On December 1, 2010 in recognition of its exemplary support of the protection of French patrimony, French Heritage Society received the high distinction of Grand Mécène de la Culture from Frédéric Mitterrand, French Minister of Culture. French Heritage Society was represented at the ceremony by Chairman Elizabeth Stribling, President Denis de Kergorlay, Founding President Michèle le Menestrel-Ullrich and other dedicated FHS staff and volunteers.
Four other distinguished recipients were also honored: Madame Nahed Ojjeh (who was named Grand Donateur de la Culture) and three other grands mécènes – Champagne Louis Roederer, Crédit Coopératif Foundation and the Groupe Norac. The honor has been bestowed for a period of five years and has provided official recognition of the Society's work as it moves toward its 30th anniversary.
French Heritage Society plaque ceremonies focus on the association’s unique role in historic preservation, with nearly 500 grants awarded on both sides of the Atlantic. They serve as occasions to pay tribute to property owners who have successfully completed restorations for which they received a French Heritage Society grant.
French Heritage Society leaders, staff, volunteers and members are invited to attend these ceremonies. Additionally, these commemorations highlight collaborations of the owners not only with FHS, but also those with local authorities in what are often major campaigns that impact regional cultural life and development. This increases visibility in the press for these success stories in historic preservation and those parties involved in specific campaigns, while fostering relationships amongst fellow historic properties, mayors and other officials, architects and other actors in all sectors of historic preservation.
Examples of French Heritage Society inaugural plaque ceremonies since 2009 when the program began include: the Abbeys of Souvigny, Lagrasse and Fontfroide for their preservation of Sacred Architecutre; as well as historic châteaux, parks and gardens. These include among others: Château de Dampeirre-sur-Boutonne, Hôtel de Bourrienne in Paris, Parc de Bodélio, and Château de Kerlevenan.
In the US, ceremonies were held at the Champlain Memorial Lighthouse near Boston, at the recently restored statue of Joan of Arc in Philadelphia and more are being planned in conjunction with French Heritage Society activities planned in New Orleans in May 2011.
“Your action is emblematic of Franco-American friendship in the cultural realm. I am especially pleased to honor French Heritage Society’s actions by awarding you the distinction of Grand Mécène de la Culture.”
~ Frédéric Mitterrand, French Minister of Culture and Communication
French Heritage Society
14 E 60th Street, #605
New York, NY 10022-7131
Tel: +1 (212) 759-6846
Fax: +1 (212) 759-9632
French Heritage Society
7 rue Lincoln
75008 Paris, France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 40 70 07 57
Fax: +33 (0) 1 40 70 07 86