How do I Apply?
When funding is available, applications will completed and submitted through Grants.gov. SHPOs, THPOs, 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 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 projects within their jurisdictions.
Who are Eligible Applicants and Recipients?
- Nonprofit, tax-exempt US organizations, with or without 501(c)(3) designation
- Tribal Historic Preservation Offices
- State Historic Preservation Offices
- Certified Local Governments
Eligible Subgrant Recipients
- Properties listed in or determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places
- Properties located in areas defined as "rural" by the US Bureau of the Census (less than 50,000)
- Properties within the grantee's jurisdiction
What is Funded?
The goal of the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program is to support subgrant programs that enable the rehabilitation of rural historic properties at the national, state, and local level of significance and to rehabilitate, protect, and foster economic development of rural communities. States, Tribes, and Certified Local Governments will submit applications describing their proposed subgrant program and their ability to support and administer it. Those subgrant programs will fund preservation projects for historic sites to include architectural/engineering services and physical building preservation that meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards & Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation.
This video will provide a brief overview of the Paul Bruhn program, the types of programs and applicants eligible to apply, grant amounts timelines and requirements, application requirements and process, and some tips and resources for preparing your application.
National Park Service is now accepting applications for the Paul Bruhn program through Grants.gov opportunity number P22AS00457. The deadline for application is February 7th 2023.
Funding for the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization grant program is provided by the Historic Preservation Fund. Established in 1976, the Historic Preservation Fund is the federal source of money for the preservation assistance grants to state and territorial historic preservation offices, tribal historic preservation offices, more than 2,000 local governments, and the competitive grant programs including Paul Bruhn, African-American Civil Rights, Save America's Treasures, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and others. The Historic Preservation Fund is funded by oil and gas lease revenues from the outer continental shelf. Not in tax dollars.
The Paul Bruhn Historical Revitalization grant program was established by Congress in 2018 and renamed in honor of Paul Bruhn in 2019. Mr Bruhn was the longtime executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont and piloted a program similar to the current version of this program in Vermont in the 1990s.
There are three distinctive attributes of the Paul Bruhn program. First, it is a sub-grant program. There's an emphasis on economic revitalization through historic preservation and it's targeted to rural communities.
A subgrant program is one in which prime grantees apply for and receive a block grant from the National Park Service. The prime grantee then designs a competitive subgrant program to meet specific goals or target specific resource types. Then the prime grantee solicits applications from eligible applicants, reviews their submissions, and makes sub-grant awards from that block grant to multiple smaller projects. Following a word the prime grantee then monitors these subgrand projects and provides payments to the recipients.
Another distinctive attribute of the Paul Bruhn program is its emphasis on economic revitalization through historic preservation. Prime grantees distribute the block grant funds that they have received to smaller projects that support economic revitalization in their targeted communities. These are subgrants that can be awarded to privately owned resources, as well as those owned by non-profits, and local governments, and could be for projects that include facade improvement or rehabilitation of historic theaters or community centers. Any type of project that has a demonstrable economic revitalization impact on the community where it is located.
The third attribute of the Paul Bruhn program that separates it from others offered by the National Park Service is its emphasis and targeting towards rural communities. That means that's the subgrant projects must be located in communities that are defined as rural by the United States Census Bureau. For purposes of this program that means communities that have a population of less than 50,000 according to the 2020 United States census.
Prime grantees may be more targeted and focus on their on specific neighborhoods smaller population centers or a cluster of counties in the design of their subgrant program. It will be up to the prime grantee who is applying for the block grant to define where they intend to focus their subgrant making activities.
So for the prime grantees eligible applicants may be state historic preservation offices, tribal historic preservation offices, certified local governments, or non-profit organizations The maximum grant award is seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars and while non-federal match is not required it may be a competitive factor.
Following the award of a sub-grant program, prime grantees develop guidelines for selecting and distributing subgrants. Those guidelines will define what the target communities or geographic areas of the subgrant program will be, what types of resources might be eligible for subgrants, what types of applicants, what types of projects would be eligible for funding, how much the subgrant awards will be and whether there are any matching requirements.
