Two and a half years of successful projects and events have culminated in an exciting weekend of activities celebrating the year 2000. Now the Council is looking forward to continuing to work with our partners on a variety of activities throughout the coming year. This newsletter will be distributed periodically to help us share our progress and stories. Please feel free to forward this information to other interested friends and partners.
New Year’s Eve was a special time for me and my family. We were thrilled to be a part of the America’s Millennium events and the worldwide celebration of this momentous occasion. Our responsibility, challenge and privilege as Americans is to make sure that this milestone is marked with more than just a memorable party. Just as important as what we did to celebrate the millennium’s arrival is what we do to shape the years that follow.
We need to preserve our rich and diverse heritage and celebrate our history and at the same time build stronger communities. We can make this a gateway to an even brighter world for America’s children who will live their lives in the future we help create. The arrival of this new century and millennium presents us with a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past, on where we have been, on who we are, and what we hope to become.
The President and I created the White House Millennium Council to encourage the participation of every American in this ongoing celebration. There are a variety of national programs that bring to life our guiding theme of “Honor the Past – Imagine the Future.” I am pleased to present you with the first in a series of newsletters from the Millennium Council highlighting many of these projects. I hope that this information will be helpful as you move forward with your millennium celebrations. Together we can ensure that, years from now, our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren can say that we took this moment in time to preserve our history, strengthen our communities, and give lasting gifts to the future.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
President and First Lady joined by hundreds of thousands of celebrants to ring in the New Year
America's Millennium was a national celebration over the new year holiday weekend marking the transition to the year 2000. The celebration – a cooperative project of the White House Millennium Council, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, and the District of Columbia – engaged families and children of all ages. America’s Millennium events were free to the public and well attended.
At America's Millennium Opening Ceremony on December 31, President Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and members of Congress spoke at an inspirational public ceremony commencing the millennium festivities. Mrs. Clinton unveiled the National Millennium Time Capsule, highlighting the hopes and dreams of America's children and the reflections of prominent American figures. One participant, eleven-year-old Eric Timmons from the District of Columbia, said “I dream of doing something great for my country. I dream of stopping violence so that we can live in peace.”
Later that day, at the International Trade Center in the Ronald Reagan Building, over 3,000 representatives of the international community gathered to celebrate the new year at “Millennium Around the World.” Children from around the world presented traditional dances and artwork and the World Children’s Choir performed. The President, the First Lady, and Secretary of State Madeline Albright, addressed a worldwide audience on issues of peace and diplomacy. Diplomatic families, chiefs of mission and their staff from over a hundred countries experienced this historic global occasion as their nations welcomed in the new year, century and millennium.
America's Millennium on the Mall at the Smithsonian Institution presented lectures, demonstrations and performances, such as presentations about basketball with legendary star Bill Russell and bluegrass music with performer Ricky Scaggs, discussions with storytellers, singers, and authors such as U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, and visions of the future from noted American scientists, policymakers, and futurists. In addition, throughout the weekend, the public enjoyed Mainstreet Millennium, a street fair produced by the District of Columbia presenting a wide variety of music and food.
On New Year's Eve, Quincy Jones and George Stevens, Jr. produced America's Millennium Gala, a stirring show at the Lincoln Memorial. Hundreds of thousands of onlookers watched notable performers such as host Will Smith, Trisha Yearwood, Sam Waterston, Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Robert Duvall, and the combined bands, choirs, and marching units of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Gala also included the live premiere of “The Unfinished Journey,” a concert piece by Steven Spielberg with an original score by Oscar Award winner John Williams. The evening culminated with the illumination of the Washington Monument in a dramatic countdown to midnight, followed by a spectacular fireworks display. Thousands of sponsors, volunteers, and federal agency workers helped make this a truly memorable evening.
On-going White House Millennium Council Activities
Millennium Trails is a national initiative of the White House Millennium Council, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, American Hiking Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Express Company, that recognizes, promotes and stimulates the creation of trails as part of America's legacy for the year 2000. From the earliest routes of our ancestors, to new urban greenways, to itineraries that tell the story of our nation, trails are an important part of the American landscape, providing connections between people, land, history and culture. In 1999, 16 National Trails and 50 Legacy Trails were named across the country, and two thousand Community Trails will be announced on National Trails Day, June 4, 2000. Events on National Trails Day will stimulate new activities to celebrate and enhance those trails and to support the development of new trails through new federal and state funding and private partnerships. Each trail will receive a special Millennium Trails marker with the national logo and will be promoted on the Millennium Trails website. To apply to be a Community Trail or for more information about participating on National Trails Day, visit www.millenniumtrails.org.
