In modern times, the cost of interring a loved one in a cemetery includes "perpetual care." Far too many cemeteries have fallen into perpetual neglect, but preservation and historically-minded groups and individuals or the descendants of those buried in a particular cemetery may seek to restore a graveyard and honor the dead. Grants and funding for cemetery restoration projects in New York state are available through various federal, state and local sources and agencies.
New York Landmarks Conservancy Sacred Sites Grant
The New York Landmarks Conservancy Sacred Sites grant helps restore not only houses of worship throughout New York state but cemeteries connected to these religious entities. New York City-based congregations may apply for the NYLC's consulting grant. The Sacred Sites grant may be used for professional services, surveys, specifications and plans, engineering reports and project management. It cannot be used for restoration work that is already in progress. Although matching grants up to $10,000 may be awarded, as of 2010 the average Sacred Sites grant was approximately $3,000.
New York State Division of Cemeteries
Along with regulation of cemeteries in New York state, this department also provides funding for not-for-profit cemetery corporations seeking to restore damage from vandalism and removing or repairing grave monuments that fall into disrepair or become dilapidated. By law, this division is responsible for the oversight, maintenance and preservation of the burial grounds of any not-for-profit cemetery located in New York state. Its jurisdiction does not include family, religious, private or municipal cemeteries.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
In addition to providing information on cemetery preservation resources and treatment of historic markers, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation may also provide project consultation services. The office aids communities in evaluating, preserving and revitalizing historic and cultural resources, and is the state office administering funding from the federal National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the state Historic Preservation Act of 1980. It oversees sights on the national and New York Register of Historic Places, which can include burial grounds.
Local Legislators and Organizations
Some New York cemetery restoration projects receive funding through the efforts of local legislators in the cemetery's district. Nonprofit organizations seeking cemetery restoration money should contact municipal officials or a town's historic preservation committee, which may aid in securing funding. Another source of aid, if not funding, are local Scout troops. Young men aiming for Eagle Scout status may take on cemetery restoration projects in smaller graveyards.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.