Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program

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The Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program is a new Historic Preservation Fund grant program created in fiscal year 2018 that supports subgrant programs that enable the rehabilitation of historic properties and rehabilitate, protect, and foster economic development of rural communities. This program funds preservation projects for historic sites, including architectural and engineering services and physical building preservation through subgrants to communities determined rural by the US Bureau of the Census.

Eligible properties must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places or determined eligible for listing at the National, State, or local level of significance and located within rural (non-urban) communities with populations less than 50,000. States, Tribes, Certified Local Governments, and non-profits will apply for funding that will in turn be subgranted to rural communities in their jurisdictions.

In September 2019, this grant program was renamed to honor the legacy of long-time Vermont preservationist Paul Bruhn. The program was formerly named the Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program (HRSP).

How to Apply

Applications are due May 12, 2021. Applications can completed and submitted through States, Tribes, Certified Local Governments, and non-profits may apply for funding to support a subgrant program. This means that they will administer a program that awards funds to projects within their jurisdictions.

Grant Projects Announced

Recently funded projects have been announced. Announcements for all past projects can be found on our news page.

Grant Recipients versus Grant Projects

Under this program, eligible grantees (nonprofits, Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, State Historic Preservation Offices, or Certified Local Governments) will receive funds to be subgranted to organizations within their jurisdictions to undertake project work. Applications must come from eligible grantees; these applications will describe the proposed subgrant(s).

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"These grants help communities preserve their heritage and foster economic development by revitalizing historic sites and structures, including architectural and engineering services.” — Margaret Everson, Counselor to the Secretary, exercising the delegated authority of the NPS Director

Eligible Applicants & Subgrant Recipients

The range of eligible applicants is defined by the National Historic Preservation Act (54 USC 300101) and is limited to:
  • Nonprofit US organizations (with or without 501(c)(3) designation)
  • Tribal Historic Preservation Offices
  • State Historic Preservation Offices
  • Certified Local Governments
These eligible applicants will make subgrants to projects involving:
  • properties listed in or determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places
  • properties located in areas defined as rural by the Bureau of the Census (less than 50,000 people)
  • properties within the applicant's jurisdiction

What is Funded

The program funds the rehabilitation of properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places at the National, State, or local level of significance. Projects will include physical preservation at historic sites (including architectural/engineering services). State, Tribes, Certified Local Governments, and non-profits may apply to the NPS for funding to support a subgrant program, that will in turn subgrant to preservation projects in their jurisdictions for architectural/engineering services and physical preservation.

Funding Details

The Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program is funded through the Historic Preservation Fund using revenue from Outer Continental Shelf oil lease revenue, not tax dollars.

$7.5 million is available for grant funding. We anticipate awarding 10 to 12 grants, ranging between $100,000 to $750,000. Matching funds are not required; however, providing match will be considered in the application scoring process.

Frequently Asked Questions

A subgrant program is when a Federal agency provides a block of funding to an eligible applicant (prime recipient) to distribute smaller amounts of funding widely to other eligible entities to accomplish the goals of the program. The prime recipient therefore acts as the Federal agency and distributes the funding to projects in their jurisdiction.

For the purposes of the Paul Bruhn Historic Grant Program, the applicant serves as a pass through entity as defined in 2 CFR 200.74. The applicant (SHPO, THPO, CLG, or nonprofit) is the prime recipient and will be required to “pass through” (subgrant) funds to eligible subrecipients and ensure that all parties meet the requirements of 2 CFR 200.331, among other key requirements. The applicant must demonstrate to the NPS in their application that they are capable of fulfilling these requirements.

