Membership Matters: Alan Merson
By Liz Leshin
Alan Merson has been a Conservancy member since 1990 and supports the organization in multiple ways. Director of Development Liz Leshin explores why.
LL: How did you first get involved with Los Angeles Conservancy?
AM: I became a member of the Los Angeles Conservancy while working for Morley Builders, focusing on historic seismic upgrade projects. One of these projects was the Powell Library at UCLA which won a Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award.
LL: Why is it important to you to support preservation?
AM: For me, it began growing up in Carthay and attending Carthay Circle Elementary School. At that time, the Carthay Circle Theater was demolished by a wrecking ball. My early introduction to preservation was on the playground, watching a wrecking ball demolish the historic theater.
The earlier preservation awareness and neighborhood education begins, the better. I think there is a huge opportunity, through public education, to highlight neighborhoods where schools are located. This could include informing students how the adjacent neighborhoods were developed, designed by architects, built by contractors, etc. Public educators can speak about the architecture of the schools they teach in and the adjacent neighborhoods where the students and their parents live.
Supporting preservation coincides with the need for greater public education and awareness of relevant preservation issues. Through greater education and awareness, will hopefully inform more of the public to care more about the areas in which they live and work.
LL: What compelled you to become a member of the Pillar Society?
Los Angeles Conservancy has been included in my estate planning for many years. Once the Pillar Society was created, joining became a very easy decision. The Pillar Society recognizes and makes public what I was already doing. Hopefully, the public recognition will incentivize and motivate others to do the same.
LL: Why do you think others should consider becoming members of the Pillar Society?
AM: See above.
LL: You very generously provided a matching gift to the Conservancy’s Preservation Advocacy Fund in 2021. What motivated you to do this?
AM: Supporting the matching gift initiative is a great way to leverage funds, which increases the effectiveness of the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Advocacy efforts.
LL: You have been a Conservancy member since 1990, working your way up to being a Granite Cornerstone member; why do you feel membership support is important?
AM: As a long-term Los Angeles Conservancy Member, my support has increased in multiple ways over the years, including LAC’s recent support of the nomination of the Carthay neighborhood as a National Register Historic District through the Carthay Neighborhoods National Register Nomination Fund.
As property values rise, the tension between development and preservation also increases, as does the need to support the LAC and other preservation groups.
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