Grants are available from nonprofit organizations, private donors and federal government agencies to help small churches finance capital projects to repair their buildings. Grants also cover construction and renovation expenses including labor and administrative costs. Equipment and supply purchases are also covered. Churches may be required by grant programs to match some or the entire award amount with money from outside sources. Some grant programs are limited to the churche's denomination as well .
Community Development Block Grant
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards grants to small churches in populated areas to repair their buildings through the Community Development Block Grant Program. This grant program is available to small churches in cities and counties of at least 50,000 and 200,000 residents respectively to cover project costs.
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Community Facilities Grant Program
Small churches in rural areas apply for grants through the Community Facilities Grant Program. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), grants from this program finance construction, renovation and expansion projects of facilities used for public and community purposes. Equipment purchases are covered by grants funds as well. Churches must be in areas with fewer than 20,000 residents to apply for grants. Up to 75 percent of the grants can pay for project costs.
Save America’s Treasures
The National Park Service sponsors the Save America's Treasures Grant Program. Grants are awarded to state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations for renovation projects on churches along with other historical landmarks, buildings, districts and parks across the United States. The maximum grant amount under this program is $700,000 as of July 2011, and recipients have to match awards dollar for dollar.
Churches can seek grants from private donors as well. For example, the Renfro Trust Fund was established in the 1950s from the estate of Judge William E. Renfro and his wife. Grants are awarded to construct or renovate United Methodist church buildings in the rural areas of the southeastern United States. Equipment needed by churches is also covered by these grants.
There are nonprofit organizations across the country awarding grants to churches to rebuild their facilities. In Philadelphia, the Pew Charitable Trust awards grants to churches and other organizations throughout the city to improve their operations. Other nonprofit organizations include Partners for Sacred Places -- which has offices in Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois -- and Duke Endowment. However, due to the economic downturn, Duke Endowment is not accepting applications as of July 2011. (Normally the Duke Endowment awards grants to churches in North Carolina's rural areas.) Churches should contact their local nonprofit organizations to learn about available funding opportunities.
- HUD: Community Development Block Grant
- USDA: Community Facilities Grant Program
- NPS: Save America's Treasures Grant Program
- Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church: Renfro Trust Fund
- Pew Charitable Trusts: Historic Christ Church Secures Two Significant Grants to Protect Treasured Landmark
- Partners for Sacred Places: What We Do