horizontal banner with Preserve America logo and images of a historic downtown, farm, courthouse, and mountain

Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Federal Support

Preserve America grants are designed to support a variety of activities related to heritage tourism and innovative approaches to the use of historic properties as educational and economic assets. This matching grants program began October 1, 2005. Over $17 million in federal Preserve America grant funding has been awarded to date.

These grants are intended to complement the bricks and mortar grants available under the Save America’s Treasures program, and fund research and documentation, interpretation and education, planning, marketing, and training.

Eligible recipients for these matching (50/50) grants include State Historic Preservation Officers, Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, designated Preserve America Communities, and Certified Local Governments that are applying for Preserve America Community designation. Individual grants range from $20,000 to $250,000.

Further information on the application process and other details of the Preserve America grants program may be found at the National Park Service Web site.

The Preserve America initiative also offers technical and financial assistance from federal agencies that can be used to:

  • bolster local heritage preservation efforts;
  • support better integration of heritage preservation and economic development; and
  • foster and enhance intergovernmental and public-private partnerships to accomplish these goals.

A number of  federal programs help support and complement Preserve America goals through direct and indirect assistance; for example:   

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Rural Development Community Facilities Grants, gives preference to applications from Preserve America Communities.

  • The U.S. Department of  Commerce, through its  Economic Development Administration, supports and promotes Preserve America projects as potential investment opportunities. These projects, which celebrate America's heritage and natural treasures, are designed to promote job creation and spur private-sector investment in local communities and regions.
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities offers both planning and implementation grants for “Interpreting America’s Historic Places,” part of NEH’s We the People initiative.
  • The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration and the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service both offer mini-grant programs that support local partnership activities to help care for and interpret heritage resources in the National Marine Sanctuaries and National Wildlife Refuges which they manage.  Many of these places and their resources are critical to local tourism.
  • National Heritage Areas designated by Congress and assisted by the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, as well as National Scenic Byways managed at the local and state level  with assistance from the Department of Transportation, support community and regional efforts to preserve, manage, and interpret a broad array of heritage assets.  Planning and other grants are available for these areas.
  • Through Save America's Treasures, a grant program complementary to Preserve America, historic sites, monuments, artifacts, and documents that tell America's story are being rescued to continue to endure as symbols that define us as a nation.

    Through competitive and earmarked grants, Save America’s Treasures  has awarded nearly $285 million through 2009.

    The grants, which are managed by the National Park Service, must be matched equally with non-federal funds—thus stimulating state, local, and private involvement in these important projects.

To electronically find competitive grant opportunities from all federal grant-making agencies, visit Grants.Gov.

Updated November 10, 2014

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