Program 2017-09-20T16:54:22+00:00

The National Fund is a grant-making program. Congregations awarded to participate in the program receive two critical resources to support the stewardship of their historic facilities:

1) Wraparound capacity-building and technical support services—



2) CAPITAL GRANTS toward an identified scope of building restoration.






Each congregation in the participant group is required to send a team of 2-3 key leaders to a training event—led by a staff team from Partners for Sacred Places—to begin the grant-making program experience.

The training is designed to achieve three goals that build on the participating congregations’ capacity to successfully complete a major capital building project and fundraising campaign:

Orient participant teams to the timeline of activities and program requirements of the National Fund.

Provide expertise on capital campaign fundraising tailored to various campaign stages.

Introduce participant teams to an ecumenical and interfaith group for peer learning and sharing of ideas.

Partners for Sacred Places has led training experiences for hundreds of congregations across the United States. Training content for the National Fund builds on decades of experience coaching communities of faith on best practices for resourcing the stewardship of their historic facilities.

First Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, had already successfully raised over $1 million and completed most of the planning for its multifaceted capital building project when the congregation was awarded into the 2016-17 National Fund group. Yet the training the church’s team experienced expanded their vision for partnership with community benefit organizations in the broader community.

I expected to leave understanding how to engage in external fundraising. Make no mistake, we left having clear strategies on the next steps for our Capital Campaign. What I did not expect was to leave with a paradigm shift on ministry at First Christian Reformed Church…

The training challenged us to articulate the church’s role and investment we make in the community through our ministry.

Pastor Randy Buursma


Congregations awarded participation in the program receive planning grants upon request to help defray costs of hiring experienced and qualified professional services for the project.

Planning grants are administered to participants on a rolling basis upon request, and typically average $5000. Grants can be used for a wide variety of professional services needed beyond the expertise of the congregation. Previous participants have used planning grants to defray costs associated with hiring professional services for:

Building Condition Assessments

Conceptual Architectural Renderings

Campaign Marketing Design

Campaign Video Production

Donor Research

Board Development

Like many National Fund participants, Trinity United Methodist Church, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, embarked on a once-in-a-generation campaign to restore their grand Tudor Revival facility. The congregation had rarely worked with professional architects in the past, but quickly came to understand the value of careful project planning. Trinity was able to pair reserve funds with a $5,000 planning grant from the National Fund to obtain a building condition assessment by an experienced preservation architect in the region.

Read about Trinity’s participation in the National Fund at Interpreter, the denominational magazine of the United Methodist Church.


Participating congregations receive a package of pro bono consulting services provided by Partners for Sacred Places

Consulting services are customized to each project and campaign, drawing from the range of expertise of Partners’ staff. With extensive experience in arts management, church leadership, nonprofit organization, historic preservation, and all facets of capital fundraising, the staff is positioned to give advice, support and counsel on an array of typical project and campaign challenges.


Once awarded into the program, participating congregations are assessed in conversation with Partners to determine the best use of these program services. Consulting packages typically include at least one in-person site visit to the congregation by a staff team, supplemented by ongoing remote correspondence.


After finalizing a comprehensive fundraising plan and scope of work—and once participating congregations have completed the National Fund training and received other capacity-building services—participants are ready to request a capital grant of $50,000-250,000

These grants may be used for the restoration, rehabilitation, stabilization, and preservation of designated historic sites and structures, including bricks-and-mortar construction costs and the associated management of construction and design services.

The final grant amount is determined by  the match that the congregation is able to raise, and after approval that all project components meet historic preservation standards. Capital grants are disbursed in two lump sums of 50% each:

  • The first half of the grant is disbursed after 25% of the match has been pledged and/or raised.
  • The final grant disbursement is made after 100% of the match has been pledged and/or raised, and after all project pieces have been completed and approved by National Fund program staff.


The National Fund is intended to leverage broader energy, resources and dollars for urgent capital projects beyond the internal capacity of the congregation and the National Fund grant itself. For this reason, all participating congregations are required to raise matching dollars for their capital grant award.


*All matching funds must be new money– solicited, pledged and received after being awarded into the program*

1:1 match for $50,000 – $100,000 grant

2:1 match for $100,001 – $250,000 grant (i.e. a congregation applying for a capital grant of $250,000 would need to raise $500,000 in matching funds)




After a congregation is notified of acceptance into the National Fund program, new money raised can count towards their capital grant match. Participants may be able to complete the program at different paces according to the particulars of their projects and campaign.

Ideally participants complete the National Fund project and fundraising match within 12-18 months of being awarded into the program.