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A limited number of grants are available to fund historic preservation activities.  Grants are typically available through state programs or non-profit organizations.  These grants are typically only available for specific types of historic preservation projects or particular applicants.  Grants to rehabilitate a historic property typically require that the property be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Listing on the National Register does not guarantee that any grants may be available for that specific property or project.


In Iowa, a set of grants for historic preservation projects are available, including the Historic Resource Development Program (HRDP), emergency Historic Resource Development Program (HRDP), and the Country School Grant program.  All these grants require a cash match from the applicant.  Historic Preservation HRDP grants can fund activities to survey historic sites, nominate a property to the National Register, interpret historic properties and sites, educate the public about historic sites, or rehabilitate a historic structure listed on the National Register.  Individuals, non-profit organizations, private businesses, and local governments may apply, and grant requests usually are less than $40,000.  Emergency HRDP grants offer a limited amount of funds for properties needing emergency repairs (not due to lack of maintenance by the owner). They are available on a first come basis each fiscal year. Historic Site Preservation Grants (HSPG) are designed for more extensive rehabilitation projects, and the minimum grant request is $60,000; however, the program has not funded by the state since 2011.  These grants are only available to governmental agencies and non-profit organizations. Only country schools qualify for the Country School Grant program, which provides grants up to $5,000.  Updated information can be found on these programs at https://iowaculture.gov/history/grants


Certified Local Governments (CLGs) (certified historic preservation commissions) in both Iowa and Illinois can also qualify for CLG grants.  These grants fund historic preservation activities that identify, evaluate, register, plan, preserve, develop, and treat buildings, structures, sites (parks, archaeological, gardens, etc.), objects and districts to determine if they are significant or to ensure the preservation of those resources are significant.  Rehabilitation activities are not included.  Grants typically range from $1,200 to $18,000.  Updated information on the Iowa CLG program can be found at https://iowaculture.gov/about-us/about/grants/certified-local-government-grant-program. Updated information on the Illinois CLG program can be found at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnrhistoric/Preserve/Pages/community.aspx.


Other grants may be available through local charitable organizations, and they may be contacted directly to determine if a project may qualify.  For example, in Scott County, Iowa, the Riverboat Development Authority and Scott County Regional Authority sometimes award grants for historic preservation projects to non-profit organizations or governmental agencies.


Key to a successful grant application is a the development of the grant application.  SPARK Consulting offers grant writing services for a variety of clients.  For more information, contact SPARK Consulting.

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Last modified:  October 2017