Underrecognized California

A Program to Support Inclusive Historic Designations

This program is made possible by generous funding from Stephen and Sherry Schafer and Liz’s Antique Hardware. 

According to a 2020 Congressional Research Service study, less than 8% of roughly 86,000 sites included on the National Register were associated with African American, American Latino, Asian American, American Indian, and other Indigenous communities.

Underrecognized California: A Program to Encourage Inclusive Historic Designations

This program recognizes and protects historic resources associated with underrecognized histories and historic sites in California. This program also employs diverse students in historic preservation to work directly on the nomination of the chosen site. The students are matched with an eligible site to write a nomination under the guidance of a professional mentor, a critical first step in their career development. The stewards of the historic structure are also paired with a mentor to provide guidance for the long-term maintenance of their site. The program for 2023 will specifically focus on the Los Angeles region. 

Program Priorities. This matching program promotes the formal listing of publicly accessible historic places by connecting a diverse and underrecognized community structure in need of documentation with a paid student employee of CPF to research, write, and submit a local landmark nomination in the Los Angeles area.

What is the Need?

Who should apply. Underrepresented sites of significance and emerging professionals. Sites and students associated with American Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, African American, Indigenous, and Asian American communities.

What Needs Does this Program Address? This program addresses the dual needs of both communities and students representing diverse communities by funding historic designations that recognize underrepresented communities and their untold stories.

Who Benefits? Our endeavor is aimed at changing the course of a young professional’s life and leading significant cultural resources into a successful stewardship model. The benefits to the community at large include a more holistic and integrated approach to the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of sites that represent the history of people from all levels of the economic ladder and all cultural backgrounds. The immediate effect of the project serves the stewards and owners of the built resource as well as the employed student. However, studies have shown that significant buildings in diverse communities can impact the success or failure of the community at large. For example, 75% of people who visit a church are not members of the congregation. This “economic halo” extrapolates to impact the people who walk through the neighborhood, who live down the street, and who experience the building from their cars.

Applicant Information

Applicants. The program is open to community groups, non-profit organizations, and individuals who want to pursue historic designation of their sacred site, community building, or other publicly available structure such as a school or library.

Structures and buildings can qualify if historically significant at the local, regional/state, or national level.

Students from diverse communities are encouraged to apply. Students enrolled in in a historic preservation, urban planning, public history, architectural history, or related fields will be chosen to complete the nomination under the supervision of CPF staff. The applications will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of CPF Trustees as well as colleagues from the field of historic preservation and architecture in California.

Diverse Student Employment. One student selected for the program will be employed by CPF for a six-week period to research and complete a nomination for a historic designation on the local, state, or national level. For 2023, the position will be out-of-office but focused in the Los Angeles area (with future plans to expand statewide).

Timeline & Deadlines

Applications will be accepted on an annual basis and reviewed by a selection committee composed of CPF Trustees as well as colleagues from the field of historic preservation and architecture in California.


  • January 11, 2023: Application Opens
  • February 27, 2023: Application Deadline
  • Mid-March: Announcement of Grant Recipient
  • May 2023: Outreach to professional mentors for project participants
  • June – October 2023: Research and writing of nomination
  • November 2023: Submittal of draft nomination to review agency
Contact Us for More Information


For more information, please visit our website at californiapreservation.org, email cpf@californiapreservation.org, or contact us at 415-495-0349.


Underrecognized California - Part 1 Application

Underrecognized California - Part 1 - Applicant and Site Details

Address of Property Being Nominated
Address of Property Being Nominated
What Type of Designation are you Pursuing for this Property

Owner Consent

Who is the owner of the site/building/structure?
Is Owner Consent Required for this Nomination?
Owner Name
Owner Name
Owner First Name
Owner Last Name

Volunteers and Community

Do you have any volunteers that can contribute to the advocacy effort, documentation, or research?
Do you have a community liaison or local representative, available to participate in meetings, public hearings, and other phone calls to complete the designation?
Pleasure ensure that your photographs capture all or most angles of the building, including front, side, rear elevations.