National Grant Program Pledges More Funding Towards Saving Historic Churches

November 1, 2018

The National Fund for Sacred Places has selected 13 congregations from a field of 178 applicants to participate in a national historic preservation grant-making program. Entrance into the cohort gives congregations access to hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore some of America’s most significant sacred places.

This year’s group includes one of the oldest European-designed buildings in the American West, three symbolically important congregations of the Civil Rights Era, one of only five churches designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and five denominations new to the National Fund’s work: Mennonite, Greek Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Unitarian, and Church of God in Christ.

Launched in 2016 with grants totaling $14 million from the Indiana-based Lilly Endowment Inc., the National Fund — a program of Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation — will offer planning grants, training and technical assistance and coaching, and capital grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 to about 50 congregations across the country over four years. To date the National Fund has supported 44 projects in 29 states, representing 19 faith traditions and denominations. Grants awarded, now totaling over $2.9 million, have leveraged over $5 million in new funding for major building campaigns across the country.

2018-2019 applicants had to demonstrate the significance of their building’s religious architecture (projects selected represent outstanding examples of several building styles including Carpenter Gothic, Mission, Romanesque Revival and Mid-Century Modern), identify a restoration plan for areas of need, and outline a capital campaign that details internal fundraising efforts.

Chad Martin, Director of the National Fund, says,

“We are thrilled to be supporting the congregations represented in this year’s cohort of awardees. With the addition of these thirteen congregations we continue to support projects in every region of the country and from an eclectic array of faith traditions and Christian denominations. Our support will make a real difference for these places. Our grant dollars will help make possible projects that range from urgent repair needs to protect public safety, to long-deferred maintenance that will ensure the preservation of landmark buildings for the next generation of American neighborhoods to use for the common good. We look forward to highlighting how these diverse places have been vital to the religious and cultural landscape of America’s history.”

The complete list of National Fund awardees for the 2018-19 program year include the following:

1. 16th Street Baptist Church — Birmingham, AL
2. St. Mary & Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church — Nashua, NH
3. Old First Reformed Church — Brooklyn, NY
4. Arlington Street Church — Boston, MA
5. Broad Street Ministry — Philadelphia, PA
6. Patronato San Xavier — Tucson, AZ
7. St. Paul the Prospector — Virginia City, NV
8. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church — Milwaukee, WI
9. First Congregational Church of Detroit — Detroit, MI
10. First Presbyterian Church — Stamford, CT
11. Nueva Vida Norristown New Life Mennonite Church — Norristown, PA
12. Bright Star Church — Chicago, IL
13. Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church — Portland, OR

About The National Fund for Sacred Places

The National Fund for Sacred Places is a Philadelphia-based grant-making program of Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. www.fundforsacredplaces.org

About Partners for Sacred Places
Partners for Sacred Places helps congregations and others with a stake in older religious properties make the most of them as civic assets in ways that benefit people of all faiths and of no faith. Learn more at sacredplaces.org

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. www.SavingPlaces.org