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2017 State Preservation Grants

Grants to Rhode Island Agencies and Nonprofits
for the Capital Improvements of Historic Properties

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission (RIHPHC)

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

08/18/17 4:00 PM Delivery or Postmarked by Date


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Grants to Rhode Island nonprofit organizations, Indian tribes, and government agencies for the preservation of historic sites, as well as cultural art centers and museums located within historic structures. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an LOI by July 1. Funding may be requested for capital costs related to the preservation of eligible structures.

The State Preservation Grants Program was created because state lawmakers and voters recognized that many significant properties controlled by public agencies and nonprofit organizations need extensive repairs or restoration; that it is essential to preserve landmarks that embody our heritage; and that arts, culture, and civic organizations face unique challenges in updating their historic facilities for new audiences and programs.

Preserving these particular landmarks—theatres, museums, concert halls, dance spaces, art centers, public historic sites—contributes to the quality of life in Rhode Island and ensures that arts, culture, and civic facilities continue to inspire new generations. Moreover, historic preservation creates jobs, stimulates tourism, educates the public about the past, revitalizes our downtowns and neighborhoods, and combats sprawl in rural places.

The State Preservation Grants Program is a matching grant program. It promotes careful planning for the restoration, rehabilitation, and preservation of a variety of historic resources around the state. Through its matching requirements, the program stimulates broader support and participation in historic preservation projects statewide.

Eligible activities are:

-Capital improvements defined as preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation expenditures that permanently improve or significantly extend the useful life of the historic building.

-Work that conforms to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties

Applicants with a grant project scope that involves more than one building component or system (e.g. masonry and windows, or sprinklers and handicap accessibility) are strongly encouraged to consult with an architect or historic preservation professional. These fees are also eligible for reimbursement if included in the grant project budget.

There are two levels of grant funding:
-Small Project Grants
-Large Project Grants

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 158884

Estimated Size of Grant:

Small Project Grants:
-The minimum Entire Project cost is $12,000, and the maximum is $45,000.
-The minimum grant request is $8,000, and the maximum is $30,000.

Large Project Grants
-The minimum Entire Project cost is $45,001.
-The maximum grant request is $150,000.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The following groups are eligible to apply for grants through this program:
-Nonprofit private organizations that can document their nonprofit 501(c)(3) status
-Municipal agencies
-State agencies
-Indian tribes recognized by the Secretary of the Interior

If an applicant previously received a State Preservation Grant, or if the applicant was a “named recipient” of Creative and Cultural Economy Bond funds, the applicant cannot apply for a 2017 State Preservation Grant unless the previous project has been completed and closed out. If the applicant previously received a State Cultural Facilities Grant, the applicant must have completed and closed out or made substantial progress towards completion of the project to be eligible for a State Preservation Grant.

Applicants may submit one application in each grant round. Applications for projects that include some activities to be funded by the State Preservation Grant program and other activities to be funded by the State Cultural Facilities Grant program will be considered. State Cultural Facilities Grant funds cannot be counted as match towards a State Preservation Grant.

Ownership status:
-Applicants must own or operate the building for which the grant is sought.
-Applicants who have a lease or written agreement of at least 20 years from the date of the application are eligible.
-Applicants with less than a 20-year lease or written agreement will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Eligible buildings:

The building for which the grant is sought must be listed or eligible for listing in the State Register of Historic Places. The State Register includes buildings that are individually listed on the National Register, buildings that contribute to National Register historic districts, and buildings located in historic districts designated by local government.

The building for which the grant is sought must be used as a Museum, a Cultural Art Center, or a Public Historic Site.

-A Museum or Cultural Art Center is defined as: “A historic structure open to the public that is used principally to house artifacts and exhibits of historical, artistic, cultural, or educational value; or a historic structure open to the public that is used principally to present cultural events such as performances of music, dance, or theater. At a minimum, the museum or cultural arts center must be open to the public twelve (12) days per year.”

-A Public Historic Site is defined as: “A historic structure open to the general public that is used for events or activities of community interest and that is widely recognized as being representative of the community’s heritage. At a minimum, the public historic site must be open to the public twelve (12) days per year.”

The following activities are ineligible for grant funding but must be acknowledged if part of the Entire Project:
-New construction
-Reconstruction such as recreating a building
-Projects whose entire scope of work consists solely of general maintenance
-Security alarm systems
-Sitework as part of non-historic improvements such as parking lots, sidewalks, etc.
-Projects that consist only of predevelopment or planning, such as historic structure reports, master plans, architectural studies
-Acquisition of property or collections
-Restoration of historical artifacts or collections
-Mitigation activities performed as a condition or precondition for obtaining a local, state, or federal permit, license, or other approval

The following activities are not allowed on the Entire Project:
-Any type of abrasive cleaning of exterior surfaces (including but not limited to sandblasting, wet grit blasting, high pressure water washing)
-Application of aluminum or vinyl siding
-Mortar which does not match original in composition, color, strength, and appearance
-Scrubcoating masonry surfaces
-Installation of insulation without a proper vapor barrier, or where the installation will result in inappropriate changes to the interior or exterior of the building
-Replacement of original historic windows. If original historic windows are beyond repair, as determined in consultation with RIHPHC architects, replacement-in-kind would be allowed.

All existing historic building elements, exclusive of asphalt or wood roof shingles, are worthy of preservation. Only the most deteriorated wood (with extensive rot or splits in excess of 6”) should be replaced with new wood. Consolidation, epoxy repair, or other means of repair of existing fabric, if possible, are preferable to complete replacement.

Pre-proposal Conference:

For additional advice and a walkthrough of the application form and budget worksheets, attend one of the following workshops in June:

-Tuesday, June 13 at 10:30 AM in Newport (PSNC, 424 Bellevue Ave.)

-Wednesday, June 14 at 3:00 PM in Providence (RIHPHC, 150 Benefit St.)

-Thursday, June 15 at 10:30 AM in East Greenwich (E.G. Free Library, 82 Pierce St.)

All applicants (and especially first-time applicants) are encouraged to attend a workshop.

Pre-Application Information:

The two grant funding levels have different requirements for matching funds:

Small Project Grants
-Applicants must provide a $1 match for every $2 requested in grant funds. For example, an applicant with a $30,000 Grant Project would request a $20,000 grant, and must provide $10,000 in match.
-Eligible “in-kind” contributions may include approved building materials and approved professional design and construction services. Labor from volunteers who are not construction professionals and grantee staff time are not eligible for match.

Large Project Grants
-Applicants must match Large Project Grants in cash on a dollar for dollar basis.
-If the Grant Project defined by the applicant costs more than $300,000, the match required includes any additional dollars to complete the Grant Project. For example, if a $400,000 grant project receives the maximum grant of $150,000, the applicant must provide the $250,000 balance as match.
-No “in-kind” matches will be accepted.

Regardless of project size, funds awarded through the State Cultural Facilities Grants program, including funds to the Named Recipients of the Creative and Cultural Economy Bonds, will not be considered match.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a letter of intent by July 1, 2017.

RIHPHC will accept completed applications with all supporting documents postmarked no later than August 18, 2017, or hand-delivered to the RIHPHC office by 4:00 PM on August 18, 2017.

Applicants will be notified of grant decisions by December 31, 2017.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Sarah Zurier
(401) 222-4142

Katy Pomplun
(401) 222-4131

Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission
Old State House
150 Benefit Street
Providence, RI, 02903

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