By BRUCE SMITH
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Charleston is seeking World Heritage status from the United Nations - a designation for sites deemed important to all of humankind.
The Historic Charleston Foundation has now joined the effort for the designation that, if approved, would mean Charleston would join locations including Venice, Easter Island, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon and Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, as places significant worldwide.
The designation is being sought for almost 40 historic churches and public buildings in Charleston's historic district.
In addition to civic pride, supporters say such a designation would provide a brand important for tourism and mean preferential consideration for grants from public and private foundations.
There are 981 heritage sites worldwide. The designation is also seen as a way to foster new partnerships for the preservation of the city.