Cities and communities are losing trees, forests, and green open spaces as never before due to rapid and often poorly planned development. Millennium Green encourages everyone across the nation to plant or adopt a tree, establish a garden, or protect or care for a special natural resource treasure in honor of the new millennium. The Department of Agriculture is donating 100 trees to each governor to create Millennial Groves in capital cities across America. In addition, over $30 million in community-based grants will assist communities with urban forestry projects and community gardens. The America the Beautiful Fund is also donating $1 million worth of free seeds and bulbs to plant Millennium Gardens around the country. Many other public and private partners are working collaboratively to sustain and improve public green spaces as part of this program. Activities are also being planned around the country for special celebrations around Earth Day on April 22 and Arbor Day on April 29. Visit
www. millennium green.usda.gov for more information and a complete list of partners.
President and Mrs. Clinton are inviting every town, city and county to become a nationally recognized Millennium Community by launching projects that save our history, promote our arts and humanities and prepare our children for the 21st century. This program brings official recognition to states and communities that are planning millennium projects that “honor the past and imagine the future.” The Millennium Community program is a partnership between The White House Millennium Council, The United States Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Towns and Townships, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As of March 2000, four states – Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland and Rhode Island – and over 500 communities have been officially identified as Millennium Communities. For more information about becoming part of the Millennium Community program, visit
Save America’s Treasures
One of the best gifts the future is to preserve what we value from our past. However, our important historic sites, documents, monuments, and art are deteriorating. As America changes, we must carry forward the treasures that embody our nation’s heritage to inspire future generations. The National Park Service is administering the U.S. Department of the Interior’s “Save America’s Treasures” Historic Preservation Fund Grants to support the most urgent preservation projects of national significance. In 1999, $30 million was awarded to 62 projects in 24 states, the District of Columbia and the Midway Islands. An additional $15 million is available in 2000, with applications due to the National Parks Service by March 31, 2000. Historic preservation in America has always been a public-private partnership. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the nation’s leading non-profit preservation organization, provides leadership by inviting individuals, foundations and corporations to participate in this great initiative through participation on the Millennium Committee to Save America’s Treasures. Mrs. Clinton serves as the chair of the Committee, which has raised over $40 million from the private sector for preservation projects. The Trust designates official Save America’s Treasures projects, bringing recognition and support to these resources, with close to 500 identified to date. See www.saveamericastreasures.org for additional information on applying for the National Park Service grants or official designation as a Save America’s Treasures site.
International Millennium Activities
Over 40 countries around the world, from Iceland to South Africa, have established millennium commissions of their own and are busy planning programs and activities. Many local communities are extending the reach of their millennial activities by reaching out beyond local boundaries to connect with communities around the world. One upcoming project is “Vikings: The North American Saga,” an exhibit about the history and expeditions of the Vikings, sponsored in conjunction with the Nordic Council and Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, and with support from corporate partner Volvo. This exhibit will be unveiled at the National Museum of Natural History at the end of April 2000, and will then travel to New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Ottawa, Canada. For more information about this exhibit and to see a complete listing of events around the world, go to www.millenniumworld.org
The White House Conference on Philanthropy: Gifts to the Future
Philanthropic giving is practiced by every segment and level of American society. To highlight this unique American tradition of giving, discuss the diverse and changing face of philanthropy, and explore how we can sustain and expand this tradition for future generations, the President and Mrs. Clinton convened The White House Conference on Philanthropy: Gifts to the Future on October 22, 1999. Through over 3,000 satellite downlink sites, communities across the country participated in the conference and engaged in local conversations on the subject. Participating in the conference were individuals engaged in philanthropy, including donors, experts, youth, program leaders, and innovators who represented the wide range of racial, ethnic, economic, and religious groups involved in American philanthropy. Additional activities will continue throughout the year, with a particular focus on the issues of “ephilanthropy” and helping children and youth understand the importance of giving.
My History Is America's History
Follow your family’s story and discover America’s history. That is the theme of My History Is America’s History.