Prime grantees are the ones who determine the parameters of the subgrant program eligible programs could be targeted to a single neighborhood or a commercial district within a city or town or distributed to communities and buildings throughout a multi-county region or across an entire state. Maybe they will be targeted to Main Street designated communities in that region.
The types of projects funded through subgrants are also up to the prime grantee. They may be focused on simply on facade improvements in commercial corridors or on the development of upper story housing in commercial districts. Maybe there's an emphasis on white elephant buildings or catalytic projects and specific types of buildings like theaters. It will be up to the prime grantee to communicate the broad parameters that the subgrant program will follow as part of their application.
The subgrant programs being proposed by the prime grantee must be designed to address economic revitalization goals in their target communities and properties receiving these subgrants must be located in rural communities of less than 50,000 people as of the 2020 census. Now the definition of rural is relative in some states communities of 50,000 people will be considered major cities, in other states they will be smaller population centers. Maybe there is a county-wide subgrant program proposed and the selected projects will be in village centers that are five or ten thousand people because that is considered rural in that location. It is up to the prime grantee to describe the emphasis and the geographies that will be eligible to apply for their sub grants as part of their application, the prime grantees application to the National Park Service.
One of the important aspects of a subgrant program is that the subgrant recipients must be competitively selected by this prime grantee following the award of the prime grant. That means that applications submitted to the National Park Service by prime grantees cannot be for single buildings or for pre-selected resources or projects.
The subgrant projects must also be for properties that are listed and are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
Resources that are National Register eligible at the time they are selected by the prime grantee, must be listed in the National Register by the conclusion of the prime grant period. Costs for preparing National Register nominations are eligible grant costs.
All the subgrant projects must meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for archeology and historic preservation. It must comply with Section 106, Section 110, and NEPA. There's a requirement that sub-grant projects execute a preservation agreement or easement for the resource following the conclusion of the project, and again there must be competitive selection and National Park Service approval of consultants and contractors working on subgrant projects.
Eligible grant costs include subgrants for the construction activities, promotion of the subgrant program, technical or design assistance for sub-recipients, and prime grantee compliance activities, including Section 106, easement preparation and document recording, project signs, program management costs including staffing costs for new or existing staff and contractors for the prime grantee, and prime grantee grant administration costs such as reporting financial management and other indirect costs.
What types of projects are not eligible? Archaeological investigations beyond phase two reconnaissance surveys, reconstruction of resources that are entirely or substantially missing, new construction, property acquisition, collections as well as work completed prior to the execution of a grant agreement.
Here's some tips for putting together a competitive application for the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization grant program. Be sure that the subgrant program you are proposing has a clear grasp and a relationship to economic revitalization goals. The most competitive applications are targeted geographically or to by resource type to the types of areas and projects that are in most need and most relevant to the economic revitalization goals.
The most competitive applications are associated with or supported by other planning activities in in the community region or state. These could be comprehensive plans, economic revitalization plans, or local preservation plans that to spell out the need for a subgrant program like the one being proposed.
Most competitive applications will have some level of administrative capacity demonstrated, the ability to actually manage a subgrant program on the scale being proposed, and that the administrative costs meaning those that are being charged for things like reporting and grant management are limited to five percent of the grant award amount.
Applications from prime grantees submitted to the National Park Service will be scored on four criteria with each criteria being scored on a scale of 0 to 25 points, for a total of 100 points. Criteria are what are the subgrant program objectives, the need, urgency and threats, feasibility, and sustainability.
When you're preparing your application, make sure that you are registered in Grants.gov which is the government-wide system for submitting grant applications, and make sure that your the individuals who will be preparing and submitting the application have the appropriate roles within that system to do so. Make sure you review and download the Notice of Funding Opportunity and all the related documents. You'll also need to be registered in SAM.gov that stands for System for Award Management. Make sure that your organization's Sam.gov registration is current as the renewal or registration process can take more than two weeks. Grants cannot be awarded or modified if the SAM registration for your organization is lapsed, so please make sure that that is current before you are submitting your application.
