The Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania’s board of directors is pleased to announce a new barn grant initiative with the ultimate goal of providing funding for barn preservation in Pennsylvania through small matching grants, awarded as reimbursements for approved barn repairs. We hope to begin providing funding for small scale preservation projects in 2023. We are now able to accept donations for this program. Anyone interested in donating to the program should reach out to grant committee chair,
Announced in the last issue of the Forebay Post (Spring 2022), the board of the HBFF of PA is preparing to launch a matching grant program to encourage maintenance and repair of historic barns in Pennsylvania, advancing a core mission of our organization to promote the preservation of Pennsylvania’s rural heritage. This effort is sorely needed at a time when encroaching development, changes in farming practices, and neglect are taking a devastating toll on old barns in our state. During these past two Covid-challenged years of postponed barn tours and virtual meetings, this comes as an exciting and welcome initiative.
As a new board member of HBFF of PA, I find the background story of this program is interesting in itself and demonstrates the continuing growth of HBFF as a non-profit foundation. In 2019 we were approached by the PA State Historic Preservation Office, which is responsible for overseeing mitigation for loss or damage of historic resources as a result of federally funded or regulated development in Pennsylvania. Section 106 of the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to consider the effects on historic properties of federally-assisted projects, including “compensation for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.” If federally funded or regulated projects are found to impact historic properties by altering or destroying them, this act requires some form of mitigation, which may include monetary support of preservation activities elsewhere. The SHPO was looking for a non-profit organization with state-wide focus that could disburse Section 106 funding to support barn preservation efforts.
HBFF is the perfect partner for this opportunity. In preparation, we have carefully reviewed our bylaws and governance procedures to introduce a grant funding mechanism that wouldn’t jeopardize our tax-exempt status, and address such issues as transparency and potential conflicts of interest. We have developed grant proposal forms and guidelines, criteria for evaluating proposals, and a process for making the awards.
To be eligible for repair grants, buildings must be at least 50 years old, have originally served an agricultural use, and retain a significant degree of historic character and materials. Preference will be given to barns that are visible from a public right-of-way. Funded projects should take a year or less to complete and focus on in-kind repair or sensitive replacement of deteriorated building elements such as roofing, siding, doors, windows, or louvers. The initial round of grant awards will focus on limited-scope water infiltration repairs. As our administrative infrastructure and funding stream mature, we hope to consider more ambitious projects such as stabilizing foundations and repairing structural framework.
Grant application forms and instructions will be available on the HBFF website. Applicants must describe the proposed scope of work, include an estimate from a licensed contractor, and indicate how grant funding will be matched. Grant awards will be distributed as a reimbursement after the project is completed in accordance with the agreed upon plan and renovation standards. Initially this program will consist of small grants up to $2,500. The grant program will be announced to the public this summer, with a November deadline for submitting proposals and the first round of grants to be announced in March 2023.
The grant fund is set up to allow donations from HBFF members and others to supplement the pass-through state funding, ensuring that this program is a true public-private partnership strengthened by the resources of our organization. If you would like to make a contribution to help inaugurate the grant program, make a check out to ‘HBFF of PA’ with ‘Barn Grant Fund’ in the memo line, and send to Jeffrey Cohick, HBFF Treasurer, 396 Alexander Spring Road, Carlisle, PA 17015.
BARN GRANT APPLICATION & GUIDELINES:
Please Note: The application form for grants to be awarded in 2024 will be available by August of 2023.