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California Cultural and Historical Endowment

The California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) is a state entity tasked with preserving and protecting California cultural heritage. CCHE is led by a ten-person board and enjoys the participation of four legislative representatives. There are two full-time staff members at the CCHE. Full board and staff details and board meeting information may be found here.

The CCHE was originally established within the California State Library in 2003 when then-Governor Gray Davis signed AB 716 (Firebaugh) (PDF) | (HTML).  AB 482 (Atkins) (PDF) | (HTML) signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2013, transferred the CCHE to the California Natural Resources Agency (Resources) and authorized a new museum grant program.

The Legislature intended the CCHE to raise the profile and scope of California historic and cultural preservation program in an era of cultural homogeneity and dwindling historic structures. Over 180 CCHE grants have helped to preserve the many historic treasures that are California’s cultural legacy. These sparkling jewels belong to all Californians collectively and convey important lessons about opportunity, hardship, innovation, injustice, perseverance, and redemption.

Funding for CCHE projects comes from voter-approved bonds from the California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002, more commonly known as Proposition 40 (PDF) | (HTML). Proposition 40 authorized the sale of $2.6 billion in General Obligation bonds. Of that dollar amount, $267.5 million 10% — was dedicated to Historical and Cultural Resources Preservation (Proposition 40, Article 5, Section 5096.652 (a)). Of the $267.5 million, over $122 million has been appropriated to the Endowment to distribute competitively to government entities, non-profit organizations, and Indian tribes for the acquisition, restoration, preservation, and interpretation of historical and cultural resources.

Pursuant to AB 482, CCHE has been working to launch a specialized license plate program and a new museum grant program. Individuals may now purchase the new plate, which features Snoopy, at Proceeds from sales of the plates will be administered by the CCHE and will be made available for programs that support museums. CCHE and Resources staff will be refining grant guidelines for the new museum grant program in the coming months. (Read more)

In 2013, the CCHE worked with the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento to publish the Second Edition of Preserving California Treasures a book which showcases the capital projects and planning grants funded by the CCHE. (Read more) A partial pdf may be viewed by following this link. Copies may be purchased from CSUS by following this link.

In 2012, the CCHE finalized work on its comprehensive cultural survey, a statutory requirement featuring eight distinct components. A day-long Cultural Summit was held in October of 2012 as the culminating event of the survey. The Proceedings of the Summit are available here, along with all of the reports for each of the survey components. (Read more)

CCHE, in 2012, launched Julia Morgan 2012, the pilot project of Landmarks California: the Places of our Diverse Histories and Cultures, a program that grew out of a collaboration of leaders from several statewide preservation organizations.

The Landmarks California program is intended to demonstrate the many positive outcomes of historic preservation: environmental and financial sustainability, a means of telling the many stories that comprise California’s diverse history, and a social fabric strengthened by a sense of pride and belonging to the community. Originally intended to be an ongoing program, but suspended indefinitely due to staffing shortages, Landmarks helps advance the CCHE’s goal of strengthening and deepening Californians understanding of California’s history, its present society and themselves, with the end goal of better communities and neighborhoods.

Over 20 statewide organizations participated in the six-week fall 2012 festival honoring the life and work of Julia Morgan, paving the way for her selection as the AIA’s Gold Medal Winner in 2014. Visit for more details regarding the project.

Links to CCHE Resources: