David Brown, Acting President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "In that spirit, we will use the award to expand our online educational programs and reach new, younger, and broader audiences with preservation's message of sustainability and economic vitality. We congratulate Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, an outstanding organization with whom we have collaborated in the past, and we thank them for keeping us on our toes and being such a worthy adversary."

"Our work is founded on the vital purpose of rebuilding the historic, transportation connections between people and places," said Keith Laughlin, President of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC). "But this Members Project challenge took those connections to a whole new level. Through our outreach, our supporters told us exactly why rail-trails were so important to their communities and their lives, and why they were voting for RTC. We're honoring that dedication by using this award to further our initiatives that enable more people to build, find and use trails for transportation and recreation. And we couldn't imagine a more rewarding conclusion than to share the win with our long-time friends-in-preservation at the National Trust."

The Members Project is envisioned as a multi-year effort to help people make a difference in the lives of others by voting and taking action at The National Trust and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy are pleased to be among the first organizations selected to participate, and we thank American Express for its exceptional generosity and for launching this ground-breaking campaign that allows the public to have a voice in how American Express' philanthropic dollars are awarded.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation ( is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, eight regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America's stories.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 150,000 members and supporters, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors, building healthier places for healthier people. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is committed to enhancing the health of America's environment, transportation, economy, neighborhoods and people—ensuring a better future made possible by trails and the connections they inspire. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information visit

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037