Skip to main content

$20M in Grants Available to Historic Congregations

January 11, 2023
First CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich. received a $100,000 grant in 2016 to help them complete renovations of their historic building.
First CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich. received a $100,000 grant in 2016 to help them complete renovations of their historic building.
Photo: First CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich.

In 2016, First Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., wanted to pursue a $2 million renovation project. Their building, one of the denomination’s oldest, was first built in 1911, and by 2016 it was in need of repairs. They also needed to expand and retrofit their building to better meet the congregation’s growing needs.

First CRC’s project received a financial boost when the National Fund for Sacred Places granted the congregation $100,000 to restore the church’s stained glass windows, repoint exterior masonry, and replace the boiler.

The National Fund for Sacred Places is a program of Partners for Sacred Places in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It provides financial and technical support for community-serving historic houses of worship across the United States.

Soon 80 additional congregations will receive similar support for renovation and restoration projects related to their church buildings, thanks to this grant program.

“Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are delighted to announce that Lilly Endowment Inc. has renewed its support for the National Fund for Sacred Places, extending the program through 2027 and doubling the amount of capital grants available to congregations to more than $20 million,” wrote the National Fund for Sacred Places in a recent press release.

During the next five years, the fund will provide capital grants to approximately 80 U.S. congregations selected for the National Fund program. Capital grants may be used for repairs or restoration, which can include efforts to restore and maintain key artistic and architectural features of the churches.

Each of the congregations selected will not only have buildings of historical significance and architectural character but will also have an essential role in meeting the larger spiritual, social, and economic needs of the communities they serve.

“The National Fund is not only about preserving historic houses of worship, which is enormously important, but is also about building capacity within congregations so they can be self-sustaining and continue to serve their communities for many years to come,” said Bob Jaeger, president of Partners for Sacred Places. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to extend the program, serving many more congregations through 2027.”

Since 2016 the fund has awarded and pledged $18 million to 97 community-serving congregations representing 24 faith traditions in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. According to the National Fund for Sacred Places press release, this grantmaking has resulted in more than three dollars leveraged for every grant dollar invested in participating congregations.

The next round of grants will be awarded in fall 2023. Details about the application process, eligibility requirements, and selection criteria are available by visiting Applications are due by Feb. 24.