The purpose of this new project is to help Americans explore, preserve, and share their family’s history, and learn how
their own story connects to the nation’s history. Teachers across the country are also using family history
as a way of teaching American history to their students. The initiative’s guidebook and website outline 15 things
you can do to save America’s stories. The website,
www.myhistory.org, is also a virtual "front porch" for
those who want to share family stories and read stories from other Americans. My History Is America’s History
is a millennial project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the White House Millennium Council and
is made possible through the generous support of many partners. National partners include the President’s Committee
on the Arts and the Humanities, Genealogy.com, PSINet Inc., National Association of Broadcasters,
Heritage Preservation, U.S. Department of Education, FamilyFun, and the Houghton Mifflin Company.
For a My History Is America’s History guidebook to help you explore and preserve your own family’s
history, call toll-free 1-877-NEH-HISTORY (1-877-634-4478), or download the information for free from the My History website.
Millennium Evenings at the White House are a series of lectures and cultural showcases hosted by the President and First Lady that highlight the creativity and inventiveness of the American people through ideas, art and scientific discoveries. The lectures present prominent scholars, creators and visionaries and are accessible to the public via cybercast over the internet and broadcast via satellite. The broadcasts are often carried live by cable television and radio outlets, and group gatherings at downlink sites offer the opportunity to hold local discussions or receptions around the broadcast. Millennium Evenings are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities with major support from Sun Microsystems. The most recent Millennium Evening, “Informatics Meets Genomics,” discussed the human genome project and the future of the Internet. Keep watching the Millennium Council’s web page,
www.whitehouse.gov/Initiatives/Millennium, for upcoming Millennium Evenings and information on hosting or participating in a downlink site in your community.
MARS Millennium Project
The countdown to a new century provides a unique opportunity to engage America's youth in charting a course for the future. The Mars Millennium Project invites communities and schools to imagine the first human community on Mars in the year 2030. Students and teachers are working together across disciplines to discover what is important in their own communities, decide what they would take with them to Mars, and design the first village there. The U.S. Department of Education has already distributed over 130,000 activity guides to schools around the country. Additional partners in the Mars Millennium Project are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. More information is available at www.mars2030.net.
Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life
Arts and humanities faculty members at universities around the country are reaching out to work with their local communities on art projects and other civic improvements. The University of Michigan is leading a consortium of institutions of higher education and cultural organizations working to help make the arts and humanities central to the public life of communities across America. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation gives grants to a number of colleges to support these activities. For example, the University of Pennsylvania is working with residents, students and teachers around the school to create a full-length play based on the history of the Black Bottom, a vital West Philadelphia neighborhood around the school that was displaced by the urban renewal of the 1950s and 1960s. A second round of grants will be made in the summer of 2000, with applications due May 5. For more information about the Imagining America program or the next set of grants, visit
www.woodrow.org/imagining-america/ or www.ia.umich.edu.
Becoming a White House Millennium Council Partner
The Millennium Council encourages collaborative projects that carry out the national theme of “Honor the Past – Imagine the Future.” Federal agencies, intergovernmental organizations and associations, and national nonprofit organizations involved in national or regional activities celebrating the millennium are eligible to apply to be Official Partners with the White House Millennium Council. Official Partners are able to use the national Millennium Council logo on their outreach materials and may also accept applications from corporate, nonprofit, federal and state organizations that wish to serve as Associate or Corporate Partners on their projects. For more information on becoming an Official Partner, please visit www.whitehouse.gov/Initiatives/Millennium.
National Moment of Remembrance
Another important national effort supported by the Millennium Council is the National Moment of Remembrance. This effort asks every American to pause at 3:00 p.m. (local time) for one minute and reflect upon the true meaning of Memorial Day and the men and women who have given their lives to maintain America’s freedom. Businesses and organizations, military bases, baseball parks and shopping malls around the country are planning to encourage individuals to observe this moment of remembrance. Many sites will also mark the occasion by playing “Taps.” For more information on how your organization can participate in this historic event, please contact Carmella LaSpada, Project Director, Moment of Remembrance, at (202) 395-7373.
This information is in the public domain – please feel free to forward this newsletter to any other interested individuals and organizations. Any comments or questions about this newsletter can be directed to email@example.com.