Historic Religious Properties Grant Program
Stepping Forward to Preserve Our Region’s Religious Heritage
Protecting historic religious structures is one of the most important tasks faced by preservationists. The value of these buildings goes far beyond religion. They play an enormously significant role in a community’s life and sense of place.
– Richard Moe, former President, National Trust for Historic Preservation
In November 1993, the Allegheny Foundation awarded a grant to the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) to undertake a 10-month study addressing the needs of historic religious properties in Allegheny County. Research showed that owners of historic religious properties were faced with mounting challenges as their buildings aged, congregations declined, and maintenance costs increased. Therefore, PHLF began raising funds from its members and from private foundations to support a “Historic Religious Properties” program of technical and financial assistance. A committee of trustees oversees the staff-directed program.
Based on a competitive grant-application process, the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation provides a limited number of matching grants and technical assistance consultations to owners of architecturally-significant historic religious properties in Allegheny County.
- Matching Grants: Matching Grants: Landmarks awards grants of up to $10,000 for the restoration of architecturally-significant historic religious properties that also provide social services to surrounding communities. The religious institution is required to match the grant.
- Technical Assistance: Landmarks’ staff and/or consultants can (1) assess the current condition of a historic religious property and recommend a building maintenance and restoration plan; (2) conduct architectural and engineering studies or energy conservation audits; (3) and give advice on working with an architect and contractor, among other things.
Historic Religious Property Applicant Must :
- Be a recognized religious institution in Allegheny County, housed in an architecturally-significant building that is 50 years old or more. (NOTE: Priority is given to properties listed, or eligible for listing, on the National Register of Historic Places, or listed in the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation’s Cultural Resource Survey of Allegheny County, or recognized by a “Historic Landmark” plaque.)
- Have an active, though not necessarily large, congregation.
- Be capable of raising matching funds to support the project proposal.
- Offer a program of social services that benefits the surrounding community/neighborhood.
- Be a member of the Pittsburgh History& Landmarks Foundation. If you are not a member, you can join by clicking here.
- Be willing to accept a PHLF “Historic Landmark” plaque if offered. NOTE: Such a plaque gives public recognition only to your historic property and does not protect it from alteration or demolition.
Note to Previous Grant Recipients:
- A historic religious property may apply again IF all work associated with previous grants awarded has been completed.
- If you have received multiple grants totaling $20,000 or more, PHLF may ask for an easement on the building’s exterior and/or on significant interior elements prior to awarding additional grants.
Historic Religious Properties Projects Must:
- Be for preservation/restoration of the basic structure of the building; for those parts that shelter the interior space and support the shelter such as columns, exterior walls, windows, roof structure, and gutter work.
- Help restore architecturally significant religious buildings that are places of worship and also providers of community services.
The deadline to apply for the 2024 grant cycle is December 8, 2023.
Click here for an application or contact:
Director, Real Estate Programs
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
100 West Station Square Drive, STE 450
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1134
PHLF is the only nonprofit organization in Allegheny County offering a continuing program of financial and technical assistance to historic religious property owners. Since 1997, PHLF has awarded more than 250 matching grants totaling more than $1.7 million and has provided more than 60 technical assistance consultations. Since its inception, the program has leveraged about $24 million in restoration projects. Help us keep the program going by making a tax-deductible contribution, made payable to PHLF and referenced HRP. We need and greatly appreciate your support. Thank you.
For information on a national program dedicated to preserving historic religious properties, please visit Partners for Sacred Places