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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 through the Department of Cultural Affairs, including the Historic Resource Development Program (HRDP) and emergency Historic Resource Development Program (HRDP). These grants require a cash match from the applicant.  HRDP grants in the historic preservation category 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 $50,000. HRDP grants are also offered for museum projects and documentary collections projects. 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. Information can be found on these programs at https://iowaculture.gov/about-us/about/grants/historical-resource-development-program


Additional grants are available through the Department of Cultural Affairs (State of Iowa) that are related to preservation projects. Rural Heritage Revitalization Grants are available starting in January 2021 for rehabilitation projects of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places that are owned by non-profit organizations or a governmental entity in communities/areas with less than 50,000 residents (rural per federal definition). These grants range from $75,000-$125,000 with a minimum of a 30% cash match. 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:  January 2021