There is a two-step process to receive a grant from Preserving Black Churches:
Letter of Intent (LOI)
Deadline: Friday, September 2, 2022, at 11:59 pm local time.
The Letter of Intent (LOI) is an online application for applicants to demonstrate eligibility and show a preliminary indication of interest and capacity. All Letters of Intent (LOI) must be submitted through the National Trust’s online grant application system by the deadline, or they will not be reviewed. Request for funding (letters, emails, phone calls) submitted outside of the National Trust online grant application system will not be reviewed. A link to the application system is included at the bottom of this page. The Letter of Intent is a form with approximately 40 questions that require you to provide information about your organization, your project, and your site's historical significance. You will also need to upload at least two photos related to your project church. Scroll down to read more about the types of projects we can fund through this program.
Full Proposal Application
Deadline: Thursday, November 10, 2022
The Letter of Intent review period will take approximately six weeks. All applicants will be notified of their status at the end of this initial review period, likely in late October. If the applicant’s LOI is accepted, a full application will be requested. Instructions on how to complete the full application will be sent only to those applicants moving forward. You will have approximately four weeks to complete and submit the full application once you receive a notice to proceed.
National Trust staff members will engage with the prospective grantees during the full application stage, and they will offer their assigned applicant technical support and advice to ensure they are submitting competitive grant proposals. Each staff member will act as the National Trust liaison and will help applicants craft grant proposals. This collaborative engagement will benefit applicants in submitting competitive grant proposals and inform our selection process and grant-making.
Historic Black Churches
For this grant, eligible applicants are entities representing Historic Black Churches. Historic Black Churches are defined as one or more of the following:
- Religious historic buildings built and erected by Black congregations and continuously occupied by active Black congregations.
- Religious historic buildings designed and/or constructed by Black architects/builders, currently occupied by active Black congregations, or repurposed for Arts, Culture, Community, and Social Justice programs.
- Religious historic buildings not originally built by or for Black congregations, but continuously occupied by an active Black congregation for at least 50 years.
- Active historic Black congregations that are a part of historic Black religious denominations including, but not limited to African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ), the Baptist Church, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME), Church of God in Christ (COGIC), Non-denominational.
- Active historic Black congregations that are a part of traditional religious denominations including, but not limited to the Baptist Church, Episcopal Church, Lutheran Church, United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church, Catholic Church, Non-denominational.
- Non-Christian Black congregations and churches* (non-Christian churches will be funded on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the Lilly Endowment).
Eligible Applicants include:
- Historic Black Churches with active and non-active congregations. Active congregations are those which hold regular worship services and public programming in historic religious buildings (defined above).
- 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations stewarding non-active Historic Black Church buildings reused and repurposed for community, programmatic, and interpretive uses are eligible to apply, including statewide and local preservation organizations, churches, accredited private colleges or universities, historic sites, museums, historical societies, and genealogical associations.
- Public agencies: State or local agencies including boards, commissions, departments, accredited public colleges or universities, offices, agencies, public bodies, or political subdivisions of the state or of a county or municipality. Examples include state historic preservation offices, city and county preservation offices and planning departments, state and local commissions focused on different aspects of heritage, and publicly owned historic sites and museums.
Applicants that have received previous National Trust financial assistance are eligible provided that all grant requirements are current.
Grant recipients of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund’s National Grant Program are eligible to apply for a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund’s Preserving Black Churches Project. However, the existing grantee must submit the LOI under a different funding category than previously awarded. For example, an National Grant Program grant recipient of Capital Projects funding is not eligible to apply to Preserving Black Churches for a Capital Projects grant, and should apply through a new funding category such as Project Planning, etc.
Eligible applicants can submit one LOI under each funding category. However only one type of grant will be awarded for each grant round.
The minimum grant amount is $50,000. The maximum amount depends on the project category (See below, under Project Categories). Requests below the minimum amount will not be reviewed.