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Preservation Grants for Nonprofits

There are two types of preservation grants available for nonprofit organizations, bricks and mortar and planning grants. Foundations may have one or both grant types and depending on their qualifications, government entities may also apply. Museums and historical societies have additional grant opportunities, directed at education programs and collections. If the museums or historical societies are housed in a historical building, many of these preservation grants will apply also.


Bricks and mortar grants fund rehabilitation projects of historic structures. The building must meet the criteria of being historically significant, such as being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or be a contributing site in a local historic district. These grants will usually require that all work follow the Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation, which can be reviewed at:


Planning grants are more readily available and generally fund the planning, researching and assessing of historic structures and their use. This funding may include creating a master rehabilitation plan for a community building, conducting a study report for a historic district, obtaining professional expertise in specialized fields such as archeology, architecture or engineering, or exploring how a nonprofit can better utilize a historic building through new programs.


Bricks and Mortar Grants

  1. Certified Local Government grants – available for CLG communities, also through the Park Service, and administered by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office.
  2. 1772 Foundation grants
  3. Americana Foundation
  4. Carls Foundation
  5. Daughters of the American Revolution 
  6. Questers – Local Preservation and Restoration Grants

Planning Grants

  1. MSU database for nonprofits
  2. The Kresge Foundation
  3. (J.P). Getty TrustArchitectural Conservation Grants
  4. Local community foundations also often provide funding for preservation planning projects of local historic buildings and nonprofit planning activities. 
  5. Michigan Historic Preservation Network and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Fund offer the Michigan Preservation Fund, which enables preservationists to rescue historic sites, buildings, structures and districts, structures and districts in jeopardy and empower local communities to plan and utilize their historic resources.
  6. National Trust for Historic Preservation has additional grants and other financial incentives.
  7. Orton Family Grants The Orton Family Foundation helps small cities and towns harness the inherent ability of citizens to imagine and achieve a better future for themselves and their community.

Grants for historical societies and museums

These grants are typically awarded to historical organizations and museums that enhance their communities with historical education programs, museum collections or the preservation of local historical sites.


  1. The 1772 Foundation 
  2. American Association of Museums’ Museum Assessment Program 
  3. Museums for AmericaContact: Steven Schwartzman, email: or Sandra Narva, email:
  4. Humanities Access Grants Challenge grants. Contact: (202-606-8309)
  5. National Endowment for the Humanities: Americas Historical and Cultural Organizations: Implementations.
  6. Heritage Preservation National Institute for Conservation – Provides Conservation Assessment grants for museum’s collection, environmental conditions, and site.


  1. Comerica Charitable Foundation
  2. Oleson Foundation. Contact: Kathy Huschke, Executive Director at P.O. Box 904 Traverse City, MI. 49685-0904.  
  3. The Les and Anne Biederman Foundation – (primarily for northern Michigan organizations) Contact: P.O. Box 564 Traverse City, MI.  48685-0564.
  4. The Taubman Endowment for the Arts – Contact: Fred Henshaw  200 E. Long Lake Rd. P.O. Box 200 Bloomfield Hills, MI.  48304-0200.
  5. Hildreth Foundation, Inc. – Contact: Mark Merkle, V.P.  41 S. High St. Columbus, Ohio 43215-3406.
  6.  Wege FoundationContact: Ellen Satterlee, P.O. Box 6288 Grand Rapids, MI. 49516-6388.
  7. MSU Database for museum grants

Other Grants

  1. MDOT Grants – The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) is a competitive grant program that funds projects such as nonmotorized paths, streetscapes, and historic preservation of transportation facilities that enhance Michigan’s intermodal transportation system and provide safe alternative transportation options. 
  2. USDA For small, rural communities – Community Facilities program, Business programs, Renewable Energy Programs. Michigan USDA programs, and applications.
  3. State Historic Preservation Office Lighthouse Assistance Program
  4. Maritime Grants – see separate list.
  5. Tourism Cares Grants

Stay connected through state networks

To stay in touch with new grant opportunities, become a member of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network at: and receive regular updates through newsletters and emails.