A New Chapter for the L.A. Conservancy
A Special Message from Linda Dishman
Dear Conservancy Members, Volunteers, and Supporters,
I wanted you to be among the first to hear that after thirty-one years at the Los Angeles Conservancy, I will be retiring this November.
While a decision like this never comes easily, I have been thinking about this for some time and now feels right; our board is strong and committed, our staff is talented and passionate, and we are well-positioned for a careful transition.
It has been a privilege to lead the organization for three decades and to be a part of such a dedicated community of folks like you.
Since I came to the L.A. Conservancy in 1992, we’ve been successful in saving a lot of iconic buildings threatened with demolition, such as the May Company Building, Herald Examiner, Sheraton Town House, Downey McDonald’s, St. Vibiana Cathedral, and the Century Plaza Hotel. Through the years, the Conservancy has expanded to saving places important within a broader and more diverse community—from intangible heritage through our Legacy Business Initiative to our successful nominations of the Hung Sa Dahn and the Paul Revere Williams House, which would have been demolished without the Conservancy’s intervention.
Together, we have accomplished incredible things! We helped add 14,000 units of housing in the Historic Core of downtown as part of our Broadway Initiative, which focused on maximizing the opportunities provided by the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance. We are a national leader in the effort to recognize the recent past and Modernism with our volunteer Modern Committee and through our educational efforts like “The Sixties Turn 50” and the “The ‘70s Turn 50”. Our Preservation Positive Report in 2020 validated that historic buildings and neighborhoods are a community asset enjoyed by economically and racially diverse residents.
We’ve been able to grow our educational outreach exponentially, connecting thousands with the historic places that make Los Angeles special. When people attend our Last Remaining Seats film series or take a historic walking and virtual tour, they leave with a real appreciation for how historic buildings tell our stories, enrich our lives, and have an essential role in the future of Los Angeles.
One of my favorite parts of leading the Conservancy has been working with so many people who believe in the power of our historic buildings to inspire and bring communities together. We see this in the HPOZs and historic districts throughout Los Angeles County, the neighborhood and city-based preservation organizations in the 88 cities, the hundreds of volunteers who have given and continue to give their time to the Conservancy, and in the enthusiasm of students who come on our walking and virtual tours.
Historic preservation has been my passion and profession since 1977 when I got an internship at the California Office of Historic Preservation. I have met incredible people through this work, including my husband, and have made many friends.
I want to thank all of the people—board, staff, members, donors, volunteers, and community members—who have been strong and able partners through all of our efforts. I have great confidence in the Conservancy’s Board of Directors to select the right leader that will continue our shared legacy and determination.
It has been my honor to help preserve the places that hold the history and future of Los Angeles County. Thank you.
President and CEO
Los Angeles Conservancy
Posted April 10, 2023
A Message from Board Chair Joy Forbes
On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I want to thank Linda for her passion and dedication as the Los Angeles Conservancy’s leader for thirty-one years. As the Conservancy celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, I note that Linda has been at the helm for two-thirds of our history.
While her absence at the organization will be felt, we will continue to see the fruits of her labor in the many historic places across Los Angeles County.
In her thoughtful and deliberate way, Linda has prepared the organization for her departure. In November 2022, the Conservancy Board approved a strategic plan to direct our efforts for the next three years. We are rebuilding our programs after COVID-19 and have made incredible strides at incorporating our values around diversity, equity, and inclusion into our educational and advocacy efforts. Our staff is strong with extremely skilled and experienced people. And the Board has embraced the challenge of finding the organization’s next leader.
We have hired Envision Consulting to manage the search process and anticipate having a successor in place before Linda’s departure on November 30, 2023. The Board and Linda are committed to a seamless transition, including securing a grant from the Non-profit Sustainability Initiative to help cover related costs. We look forward to keeping you updated on our search.
When someone leaves the board or staff, Linda always reminds us that no one really leaves the Conservancy. So, I say to Linda, we are grateful that you will always be an important part of the family.
Board of Directors
Los Angeles Conservancy
The Linda Dishman Legacy Fund
THE LINDA DISHMAN LEGACY FUND
To honor her legacy of tirelessly working to preserve the places that matter most in our region, the Conservancy’s Board has established The Linda Dishman Legacy Fund to help save places in Los Angeles by providing preservation grants to diverse partners throughout L.A. County on an ongoing basis.