1. A Statewide nonprofit sees a need to preserve historic theatres in the rural areas of their State.
2. A Statewide nonprofit applies to the NPS for grant funding to preserve historic theaters. The Statewide nonprofit proposes in their application the parameters for their subgrant program, including what type of entities they will award to (nonprofits, local governments, main streets, individuals, etc.), how their projects will be selected, and how they will successfully manage the subgrant program.
3. The NPS awards funding to the Statewide nonprofit, making the Statewide the “prime recipient.”
4. The Statewide nonprofit publicizes its subgrant program and deadline, and then runs a competitive selection process.
5. The Statewide nonprofit then distributes funding in the form of smaller subgrants to selected rural historic theater projects in the State.
Managing a subgrant program means taking on the responsibility of the Federal agency for monitoring, payments, approvals, reporting, and closeout. It is not something to be taken lightly or thrown together. It is very important for the applicant to demonstrate their ability to manage a Federal subgrant program and act in the role of the Federal agency in its oversight of the subgrants. Familiarity with the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) 2 CFR 200 will be important in making this determination. Referencing past experience with Federal grants and previously managing subgrant programs will be considered.

If you are interested in the program but not sure about managing subgrants, reach out to other preservation partners that have that experience like SHPOs, THPOs, and CLGs. They may have heard from others that are interested, could apply on your behalf, and subgrant to your organization so you only have one grant to manage.
For purposes of this program the definition of rural is set by the Bureau of the Census as populations under 50,000. The projects receiving the subgrants must be located in an area with population under 50,000. No other definitions of rural will be considered and the provided website will be considered the definitive source of information as to whether a community is considered “rural” or not.
Yes. Match is not a requirement for the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program, but can be considered as a competitive factor when evaluating applications. Applicants that can demonstrate local buy-in through in-kind or cash match for their projects will have stronger applications and spread the funding further. Match may be in the form cash, donated labor, or equipment. Other federal funding cannot be considered as match.
No. The Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program is meant for prime recipients (SHPOs, THPOs, CLGs, or nonprofits) to distribute funding in subgrants to assist multiple rural preservation projects.

If you only have one site but need help, contact your SHPO, THPO, CLG, or an eligible nonprofit and ask if they have interest in applying on your behalf; knowing about projects for potential subgrants may help convince an eligible prime recipient to apply.
Not necessarily. A SHPO, THPO, county wide CLG, or nonprofit may have jurisdiction over large areas that include a mix of rural and urban communities. They may apply, but the project funds must be subgranted to the rural communities in their jurisdiction. Municipal CLGs as applicants must be rural communities and may award grants in their jurisdiction.
Grants from the Historic Preservation Fund are intended to preserve historic resources listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Projects awarded through this program should focus on the physical preservation of historic resources in support of economic development for the community. This program does not fund new infrastructure projects such as sidewalks, sewers, and water systems.

Funded subgrant projects must comply with the National Historic Preservation Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the relevant Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, and the Historic Preservation Fund Grants Manual.
Only tribes that have entered into an Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the National Park Service (NPS) to assume the duties of the SHPO may apply as a THPO. Other Federally recognized Tribes may partner with a 501(c) nonprofit to apply. The roles of the tribe and nonprofit should be well defined in the application, or spelled out in an MOA between the two parties.
Applications are due on the date stated in the announcement.
Applicants will be given three years to complete their subgrants. Extensions may be requested and are awarded no more than a year at a time if significant progress can be shown.
No, you do not need submit financials with the application but you should describe your ability to manage funds in relation to managing Federal subgrants. As a manger of a Federal subgrant program you must follow the auditing and subgranting regulations in 2 CFR 200.

Audit requirements:
a) Non–Federal entities that expend $750,000 or more during a year in Federal awards shall have a single or program–specific audit conducted for that year in accordance with the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 7501–7507) and 2 CFR Part 200, Subpart F.
b) Non–Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 for a fiscal year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, but records must be available for review or audit by appropriate officials of the Federal agency, pass–through entity, and Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Anything the grant requires is considered an eligible cost, so costs to establish and manage easements is allowable. We suggest working with your SHPO to see if they would be willing to hold the easement at a reduced cost first.

