An Exciting 2015 for TRIP

Dear Friends and Partners—

2015 was an active and exciting year for Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy (TRIP), marked by over 25 grants to organizations around the world. We are pleased to share a few highlights with you.

Celebrating and Rejuvenating U.S. Public Lands

2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and we feel privileged to support the National Park Foundation and park friends groups with a multi-year gift as it embarks on a new century of stewardship. The National Park Service protects more than 400 national parks and has over 100 special park projects planned for its Centennial. Robin was asked to help re-brand NPF and develop a multifaceted strategy with the U.S. Travel Industry, an honor which led to a recent and unique outreach project: Top 25 Park Projects for the Travel Industry. TRIP’s in-kind expertise over the years culminated in additional collaborations, from an artist in residence grant at Everglades National Park, to several conservation efforts and supporting local economies at Four Corners in the American Southwest, home to the greatest cluster of World Heritage Sites in the U.S.

The broad, vital task of the National Park Service requires private philanthropy, and we encourage others to support the Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks. The initiative will meet critical capital, conservation, programming and technology needs. Please join us in energizing, rejuvenating and defending our parks: an exemplary collection of public lands.

Supporting International Cultural Research

We strongly believe in investing in cultural research and scholarship, and 2015 signaled a new commitment at TRIP to supporting research at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of our nation’s leading cultural organizations with significant global reach.

For millennia, Jerusalem has served as the center, and crossroads, of the world’s three major monotheistic religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Between 1000 and 1400 CE, arguably the most creative moment in the most complex city on earth, Jerusalem was home to more cultures, faiths and languages than at any other period. We are delighted to share that TRIP will support The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s landmark 2017 exhibition Every People Under Heaven: Jerusalem, 1000-1400 by partially underwriting its catalogue—a beautiful 350-page publication with essays by Barbara D. Boehm and Melanie Holcomb, curators in the Met’s Department of Medieval Art and the Cloisters, among other scholars. The exhibition and exhibition catalogue will reach millions of audience members, feature a multiplicity of perspectives, and illustrate the cultural heterogeneity that Jerusalem has embodied for centuries.

Also in New York City, TRIP has embarked on a multi-year partnership with Barnard College, a leading liberal arts college for women within Columbia University, founded on the premise that women deserve equal education and opportunity. As Vice President of TRIP and a 2008 alumnus of Barnard, Colleen spearheaded the development of The Colleen Ritzau Leth ’08 Family Fund for International Research, which will provide ongoing support to Barnard faculty across departments who are currently conducting research that touches on the relationship between culture and international affairs or policy, and whose scholarship promotes mutual understanding between diverse societies. This permanent endowed fund will allow Barnard’s exceptional and deserving faculty to engage deeply in research spanning international relations, peace building studies, economics, and human rights.

Art in Public Places Thought Leadership

In 2015, we reported to you that TRIP provided underwriting for a dynamic conversation between artists, curators, nonprofit leaders and executives of city, state and national park systems on the future of art in parks. The summer conversation was organized by Creative Time, the award-winning nonprofit that produces historic public art projects, on the occasion of Drifting in Daylight, its historic public art commission in Central Park (the first since 2004) that reinvigorated the overlooked northern end of the park with sculpture, music and performance art.

We would like to applaud Creative Time for its tremendously successful Creative Time Summit—now the world’s largest international conference on art and social change, held this fall in Brooklyn. The discussion focused on education policies in the U.S. and the effects of pedagogical art practices and omissions in contemporary curricula, as well as political issues such as the re-segregation of public schools. Creative Time believes artists are truly change agents, with the ability to affect society for the better. We couldn’t agree more.

In closing, as we look ahead to a very engaged 2016 for TRIP, from National Park Service projects across our nation to a number of international grants supporting Nepal, Peru, Egypt, Myanmar and more, we’d like to remind our friends and collaborators of our mission: culture matters, It is a belief that is especially important at this moment in our shared history.

It was a pleasure to work with many of you to move the needle forward on issues and projects that impact communities worldwide. Thanks to everyone who supported our journey this year.

Wishing you and your communities peace in 2016,

Robin Tauck and Colleen Ritzau Leth

Image: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. TRIP is supporting the National Park Foundation with a multi-year gift as it embarks on a new century of stewardship. Credit: Raj Hanchanahal