Aspire Award

American Express Aspire Award

The American Express Aspire Award recognizes an emerging leader in the preservation field who has made significant achievements in preservation. The Aspire Award highlights the promise and potential of the preservation field through its talented emerging leaders.  Award winners will be honored at the 2020 PastForward Conference in Miami, Florida.

The nomination period for the 2020 National Preservation Awards has closed.


  • Individuals nominated for the Aspire Award must have ten or fewer years of experience in the preservation field.
  • Nominations submitted in previous years that were not selected to receive an award may be updated and resubmitted.
  • Nominations may be made without the knowledge of the nominee, but nominees must be present at the award ceremony to receive recognition.
  • Self-nominations will be accepted.
  • Nominations for posthumous awards will not be accepted.
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation Trustees, Advisors, and staff are not eligible to receive a National Preservation Award for individual achievement during the period of their active service and for three years thereafter. 
  • Properties owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation will not be considered, nor will individuals or groups of individuals for their work relative to National Trust properties.

Award Criteria

To be considered for the American Express Aspire Award, nominated individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Have ten or fewer years of experience in the preservation field
  • Demonstrate a serious commitment to preservation through their work, both paid and volunteer
  • Raise the visibility of preservation through their efforts
  • Be an innovator in the field and demonstrate measurable impacts of their work
  • Have influence in their community 

Award Benefits and Expectations

National Preservation Award recipients will have complimentary tickets to the award event at the PastForward conference. Award recipients will also receive a physical award for their achievement. The National Trust for Historic Preservation will provide press releases surrounding the award presentation and feature award recipients on the Preservation Leadership Forum website. Award recipients are responsible for their own travel and lodging and are required to have at least one representative appear at the award presentation. Award recipients may be asked to contribute to the National Trust’s Preservation Leadership Forum blog, the Forum Journal, or to present at PastForward. 

Award Timeline

  • December 16, 2019 — Nomination period opens
  • February 21, 2020 — Nomination forms due at 11:59 p.m. local time
  • by July 1, 2020 — Nominators and award recipients notified
  • October 28-30, 2020 — Award presented at PastForward 2020 in Miami, Florida

Nomination Process

Nominators must complete one nomination form (requirements listed below) and submit it before the February 3 deadline in order for the nominee to be considered for a National Preservation Award. Self-nominations are accepted.

Nomination Requirements

In order to be considered for an American Express Aspire Award, a nomination including the following must be submitted by February 3, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. local time:

  • A completed nomination form that includes:
    • A concise narrative (5,000 characters or less including spaces) that describes the individual’s preservation achievements and addresses the award’s specific criteria (listed above)
    • Up to 5 brochures or news clippings
    • Up to 3 letters of recommendation
    • Up to 5 photos

Nomination Procedures & Key Dates

Nominations must conform to the procedures outlined on this page to be considered for an award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A link to the nomination can be found at the bottom of this page. Please be sure to read all guidelines and eligibility information before starting your nomination.

Award recipients and nominators will be notified no later than July 1, 2020. The nominator will be notified for those not selected. The 2020 National Preservation Awards will be presented during PastForward 2020 in Miami, Florida, October 28-30, 2020. Award recipients are required to be present at their award presentation. 

Nomination Form

All nominations must be submitted online. Paper submissions will not be accepted. 

Click here to access our online awards and grants submission center. To begin your nomination, you will need to use your existing login or select "Create New Account". Once you have created an account and logged into the system, click "Apply" from the menu at the top of your screen. Select the 2020 National Preservation Awards (For Individual and Organization Nominees)Please note, this is different from the 2020 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards form nomination form. Once you begin your nomination, you will be able to save your progress and return to the site to continue working on the form.

If you have any questions, please contact Lizzy Barringer at (202) 588-6315 or