We would suggest putting this under "Other" on the budget form. Administrative costs are those involved in the direct management of the grant by you the applicant and the subgrants. This does not include program related costs like monitoring construction, creating easements, and preparing National Register nominations.
As with easements, anything the grant requires can be an eligible cost. A NRHP nomination would be considered a program cost, not administrative. In most cases a consultant is hired to accomplish this task. If there were more than one property, the prime recipient could hire a consultant directly to do nominations for several subgrants. This would especially make sense if several subgrants made up a historic district and could be nominated together. Talking with your SHPO about eligibility and their NRHP process early is very important.
No, Section 106 is a program cost and not part of the administrative costs. Most of this review is handled by NPS and the SHPO. If a prime recipient has the qualifications (and the NPS approves) then the NPS may consider allowing them to conduct their own 106 reviews. The cost of conducting those reviews would fall under “personnel” for the applicant/prime recipient.
The NPS considers contributing structures to a district listed in the NR like an individual listing. Yes, a district nomination could be funded but would need to involve more than one subgrant. We recommend getting a Determination of Eligibility from the SHPO early in the process if you do not already have one.
Equipment is defined in 2 CFR 200.308. Equipment is anything with a cost over $5,000 and a useful life of more than one year. An HVAC system would be part of construction costs.
We would expect to see a line item for "construction" that would include the total amount of funding you intend to spend on that item (roof + foundation). List them as “Subgrant construction costs” under Construction.

Same for consultants fees. List them as "Subgrant architectural services" and "Subgrant easement services" under consultants fees.
Either - we want to see a strong plan for a creative subgrant program that will save resources that are significant to the community and when rehabilitated will contribute to local economic development. Projects might be themed (historic theatres), might involve one historic district, might be statewide for a variety of resources.
Maybe not. This program is not designed to fund just one property. It is intended for a larger entity to apply and then give out funding to several properties. So if you have just one project, speak with your SHPO, THPO, CLG, or nonprofit and ask if others are interested would they apply. If the answer is no, then ask about other funding opportunities like the CLG grant program ( that each State runs and distributes federal historic preservation funding to the local level. It is important that your project is the right fit for the grant program.
A SHPO (or a THPO) can get involved in multiple ways. First by distributing the opportunity to active CLGs in the State as well as nonprofit preservation partners that would be capable of managing a subgrant program. Second, providing guidance and assistance to potential applicants by helping with determinations of eligibility for the National Register, review of draft grant applications, and providing advice on how the Secretary Standards and Section 106 work. Finally, a SHPO/THPO could also apply for funding and then subgrant out to their rural communities. Maybe a SHPO has a state grant program that could match this funding? Thereby doubling their impact within the state. This program would operate like (and could follow) each State’s existing CLG subgrant program, making it simple to implement and ensuring NPS that there is already experience in running a federal subgrant program.
Yes, all grants from the HPF operate on a reimbursable basis, meaning the grantee spends funds first and then requests reimbursement. If there is a large expense an advance can be requested.

No, we cannot fund work that happened before the start of the grant, so the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program cannot reimburse previous work.
Future funding for the program is dependent on Congressional appropriations.
Easements will need to follow the requirements and model set out in the HPF Grants Manual. The NPS is used to working with Tribes and other groups to meet the requirements. The purpose of the easement is to protect the public investment in the site for a designated number of years. And part of that is providing public access to the grant assisted work.
For NPS purposes yes, but the applicant may wish to further define who “their” subgrant program would be awarded to. Perhaps only nonprofits? Or CLGs within the state? That is the design of the subgrant program that will be evaluated in the application.
Our requirements are that the subgrantee be within the primary grantee's jurisdiction, in a rural area (population 50,000 or less), and listed in or eligible for listing in the NRHP. You may not subgrant to yourself.
Not as part of this application. However owner consent needs to happen before a subgrant is awarded.
No, they have to already be a nonprofit and IRS documentation must be provided.
This program does not focus on one specific property, if this project could be one of several that the SHPO would apply for funding for then it could work. In this case it would make sense for the SHPO to apply to be able to competitively subaward to this CLG and others.
As the federal awarding agency, NPS is responsible for the Section 106 and NEPA reviews of all subgrant projects. Plans and specifications for each selected subgrant project must be submitted to NPS for review. Should the SHPO wish to discuss arrangements to review projects internally, or to seek delegated responsibilities from NPS, this may be possible with a programmatic agreement.

Last updated: April 8, 2021