Are you a homeowner or a concerned citizen trying to save a place the community cares about? Well, we have good news and bad news.
The good news is that below you'll find information about both grant funding and organizations that could become valuable partners in your efforts.
The bad news? If you're a homeowner hoping for some financial assistance with your residence, there are no funding sources for owners of private property at this time.
Preserving an existing building is one of the best ways to help the environment. It keeps materials out of landfills and makes use of the materials and energy already expended.
Sometimes incentives for preservation can make a difference in a development project and that's where state and federal tax credits can make a difference.
Preservation Pennsylvania successfully advocated for the reauthorization of the state historic preservation tax credit and anticipate that it will make a difference in many cities and towns across the commonwealth.
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Grants are dependent on the annual allocation of funds in the state budget. For the most up-to-date information about Commonwealth-sponsored grant funding, guidelines and deadlines, visit the PHMC website.
The Louis J. Appell, Jr., Preservation Fund for Central Pennsylvania is a specially endowed grant fund available for non-profit organizations and municipalities in 21 counties of central Pennsylvania: Adams, Berks, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union and York. Most grants awards range between $1,000-$2,000.
Grants are made for planning and education efforts, but may not be used for building or other construction activities, historic resource surveys to create inventories or to list resources in the National Register, academic research, or acquisition of real property. The deadline is generally March of each year. Click here for more information.
Henry A. Jordan, M.D. Preservation Excellence Fund
The National Trust's Henry A. Jordan, M.D., Preservation Excellence Fund provides funding to deserving organizations demonstrating commitment to the protection of natural and cultural resources in the Mid-Atlantic region. The endowed fund supports innovative projects and programs in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Individual awards typically range from $1,000 to $2,000.
The fund awards programs and activities that: facilitate positive dialogues between the diverse interests of historic preservation, land conservation, business development, transportation, and government in a search for common ground in protecting the environment; stimulate the development of local and state policies that protect the cultural landscape and its resources; heighten public awareness of an involvement of issues relating to the livability and sustainability of communities; and encourage innovative partnerships and approaches to open space conservation and historic preservation. Click here for more information.
For Nonprofit Organizations and Municipalities
National Funding Opportunities from the National Trust for Historic Preservation include the National Trust Preservation Fund; the Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation; the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors, and two loan programs.
The National Trust Preservation Fund includes funds that provide two types of assistance to nonprofit organizations and public agencies: 1) matching grants from $500 to $5,000 for preservation planning and educational efforts, and 2) intervention funds for preservation emergencies. Matching grant funds may be used to obtain professional expertise in areas such as architecture, archeology, engineering, preservation planning, land-use planning, fund raising, organizational development and law as well as to provide preservation education activities to educate the public.
The Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation provides nonprofit organizations and public agencies grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 for projects that contribute to the preservation or the recapture of an authentic sense of place. Individuals and for-profit businesses may apply only if the project for which funding is requested involves a National Historic Landmark. Funds may be used for professional advice, conferences, workshops and education programs.
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors provides nonprofit organizations and public agencies grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 to assist in the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of historic interiors. Individuals and for-profit businesses may apply only if the project for which funding is requested involves a National Historic Landmark. Funds may be used for professional expertise, print and video communications materials, and education programs.
The National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC), makes equity investments in the rehabilitation of historic properties eligible for the 20 percent federal historic rehabilitation tax credit, and where available, state historic tax credits and the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC). NTCIC invests in projects that have at least $6.0 million in total development costs and that generate at least $1.5 million in historic tax credit equity. Smaller deals will be referred to the Small Deal Fund for equity investment consideration. Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations and public-sector developers may be eligible for an NTCIC equity investment by creating a limited liability partnership. NTCIC has a special interest in those projects with a high community benefit.
NTCIC pays a referral fee to National Trust Advisors, Regional Offices, Statewide and Local Partners and Main Street programs who refer deals that ultimately result in an equity investment by NTCIC.
Other opportunities for grant funding from the NTHP may be found here.
For nonprofits and Certified Local Governments
The Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant Program, named in honor of the late preservation leader from Vermont, fosters economic development in rural communities through the rehabilitation of historic buildings in those communities. The program provides recipients (referred to as prime grantees) with a single grant that is then regranted in smaller amounts to individual projects (subgrants). Administered by the National Park Service. Click here for more information.
Partners for Sacred Places is the only national, non-sectarian, non-profit organization devoted to helping congregations and their communities sustain and actively use older and historic sacred places. Partners for Sacred Places brings together a national network of expert professionals who understand the value of a congregation's architectural assets, its worth as a faith community, and the significance of its service to the community at large. Since its founding in 1989, Partners has served several thousand congregations and other local organizations and represents the needs and concerns of over 100,000 older, community-serving sacred places in every town and city across America.
The Certified Local Government Program (CLG) is a preservation partnership between local, state and national governments focused on promoting historic preservation at the grass roots level. The program is jointly administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) in each state, with each local community working through a certification process to become recognized as a Certified Local Government (CLG). CLGs then become an active partner in the Federal Historic Preservation Program and the opportunities it provides.
Grant application deadline is generally mid-January of each year.
For more information on the CLG grant program, please visit the CLG grant program homepage.
What sources of funding are available to restore a building?
This is probably the question we hear most often at Preservation Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, there are limited public or private sources of money for historic preservation.
At this time, there is no source of funding in Pennsylvania for people who wish to restore their personal residences. Private homeowners of historic buildings must find financing the same way any other homeowner would: bank loans and personal funds. Low-income homeowners may qualify for other housing or rehab assistance programs not specifically tied to historic preservation. However the following links may be helpful.
Preservation Action offers updates on all federal preservation-related legislation.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 203(k) Program Section 203(k) insurance enables home buyers and homeowners to finance both the purchase (or refinancing) of a house and the cost of its rehabilitation through a single mortgage or to finance the rehabilitation of their existing home.
Additional funding information and link may be found here through the National Trust for Historic Preservation's website.
Federal Tax Credits
The historic rehabilitation tax credit is the nation's largest federal incentive promoting urban and rural revitalization through private investment in reusing historic buildings. The credit allows the owner of a certified historic structure to receive a federal income tax credit equal to 20% of the amount spent on qualified rehabilitation costs. There is also a 10% credit for older, non-historic buildings. Since it was enacted in 1976, the credit has been widely used as an effective tool for transforming vacant and underutilized buildings into safe, decent, and – in many cases – affordable places to live and do business.
More general information about federal tax incentive programs may be found here, while specific information about the 20% tax credit for rehabilitating historic properties may be accessed here.
The National Park Service's Introduction to Federal Tax Credits for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings is a series of four guides (downloadable pdf files) designed for small projects and first-time program users.
-Main Street commercial buildings
-Wood frame houses
Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Tax Credits
Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credits (RITC) are the most widely used historic preservation incentive program. Certain expenses incurred in connection with rehabilitating an old building are eligible for a tax credit. RITCs are available to owners and certain long term leases of income-producing properties. There are two rates - 20% for a historic building and 10% for a non-historic building, with different qualifying criteria for each rate.