Architecture firms can apply for small business grants through federal government agencies. These grants carry strict requirements and firms must comply with stringent regulations to receive taxpayer-funded grants. In addition to the small business grants available to all types of firms, architectural partnerships can also partner with non-profit agencies to apply for stipends valued from a few thousand dollars to $100,000, in fields that range from historic restoration to environmental preservation.
With the growing need to rebuild the country's crumbling transportation infrastructure, as well as the increased demand for public transportation and reduction in auto emissions, architecture firms can find funding opportunities through federal transportation grants. In 2011, the public transportation authority in Ann Arbor, Michigan, received over $4.2 million in state and federal grants to restore a public transit center. A local architecture firm, DLZ Michigan Inc., was chosen to design the new bus center and shared in the grant proceeds.
Architectural firms also can participate in grant programs geared toward preserving historical landmarks. When non-profit agencies receive federal grants, such as those from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, to repair and restore famous structures, the agencies frequently call on architectural firms for their expertise on materials, structure and design. These projects also enhance the reputation of participating firms that can attach their names to such notable efforts.
Many older structures do not have the facilities to comply with regulations set in the Americans with Disabilities Act. These buildings require such additions as wheelchair ramps and handicapped-accessible restrooms. The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board offers grants to bring older buildings into compliance. By participating in these grants, architectural firms can offer technical assistance and training on design guidelines and carry out research to determine the most appropriate steps to ensure greater accessibility.
In June 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development announced the formation of the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The aim of the partnership is to organize grant opportunities for projects that seek to build sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions for housing and transportation issues in American cities. The grants include the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grants, HUD Sustainable Community Regional Planning Grants and EPA Smart Growth Technical Assistance Projects.