If you read this list by the National Parks Conservation Association, you learn that the Underground Railroad system of sites has been "stymied by financial neglect" and that "Without adequate funding the opportunity and ability to illustrate this important history with sites, stories, and artifacts is being lost forever."

On the other hand, this editorial, while decrying pinched finances, alludes to $3.1 million in funding since 1998.

These are 149 separate sites covered by a federal program with no federal funding. Presumably they raised $3.1 million individually or independently and collectively.

Is history being "lost forever" or is that fundraising hype? And the business of joining an unfunded federal program - is that to stave off local politicians and their developer friends or was it a mistake?

I would humbly suggest focusing on one or two neglected sites within the system and raising cash for those rather than for the entire system.

"Being lost forever" is what should happen to the hard sell in fund raising.