Grant Spotlight: Hart Family Fund for Small Towns

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Occasionally on Rural Resurrection, we spotlight a few grants that are available to rural communities throughout the Midwest. Usually, we are talking about a specific project and mention how a grant has helped that project become a reality. But sometimes the grants themselves need attention.

GrantsThe National Trust for Historic Preservation (@SavingPlaces) is a privately funded, nonprofit organization focused on supporting “the preservation of America’s diverse historic buildings, neighborhoods, and heritage through its programs, resources, and advocacy.” Based in the nation’s capital, this nonprofit is renowned for its involvement in historic preservation. They also act as a hub to find grant funds for your own historic preservation projects. This includes the Hart Family Fund.

What is the Hart Family Fund?

The Hart Family Fund has been developed to create seed funding to help start historic preservations in small towns. Grants typically range from $2,500 to $15,000 and help fund activities and projects such as (as per the website):

Planning: Support for obtaining professional expertise in areas such as architecture, archaeology, engineering, preservation planning, land-use planning, and law. Eligible planning activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Hiring a preservation architect or landscape architect to produce a historic structure report or historic landscape master plan
  • Hiring a preservation planner to produce design guidelines for a historic district
  • Hiring a real estate development consultant to produce an economic feasibility study for the reuse of a threatened structure
  • Sponsoring a community forum to develop a shared vision for the future of a historic neighborhood

Education and Outreach: Support for preservation education activities aimed at the public. The National Trust is particularly interested in programs aimed at reaching new audiences. Funding will be provided to projects that:

  • Employ innovative techniques and formats aimed at introducing new audiences to the preservation movement

Eligible Applicants

Only public agencies and nonprofit organizations in towns with a population of 10,000 or less are eligible. But even with this somewhat limited eligibility list, this is a very competitive national grant. It will be important to read through all the criteria for the grant on the Hart Family Fund page of the National Trust for Historic Preservation webpage.

It’s also important to note that only Organizational Level Preservation Leadership Forum MembersMain Street America Community Members, and Main Street America General Members are eligible to receive funding from the Hart Family Fund. Membership is not required before you apply, but is required prior to the release of funds.


To apply, first go to the Hart Family Fund for Small Towns webpage and read through all the requirements for applicants. Then, at the bottom of the page, you can start the application process by clicking on a link that takes you to the National Trust grants application system.

If you have a potential historic preservation project in your small town, check this grant out!

Grants featured in Grant Spotlight posts are also on the Rural Resurrection Tool Kit page. For more grant opportunities, check out the Tool Kit page.