So You Want To Fix Up A Lighthouse....
There's no question about it....Americans are madly in love with their lighthouses. Ever since the first lighthouse was constructed in 1716 on Little Brewster Island in Boston, Americans have invested time and money in maintaining or restoring these important relics of maritime safety as an expression of gratitude for the important function the lighthouse served to lost sailors. Lighthouses represent for many individuals hope and blessing, acting as a guide to a safe harbor. While the original function or need of lighthouses has passed with modern navigation methods, Americans still see them as important historical gems to be preserved and protected for future generations to enjoy.
But while there are many local and civic or even national groups that concern themselves with raising money to preserve lighthouses, for many of them fundraising will not cover the cost to repair a lighthouse. The cost to have a lighthouse structure restored can be rather daunting. Finding and covering the services of qualified structural engineers, fresnel lens restorers, or preparation of historical documents to get the lighthouse designated on the National Register can be beyond the reach of groups concerned with preserving lighthouses.
Not to worry. There are many foundations and state or federal agencies who not only see the value of preserving lighthouses, but will provide the dollars to make it happen! I've put together a little grant guide in the following sections to make it easier for lighthouse enthusiasts to find the money they need to get their lighthouse restored and protected, a sort of one stop shop to anyone in America thinking of or working on a lighthouse project.
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Federal Grant Programs
Save America’s Treasures grant offers competitive funding for preservation of National Historic Landmarks or National Registered properties that are nationally significant, with a required dollar for dollar match. A recent grant award involved the organization Lighthouse Kids, who actively work in New Hampshire to preserve New Hampshire’s only offshore lighthouse. Grants for lighthouse preservation can range from $125,000-$700,000. Applications must be submitted electronically by May 21st to: http://www.grants.gov/ For the application, click the link.
The U.S. Department of Transportation may offer grants to lighthouse restoration or preservation in certain cases under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Please contact the Maritime Administration Office at:
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
You may be redirected to your state’s Department of Transportation office, depending on the nature and location of your lighthouse project. You also have the option of consulting your local Congress or Senate official for assistance in obtaining this grant.
In rare cases of severe natural disasters, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will allow grant assistance to restore damaged lighthouses. FEMA requests that you contact them directly so that they may assist you in selecting the correct grant program. You may contact FEMA at:
Federal Emergency Management Agency
P.O. Box 10055
The National Maritime Heritage Grant program, administered by the National Park Service, is currently not providing grants for lighthouse restoration because of a loss of revenue. In the future, this may be a source of funding and is something to keep in mind.
State Grant Programs
The Florida Lighthouse Association has an endowment that provides funding for lighthouse restoration for projects in the state of Florida. Please write the Association describing your project at: The Florida Lighthouse Association, 15275 Collier Blvd., #201 PMB 179, Naples, FL 34119.
The Ohio Lake Erie Protection Fund is a state run fund that has provided grants to lighthouse restoration projects on the coast of Ohio. Grants are provided up to $15,000, with a 25% match required. Applications are due in February, April, August, November and January. Applications should be submitted to: Ohio Lake Erie Commission, One Maritime Plaza, 4th Floor, Toledo, OH 43604.
The Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) has funded previous lighthouse restoration projects through its’ Capital Historic Preservation Grant. Grant maximum is $50,000, with a required dollar for dollar match. For 2011, the MHT is not accepting applications for this grant, but that could change as the economy improves. If you have any questions regarding this grant, please contact Richard Brand at 410-514-7634.
The Michigan Lighthouse Fund offers grants to restore and preserve Michigan lighthouses. The amount of grants available depends on donations. Please contact the Fund at: The Michigan Lighthouse Fund, P.O. Box 23203, Lansing, MI 48909. You may also email the Fund at INFO@MICHIGANLIGHTHOUSE.ORG .
Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grants are provided by the State Historic Preservation Office for lighthouses located in Michigan. Funding offered is for planning and rehabilitation, with applications due in January. Maximum awards offered are $40,000, with a 50% match required. Applications should be sent to: Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program, State Historic Preservation Office, 702 West Kalamazoo Street, Lansing, MI 48909.
