A national trust is an organisation dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of a particular geographic region. Although the focus of a national trust may vary by region, the principal role is to ensure the preservation of historically significant items, and to conserve areas of natural beauty. National trusts generally operate as private non-profit organizations. The first such trust organisation, The Trustees of Reservations, originated in 1890 as a regional group serving the state of Massachusetts, USA. The first national trust, the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, was founded in England in 1895 and operates as a charitable organisation serving England, Wales and Northern Ireland (it is commonly known in the UK as the National Trust). Other national trusts have since been set up around the world.
In 2007 the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) was established at a gathering in New Delhi, India, with a mandate to support collaboration and best practices among national trusts and similar associations. It has member organisations from over 50 countries.
A partial list of national trusts and similar organizations: