Maine Steeples Fund

Total grant dollars awarded last cycle: $49,273
Maximum assessment grant size: $4,000
Maximum restoration grant size: $60,000
2016 Restoration Grants: Four grants awarded for a total of $183,724
2016 Assessment Grants: Seven grants awarded for a total of $17,527

Application deadline: Assessment grant applications may be submitted at any time. Restoration grant deadlines are May 1 and November 1.

Recent grants from the Maine Steeples Fund

Purpose and Background

The Maine Steeples Fund supports local efforts to restore church steeples of historic, cultural, and community significance to cities and towns in Maine. The program will match funds raised locally to both assess and restore steeples. The Maine Steeples Fund is a collaborative effort of Maine Preservation, the Maine Community Foundation and a donor-advised fund at the foundation. Maine Preservation, a statewide resource and advocacy group for historic preservation activities, provides technical assistance to the project, and the Maine Community Foundation administers the grant programs. This grant program typically awards four to six assessment grants and one to three restoration grants annually.

Priorities

The Maine Steeples Fund awards two types of grants: assessment grants and restoration grants. Please visit the Maine Steeples Fund Grant Descriptions page for more detailed information.

  1. Assessment grants provide support for a professional assessment of the steeple. A site visit must be completed before an applicant may apply for an assessment grant. See below for more information and requirements for assessment grants. Applicants must use one of our approved assessors, or submit an assessment for review and approval if it was completed by an assessor who is not on the list.
  2. Restoration grants provide support for the actual restoration construction work on the steeple. An assessment must be completed before a restoration grant may be requested. The priority is to support efforts to restore existing steeples, but reconstruction requests may be considered in unique circumstances.

Eligibility

The Maine Steeples Fund requires the following eligibility criteria:

  • The building must be an active or former church with historic, cultural, and community significance
  • It must be in need of restoration and/or repair
  • It must be located in a Maine municipality or township with fewer than 50,000 people
  • Church buildings must be owned by a religious institution, local nonprofit organization, municipality, or some combination of the above
  • The congregation or organization’s membership must be prepared to match grant dollars received within a specified time period, maintain the steeple after restoration, and follow the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Preservation of Historic Properties (or indicate areas where they may not be able to do so).

Applicants should review the Maine Community Foundation’s general grant eligibility requirements.

Steps in the Process

The Steeples Fund process has multiple phases. Here are required elements of the process:

  1. Select a project coordinator. This person will  be the primary contact between your organization and the Maine Community Foundation, and will coordinate the project. We strongly encourage you to identify a project coordinator who has project management skills, a working knowledge of construction and historic rehabilitation, and is part of your organization's congregation.
  2. Complete and submit the project information form online. When you submit this information, you will receive a confirmation email and you will be contacted to arrange a site visit.
  3. Conduct a site visit with the staff of Maine Preservation. We want to encourage restoration efforts that follow the best practices of historic preservation whenever feasible. Proper assessments are a critical first step in this process and Maine Preservation's technical expertise and experience can greatly assist in this effort.
  4. Apply for a grant once the site visit is complete and you have a better sense of what is involved. Our grants will help pay for a professional assessment of your steeple, which should be completed by one of the assessors on our list of approved assessors. The assessment will guide the restoration process if you decide to proceed. Once you have an approved assessment in hand, you may apply for a restoration grant.

How to Apply

Apply online at www.mainecf.org. Once you have created an account and logged in to complete the project information for your site visit, you will simply log in again to complete the assessment and restoration grant applications when you are ready.

Contact

Contact Maggie Drummond-Bahl at the Maine Community Foundation by e-mail or by phone at (207) 412-0839 with any questions or if you need assistance. If you need technical assistance with the online project information or grant applications, please contact Amy Pollien by email or at (207) 412-2012.  

FAQs

For more detailed information, please visit the Maine Steeples Fund FAQ page.