The New Jersey Historic Trusthas grant programs for historic preservation and emergency grants to address immediate structure needs. The Trust has funded previous lighthouse restoration projects. There are several programs to choose from. Grants range from $1,000 to $50,000 depending on the program and availability of funds. Please email the New Jersey HistoricTrust at firstname.lastname@example.org
Of Interest To Lighthouse Enthusiasts...
The Jeld-Wen Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiativeprovides a single grant award per year to a lighthouse restoration project that demonstrates compelling need and wins the support of people by online voting (12 finalist projects will be chosen). The grant covers the cost of new Jeld-Wen windows and doors that are custom-designed for your project. To find out more about this program, please contact: JELD-WEN, Inc., The JELD-WEN Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative, P.O. Box 1329, Klamath Falls, OR 97601.
The American Lighthouse Foundation is the largest foundation dedicated to the restoration and preservation of lighthouses on a national scale, and offers grants to assist projects that fulfill their mission. Please contact the foundation directly with a description of your project: American Lighthouse Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 565, Rockland, ME 04841.
The Lighthouse Preservation Society doesn’t offer grants directly, however, they do assist in helping to get a lighthouse on the National Register, gathering historical information, and assist in preparing planning grants for lighthouse projects nationwide. For assistance, contact the Society at: The Lighthouse Preservation Society, 11 Seaborne Drive, Dover, NH 03820.
The Americana Foundation has a program dedicated to the preservation of historic structures that are on the National Register or that will qualify for listing within the state of Michigan. Applications are accepted in January, April, July and October. The Foundation requests that you call or send a concept letter for your project before submitting a full proposal. Please use the application form the Foundation provides and submit it to: The Americana Foundation, 28115 Meadowbrook Road, Novi, MI 48377.
The Doris Duke Fund for Historic Preservationprovides grants for lighthouse preservation in the areas of Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth and Jamestown, Rhode Island. All applications are due in November. Applications should be sent to: Newport Restoration Foundation, Robert Foley, Director, 51 Touro Street, Newport, RI 02840.
The Nordson Corporation Foundation provides small grants for lighthouse restoration in the following states: Ohio, California, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts with acceptable counties listed under contact information. Applications are due mainly in August, although applications from California and Ohio are accepted in May. Applications are accepted online.
The Community Foundation of Monterey County, located in California, has provided funding for lighthouse restoration in California in the amount of $13,000. Grants can be used for planning or restoration projects. Please contact the office directly to discuss your project at 831-375-9712.
The Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation has provided fund for lighthouse restoration projects in previous years in the state of Massachusetts. Unsolicited grant applications are not accepted, but must be invited by the Foundation.
The Walmart Foundationhas provided funding for past lighthouse restoration projects at the individual store level. The minimum grant is $250. To apply, request an application at your local Walmart or Sams Club store and return it to the Facility Manager or Community Involvement Coordinator. Applications are accepted February through December.
The Davis Family Foundation, located in Maine, provides grants to restore lighthouses among many of their interests in the state of Maine. Applications are due in February, May, August and November. The Foundation does not accept applications from individuals. For an application, please email the Foundation at: email@example.com or call them directly at: 207-781-5504.
The Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, provides $1,000 grants toward the restoration or preservation of lighthouses in the Chesapeake Bay Region, Maryland, lower Delaware and Virginia. Grant applications are due in January. You may contact the Chesapeake Chapter at: Chesapeake Chapter, USLHS, c/o Preservation Committee, P.O. Box 1270, Annandale, VA 22003.
The New England Lighthouse Lovers provide lighthouse preservation/restoration grants between $250-$5,600 to any one project located in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont. To apply, please use their application or contact them at: New England Lighthouse Lovers Preservation Committee, c/o Frank S. Carbone, Chairman, 186 Hart Street, Beverly Farms, MA 01915.