A Quick Overview of the National Fund for Sacred Places

Since launching in 2016, the National Fund for Sacred Places has awarded millions of dollars in capital grants and other support to community-serving congregations across the United States. As a collaboration between Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, their mission is to promote the common good by supporting historic sacred places.

Throughout our country's history, houses of worship have contributed significant value to their communities. Sacred places have served as hubs for social service programs, the arts, and a vital sense of human belonging. Today, many of these aging and architecturally complex facilities require increasingly diverse streams of funding in order to properly function as 21st-century centers of community life.

The National Fund for Sacred Places was born out of a belief that providing technical and financial support for congregations could build capacity and increase the stability of these critical yet disappearing historic community centers. The National Fund achieves its mission by administering monies through planning grants, training and technical assistance, coaching, and capital grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000. Currently, the National Fund is set to continue providing grants to eligible congregations from 2020-2023 and to expand its training and resources to impact more congregations than ever before.

What do congregations receive?

Each year 14-16 congregations are selected to participate in the National Fund program. The selected congregations will receive wraparound support services and capital grants. But what does each entail?

Wraparound support services are meant to help the congregation grow and thrive. Congregations will receive training, planning grants, and pro-bono consulting services. These are gifted with the purpose of ensuring that projects are well-planned and capital campaigns are successful.

Capital grants are for brick-and-mortar projects in the range of $50,000 – $250,000. These projects are intended to leverage matching funds and create a broader community support.

Who is eligible?

Before applying, it is important to ensure your congregation is eligible. In order to be eligible, the property must be located within the United States or its territories. It must have been originally built to be a house of worship and be owned by an active community of faith. Additionally, the staff team and Advisory Committee will be looking to see if your congregation meets five core criteria. These are:

  • National/regional significance
  • Community engagement
  • Project scope and need
  • Fundraising campaign readiness
  • Healthy congregations

Please keep in mind that the goal of the Advisory Committee is to build a diverse participant group which is reflective of the broad range of geographic, cultural, and religious identities throughout the United States. Explore all National Fund eligibility and program guidelines here.

How does one apply?

The National Fund goes through the application process once a year. Every step must be completed online here. For 2020, the timeline is as follows:

  • April 22nd, 2020 - Letter of Intent due.
  • July 13th, 2020 - Full application due from those invited to complete an online application.
  • October 1st, 2020 - Final notifications sent out to congregations from the Advisory Committee.

Not sure where to start in the application process or how to go about it? Contact us today and our team at MPS Grants will be more than happy to assist you! Don't forget to sign-up for our weekly newsletter below!


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