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As non-profit organizations, churches often must struggle with the costs of maintaining their buildings and ministry. Charitable work, limited revenue and tough economic times may strain a congregation's ability to finance new construction or renovation. To help meet these needs, churches can often find funding through grants from private foundations. An organization looking to secure grant support should watch for opportunities and understand the guidelines of potential granters.
Partners for Sacred Places
Partners for Sacred Places is a private foundation with offices in Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois. It supports construction and preservation projects at churches. Its focus is on "community-serving, architecturally and historically significant sacred places" in its local regions, according to the organization's grant guidelines. The grant program is competitive and usually requires congregations to secure matching funds from their community or other sources. Partners for Sacred Places is multidenominational, and its work in Texas, for example, has supported Catholic, Baptist and Methodist congregations.
National Trust Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a large private foundation that supports the work of a broad number of non-profits and public agencies to preserve and maintain historically significant buildings. The National Trust Preservation Fund awards grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 on a competitive basis, and primarily funds efforts to plan capital campaigns or historic preservation on a regular basis. It also provides intervention funds on an emergency basis to save historic landmarks facing destruction. In the past, the National Trust has supported efforts to preserve and renovate churches like the Wesley United Methodist Church in New Orleans, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Duke Endowment Rural Church Grant
The Duke Endowment is a private granter associated with the United Methodist Church. Due to tough economic conditions, the endowment's Rural Church Construction and Renovation Grant program is targeted toward "projects that focus on church based child care, affordable housing, food and hunger, and leadership development," according to the foundation. The endowment conducts a site visit, architectural review and financial qualification process to determine eligibility for grant assistance. The grant primarily supports eligible congregations operating in rural areas of North Carolina.
CRC Green Congregation
National church organizations often support construction and renovation for their affiliated congregations. The Christian Reformed Church in North America has awarded competitive grants annually since 2009 to support efforts by their congregations to improve their environmental impact. The Green Congregation Grant program provides awards of $500 to eligible churches that are engaged in "effective and replicable 'greening' through education, lifestyle, and theological initiative," according to the CRC. In 2011, the program provided assistance for the Christian Reformed Church of Salt Lake City to improve energy efficiency in its church building.
Matt Petryni has been writing since 2007. He was the environmental issues columnist at the "Oregon Daily Emerald" and has experience in environmental and land-use planning. Petryni holds a Bachelor of Science of planning, public policy and management from the University of Oregon.