The National Historic Preservation Act provides guidelines for federal, state and local governments to work with non-profit organizations and the public to preserve historical places. If you own a historical place such as a building, structure or site, you can obtain a grant from the Historic Preservation Fund to restore the property. The National Park Service administers the fund, releasing money to the states, which in turn issue grants to applicants. You can also seek private funding sources. There are a number of prerequisites to receive a grant.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
In order to receive a historic restoration grant, you must complete an application with your state's Historic Preservation Office or the National Trust Preservation Fund.
Fulfill Eligibility Criteria
A property qualifies as historical if it is associated with lives of persons or events that are significant in history, embodies distinctive characteristics, possesses high artistic value or yields information that is important to history. If the property satisfies these criteria, the National Park Service recommends it for entry into the National Register for Historical Places. Entry in the register is a primary condition for public funding. Eligible applicants for grant funding include state agencies and universities as well as units of local governments like cities, towns, counties and non-profit organizations. Private historical property owners usually have to seek funding for restoration from other sources.
Make an Application
If your property satisfies the eligibility criteria, make an application to your State Historic Preservation Office or the National Trust Preservation Fund. Include in your application details of the property and the amount sought for the grant. The national and state funds each have specific deadlines. For example the deadlines for application to the National Trust Preservation Fund are the 1st of February, June and October every year. Submit your application within the due date to qualify for consideration within that year.
Demonstrate Matching Funds
Grants typically require a dollar-to-dollar cash match from the applicant. To receive favorable consideration for the grant, you will need to demonstrate that you have the matching 50 percent of the total project cost for the restoration from other sources such as your personal resources, grants from foundations or from fund-raising activities.
Additional Eligibility Requirements
The body issuing the grant may require you to meet additional eligibility criteria that is in line with its objectives. For example, you may need to open up your property to the public for a number of days a year or make it available for educational purposes as a condition for receiving the grant. The grant is also usually subject to the necessary restoration work meeting the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Other conditions for the grant may include following employment laws and ensuring diversity during the restoration project.