Save America's Treasures Grants
The Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant program was established in 1998 and first awarded grants in 1999 to help preserve nationally significant historic properties and collections that convey our nation’s rich heritage to future generations. Since 1999, there have been more than 4,000 requests for funding totaling more than $1.54 billion. More than $315,700,000 has been awarded to 1,300+ projects.
The SAT program is administered by the National Park Service (NPS) in cooperation with its partners, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The SAT program is funded through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) using revenue from Outer Continental Shelf oil lease revenue, not tax dollars.
The NPS is now accepting applications for $16 million in FY2020 funding. Please note there are two separate applications: one for preservation projects and one for projects involving collections.
- One for preservation projects (for properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places for national significance or listed as a National Historic Landmark. The property may be listed on either individually or as contributing to a nationally significant district).
- One for projects involving collections (including artifacts, museum collections, documents, sculptures, and other works of art).
The range of eligible applicants is defined by the National Historic Preservation Act (54 USC 300101) and the Save America’s Treasures program authorizing language, and is limited to:
- Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations
- Units of state or local government
- Federally-recognized Indian Tribes, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian Organizations, as defined by 54 USC § 300300
- Educational institutions
- Federal agencies funded by the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies with the exception of the National Park Service (NPS).
- Grants are not be available for work on sites or collections owned by the NPS.
- Other federal agencies collaborating with a nonprofit partner to preserve the historic properties or collections owned by the federal agency may submit applications through the nonprofit partner.
- Historic properties and collections associated with active religious organizations
What is Funded
SAT funds the preservation, rehabilitation, and conservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections.
Eligible properties must be either currently: 1) individually listed as a National Historic Landmark or be a contributing property within a National Historic Landmark district, or 2) individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places for national significance (properties listed at the state or local significance are not eligible) or be a contributing property within a nationally significant National Register Historic District. Properties include buildings, sites, structures and objects.
Eligible collections must be determined to be of national significance based on the supportive description of its significance within the application. Collections include artifacts, documents, sculptures and other works of art.
What is Not Funded
- Acquisition (i.e. purchase in fee simple or interest) of collections or historic properties
- Survey or inventory of historic properties or cataloging of collections
- Long-term maintenance or curatorial work beyond the grant period
- Interpretive or training programs
- Reconstruction of historic properties
- Moving historic properties, or work on historic properties that have been moved
- Construction of new buildings
- Historic structure reports and collection condition assessments, unless they are one component of a larger project to implement the results of these studies by performing work recommended by the studies
- Cash reserves, endowments or revolving funds
- Costs of fund-raising campaigns
- Costs of work performed prior to grant award
- For Federal agency grantees – Federal salaries, agency overhead, or administrative costs
Funding Details and Grant Minimum/Maximums
Each eligible property and/or collection may only receive one SAT grant. Please refer to The Impact of the Save America's Treasures Grant Program map showing previously awarded grants to see if your property or collection has already received an award. Grants must be matched dollar-for-dollar with non-federal cash and/or in-kind contribution. Matching share must be expended within the grant period.
- Preservation project (bricks and mortar) applicants may request a minimum of $125,000 and a maximum of $500,000.
- Collections project applicants may request a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $500,000.
How to Apply
How soon will I know if I've been selected for funding?
The National Park Service and its partners will announce those applicants awarded funding once the selection panel’s recommendations have completed going through the approval process. There is no timeline for this process so you should be prepared to wait 6 to 12 months for notification.
What are the criteria on which my application wil be judged?
- National Significance - The applicant must prove that the property or collection is nationally significant.
- Severity of Threat - The applicant must convey the urgency or severity of threat to the property or collection that will be addressed through grant assistance.
- Mitigation of Threat - The applicant must clearly convey how the proposed work directly addresses the threat. The project must also show a clear public benefit.
- Project Feasibility - The applicant must prove that the proposed project is feasible (i.e. grantee has the skills/knowledge/abilities to complete the project as described, within the applicant’s defined budget and schedule. The application must also document adequately the ability to contribute the required non-Federal match during the grant period.
- DOI Priorities - The applicant must show that the completed project will meet at least one for the following priorities as defined by the Department of the Interiors: 1) Modernizing Our Infrastructure, or 2) Restoring Trust with Local Communities.
How do I find out if a property is listed a nationally significant in the National Register of Historic Places or is contributing to a nationally significant district?
Please contact your State Historic Preservation Office to verify this information. Contact information can be found on the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers website.
Do I need to have all of the matching share in hand when I apply?
No, you may include a plan for raising matching funds during the grant period in your application. However, you should clearly document past fund raising experience and specific plans for raising the funds during the grant period. All matching share must be expended during the grant period.
Can I use Federal Preservation Tax Incentives as match?
No, match must be from a non-federal source
What are the biggest mistakes people make when applying for SAT grants?
- Not following the application instructions, including forgetting to attach all required documents.
- Not directly answering all of the questions under the different application criteria.
- Not supporting statements made in the application (ex: “We have a proven ability to raise funds.” This must be supported by documenting past fund raising successes and specific plans for raising funds for the application project.)
- Not justifying costs that are listed in the budget within the application.
- Including costs for things not necessary to the preservation or conservation of the project.
- Pre-selecting contractors or consultants to work on the project (All contractors/consultants paid for with grant funds or matching funds must be selected following federal, competitive, procurement procedures under 2 CFR 200.320).
- Not providing photos that clearly show the threat.
- Providing attachments of items not required. These are not considered in the selection panel’s review.
- Submitting the application at the last moment and running into technical problems that lead to missing the deadline.
- Using the wrong application form