[Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation] With aging churches throughout the nation facing decay and physical distress, Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation announce an unprecedented $14 million National Fund for Sacred Places to assist churches in need of repair and restoration. Two Episcopal churches, Christ Church in Philadelphia and Trinity-St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco, are among the first 14 recipients.
The fund will provide up to $250,000 in capital grants, in addition to planning grants and an array of services, for at least 50 individual congregations from a diversity of faiths over four years.
“Since its founding in 1695, Christ Church has been dedicated to Philadelphia in so many different ways,” observed Rector Timothy Safford, who explains that the church’s steeple is in need of significant work. “The construction that we’re seeking to restore goes back to 1750, including the wooden steeple that was the highlight of the colonial skyline and is still an important part of the Philadelphia skyline. We get up to 300,000 tourists each year, and it’s our role to tell our visitors a part of the American history story they won’t get elsewhere.”
A brief video of the current conditions of the Christ Church Steeple is here.
The National Fund for Sacred Places is a collaboration that builds on Partners for Sacred Places’ decades of work helping churches use best stewardship practices with their historic facilities in order to strengthen, serve and celebrate their communities for the common good. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is the nation’s leading preservation organization with more than 60 years of advocacy and grant-making to preserve America’s diverse history.
The fund was launched with two grants totaling nearly $14 million from the Indiana-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Through this initiative, $10 million will be disbursed for capital improvements, with the remainder used for planning, technical assistance, coaching and program oversight.
The initial group of grantees was announced on Nov. 2nd at Chicago’s historic Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church, one of the recipients. These houses of worship will begin receiving some services immediately and will be eligible for a capital grant over the course of the next year.
“The National Fund culminates 28 years of Partners’ work to affirm and support the civic value of America’s older churches,” said Bob Jaeger, president of Partners for Sacred Places. “We believe that the capital grants and other services provided by the Fund will encourage other donors and civic leaders to join our effort to preserve sacred places that anchor and serve our communities in powerful ways. The Fund also represents another important chapter in Partners’ long and productive relationship with the National Trust.”
Applications are now being accepted for the next round of grants, which will be awarded in the fall of 2017.
“We are delighted to join in this partnership with Partners and the Lilly Endowment to help more sacred places thrive, now and well into the future,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Churches are often both the oldest and most beautiful buildings in our communities. They are the rock that continues to sustain us as a people, bringing us together in service and worship.”
Details about the application process, eligibility requirements and selection criteria are available by visiting www.fundforsacredplaces.org. More information about the churches, including contact information and high-resolution images, is available from Chad Martin, director of the fund.
Inaugural grantees include:
- Broad Bay Congregational United Church of Christ (Waldoboro, ME)
- Basilica of St. Josaphat (Milwaukee, WI)
- Christ Church (Philadelphia, PA)
- Christ Church Lutheran (Minneapolis, MN)
- Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church (San Antonio, TX)
- First Christian Reformed Church (Grand Rapids, MI)
- First Church of Christ (also known as Center Church; Hartford, CT)
- Kadesh A.M.E. Zion Church (Edenton, NC)
- Mokuaikaua Church (Kailua-Kona, HI)
- North Christian Church (Columbus, IN)
- Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church (Chicago, IL)
- Trinity United Methodist Church (Idaho Falls, ID)
- Trinity-St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (San Francisco, CA)
- Urban Grace (Tacoma, WA)