You'll need to know your organization's Unique Entity Identifier. Your UEI this is a combination of letters and numbers that is specific to your organization. It's replace the DUNS number in Spring 2022 and can be found at the SAM.gov website for your organization.
It's important to know that both Grants.gov and SAM.gov are systems operated by other federal agencies and so if you require technical assistance or help logging into either of these sites you'll need to contact the help desk for these assist for assistance. National Park Service staff cannot access your profiles or your login information or provide any technical assistance accessing these two websites.
So again when you go to Grants.gov for the opportunity number P22AS00457 which is the site for the 2022 round of the Paul Bruhn program you will see the documents required for submission on the Related Documents tab. Make sure that you review all of the materials in this package and are familiar with the attachments and other documentation that is going to be required as part of your application.
You must submit all of the items listed in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. Failure to submit these documents will result in your application being flagged as incomplete and will not be reviewed or considered for funding.
Here's a list of all of the standard items required for a Historic Preservation Fund grant. There is the SF-424. That is the standard form 424 series which includes the application for federal financial assistance, budget information for non-construction programs, the assurance for non-construction programs, budget information for construction programs, and an assurance document for construction programs. There's also the SF-LLL which is a disclosure of lobbying activities. Attachments form, the project abstract summary form, project description worksheet, project just budget justification worksheet, project images worksheet, indirect cost statement and any letters of support, or owner consent that may be applicable for your project.
It's important to know that there are five individual documents within the SF-424 series. There is the application cover sheet, the SF-424A which is the budget information for non-construction programs. This is required for all applications including those that are primarily for construction. There is a line item on the SF-424A for construction that should match the totals that you have itemized in the SF-424C, which is the budget information for construction programs. You'll also need to provide the 424B and 424D, which are the insurance statements for the non-construction and construction programs. The SF-LLL the disclosure of lobbying activities is also required even if your organization does not lobby. You would simply note that on the form and sign and submit it.
The budget justification worksheet is a document where you will itemize and categorize all of the costs you intend to incur as part of the grant project. There are two sets of columns that distinguish between admin costs and program costs. Admin costs are those expenses that are required to administer the grants. This might include time spent preparing reports or coordinating with the National Park Service grant manager, contract management with your vendors, issuing payments. The admin and indirect costs together may not exceed 25% of the grant award. As stated earlier for the Paul Bruhn program, highest scores will be given to those who have an admin costs that equal five percent of the grant award or less.
Program costs include those costs that are required to achieve the purpose of the grant and the tasks in the statement of work. So these could include preparation of plans and specifications, construction management, the dollars given to sub-grant recipients for actual construction work, managing consultants or contractors, and other project specific tasks. Any staff hired by the prime grantee to manage these subgrant program including preparing and soliciting applications from sub-grantees or communicating with subgrantees are also considered program costs.
Indirect costs are those costs that cannot be directly attributed to the grant but are required to execute the grant. Some common examples include utilities or payroll expenses incurred by the prime grantee. These are calculated as a percentage of the eligible costs and in this case that would include the personnel and consultants costs, as well as the first twenty five thousand dollars of each of the subgrants. Eligible costs are often determined as part of the budget negotiation following the award.
Indirect costs are calculated by applying a percentage multiplier against the eligible direct costs. That indirect cost rate is determined in one of three ways. It can be negotiated with another federal agency, if your organization is a frequent recipient of federal assistance. Could be negotiated directly with the Department of the Interior. Or if you don't have a negotiated indirect cost rate with any federal agency, you could elect to to apply the De Minimis 10% rate against the modified total direct costs of salary, fringe benefits, contractual costs and the first twenty five thousand dollars of subawards.
You would provide a statement on organizational letterhead indicating which of the rate options you would intend to apply for this grant. The organization may also elect not to claim any direct costs and apply all of the money to direct expenses. Because indirect costs also come out of the grand budget they need to be included in the budget justification worksheet and cannot exceed the total grant award that is being made.
