Sample Grant Application

Here is the written portion of a sample grant application presented by a historical preservation committee to an urban preservation foundation. Most of the above-mentioned areas were requested in the questions and guidelines and are included in the grant application. You'll note that this particular application lumped goals and results with plan of action in part three. Remember, each grant proposal is slightly different, and you will need to follow the application carefully.

1. Project Summary

The Northwood Downtown Historic District (NDHD) seeks funding to create a comprehensive plan that complements the overall framework of the region's historic area. This project will help us achieve our goal of economic viability and revitalization of the Northwood Historic District.

The infrastructure, facades and signage, mercantile issues and streetscape, including parks and public art, will be addressed. Current and future zoning issues will be examined with the intent of safeguarding this plan. The results will be described both visually and verbally for use by the community in its negotiations and dealings with the district government including the departments of Public Works, Parks and Recreation.

The procedure for producing this plan will incorporate significant input from area residents, business owners, clergy, civic leaders, and village officials prior to and during a two-day neighborhood design workshop. Local experts in urban design, historic preservation, retail marketing, and business development will donate their services. All relevant technical information including maps, photographs, historic guidelines, and zoning and scale drawings will be prepared, updated, and analyzed. Two weeks after the neighborhood design workshop the final project report will be presented at a community-wide meeting in Northwood.

The NDHD will implement this project with the assistance of a planning group known as Design Unlimited, an organization sponsored by the state commission on the arts and humanities, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and supported by the American Institute of Architects.

2. Description of the Need for Funding from the Urban Preservation Foundation

Funding is being requested because the neighborhood referred to as the Historic District is in need of revitalization. Business and shop owners have reported a decline in customers of nearly 40 percent over the past five years. Tourist traffic in the area is also down significantly. In addition, several of the buildings have been reported to have minor structural damage as determined by the City Buildings Safety Commission. The loss of revenue for the Northwood community resulting from the lessened tourist traffic and business conducted in this area is projected at nearly $1 million annually over the next two years.

There is also a cultural and historic obligation to the city to maintain the historic buildings that were the cornerstones of the Northwood community.

This is the first time the community has sought funding from outside the neighborhood to support a project regarding historic preservation. The Island Architectural Bureau has agreed to pledge $5,000. Additional funding of $5,000 is requested from the Northwood Preservation Foundation to be used specifically for this project.

3. About the Organization

The NDHD was founded in 1984 as a privately endowed, independent institution devoted to collecting, interpreting, and presenting the rich multicultural history of the community and the state to the public through exhibitions, programs, research collections, and publications.

In addition, the committee also works to establish historical status for select buildings in Northwood, and works to maintain and preserve its twenty-four structures that are already listed as historical landmarks.

4. Describe your goals and future plans for the project or activity beyond the scope of this grant proposal (that is, how the consultant's recommendations will be implemented, how educational programs will be institutionalized, and so on).

The goals and subsequent results of this project will be to:

  • Encourage compatibility of building rehabilitation and new construction with protection of the historic district

  • Enhance pedestrian activity and tourism in the area

  • Strengthen and identify the character and attractiveness of the area

  • Improve and increase retail business activity

  • The project will include a major overhaul of the sidewalks, curbs, streets, lighting, landscaping, and village green in the downtown historic district of Northwood. This work, scheduled to begin during the spring of 2010, will work with the already pledged support of the local municipal organizations and the Department of Public Works.

    The work is expected to take six months and will include the historic district's seven-square-block area. To accommodate residents and merchants, work will be completed in three parts. See attached work schedule. Our committee also recently negotiated with the Business Improvement District and Department of Public Works to take responsibility for special projects to improve the district's village green. This work will begin in the fall of 2010 and include planting, new lighting, and a new public walkway.

    In addition, the proposed urban redesign and historic preservation plan of the Northwood Historic District will be the foundation for the Northwood traffic calming project, scheduled to begin in the fall of 2010. This additional project is expected to take five months and is not part of this specific project and will be separately funded.

    5. Evaluating the Project

    The NDHD is seeking project funding, with the average grant in the range of $1,500 to $2,000. In the evaluation process, the NDHD will confirm the proposed project, an urban design plan for the neighborhood's commercial district, and show continual building progress on a monthly basis as well as accounting for the project expenses. Committee reports will also be provided monthly from the fundraising, planning, and project committees.

    The “Urban Design Plan” for the Historic District will be completed with information gathered from a two-day community workshop to be held in May. Approximately 125 residents and planning professionals will be invited to participate in the workshop. A report, with drawings prepared by architects, urban planners, and landscape architects will be distributed in July through a community newspaper. A copy of the report will also be provided to all funders.

    A search for funding to implement some of the recommendations has already begun. One local foundation has publicly expressed interest in funding projects in this neighborhood, and an introductory meeting has already been scheduled.

    6. Budget Estimated total of this project/activity: $25,000 Amount requested from the (name of grantor): $5,000


    Source of Cash (specify)

    Urban Services Fund Grant (request submitted)


    Preservation Foundation (grant requested)


    Local business contributions


    Direct mail solicitation in neighborhood


    Neighborhood bazaar and flea market




    Barbecue picnic dinner




    Source of Donated Services and Materials (specify)

    Printing and reproduction donated by Inkwell Shop



    Food donated by area restaurants and supermarkets


    Room for workshop donated by St. Peter's Church


    Audiovisual equipment donated by Northwood Audiovisual Co.


    Mika Architects' donation of drafting services


    Donation of services of six design professionals (architects, urban planners, and landscape architects) for two days @ $700 per day




    Note that in the sample budget, under expenses, it indicates exactly what the applicant (the organization requesting the grant) will pay for and how the funds from the specific grant will be used. This grant proposal is a sample of the kind of information that may be requested and how it might be presented. Remember, grants alone will not save the day, but they can help you in your quest to complete a successful fundraising project.

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