The project description worksheet is the primary narrative document where you will describe what you're proposing to do and why it should be selected for funding. Note that in the Notice of Funding Opportunity you will find a section on the criteria that include a series of prompts and and more detailed questions that your narrative should respond to. Make sure that you are responding in your narrative to all of these prompts and providing all of the requested information. Be clear and concise in your narrative. Be specific with the tasks that you are intending to perform.
Make sure that the narrative and the budget worksheet relate to each other. Make sure that you're familiar with the compliance process, the Section 106, Section 110, and NEPA requirements for these projects and have factored that into your timeline and budget requirements.
Pictures are always helpful but only if they're relevant. Again for the Paul Bruhn program, you cannot pre-select resources or properties that will receive subgrants but providing illustrative photos that show the communities where subgrants might be awarded, or the types of conditions, or resources that could be eligible, are very helpful in understanding the intent of your subgrant program.
Any letters of support you intend to provide must be submitted as attachments with the application in Grants.gov. They should be relevance, meaning that they should communicate any involvement or commitment that partners or other entities working with you might be willing to provide for your project.
Make sure that you're familiar with the procurement requirements including the competitive selection and pre-approval process.
Include in the narrative on the project description worksheet the how you intend to meet the easement requirement. Who will hold the easements include money for easement preparation if necessary and make sure that you are on a clear and understanding what that requirement means.
Some advice for our applicants include making sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare the documentation, gather all the materials you need before logging into Grants.gov to submit that application.
It's always a good idea to ask someone who is unfamiliar with your program or project to read your application to make sure that it is clear and responsive to the information requested of you. Expect the unexpected including glitches and system outages that could delay or inhibit your ability to submit. Especially if you are working down to the wire and the last possible minute before deadlines. Make sure that you have have given yourself enough time in anticipation of those unexpected outages.
There are resources available on the National Park Service website for including checklists as well as frequently asked questions about the Paul Bruhn and other programs that we fund through the Historic Preservation Fund.
In the manage grants section of that website, you will find more information about easements, the regulatory compliance process and any of the forms and other documentation required after a grant is awarded.
So one last reminder that applications for the fiscal year 2022 round of the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization grant program are now being accepted these applications must be submitted through Grants.gov. You will find the application materials available on Grants.gov for this program under opportunity number P22AS00457. The deadline for submission is 11:59 PM on February the 7th 2023.
Questions about this program can be sent to the following email address or they are available at the National Park Service website. That email address is STLPG@nps.gov and the website is go.nps.gov/revitalization
Thank you on behalf of the Cultural Resources Partnerships and Science Directorate's State, Tribal, Local, Plans and Grants division of the National Park Service. We look forward to receiving your application.
- 29 minutes, 57 seconds
This short video breaks down the prime grantee application process in just under 30 minutes. Watch to learn how you can preserve historic properties in your rural community!
Past Funded Projects
What is Not Funded?
- Work on grantee-owned property
- Work on projects that have not been competitively selected
- Construction of new buildings
- Acquisition of collections or histoirc sites
- Long-term maintenance or curatorial work beyond the grant period
- Reconstructing historic properties (recreating all or a significant portion that no longer exists)
- Moving or work on moved historic properties no longer eliigble for listing in the National Register of Historic Places
- Cash reserves, endowments, revolving funds, or fund-raising costs
- Work performed prior to grant award or costs for work already completed or funded through other federal programs
- Lobbying or advocacy activities
- Administrative costs exceeding 25% of the total program budget
- Miscellaneous costs, contingencies, reserves, and overhead
NPS personnel and qualified Federal employees will review all complete proposals using the criteria outlined below. Reviewers’ evaluations are based solely on the material provided in the application. Additional materials not specifically required by the application, and materials sent separately from the application, will not be considered. A summary of the review panel comments may be provided to the applicant if requested after the grant process is complete.
Panel recommendations will be made to the Secretary of the Interior who will select successful applicants and forward to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. NPS will conduct risk assessments on all projects prior to funding. Matching funds are not required but may be considered as part of the evaluation process.
Last updated: January 11, 2023