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. An assessment must be completed before a restoration grant may be requested. See below for more information and requirements for assessment grants. Applicants can 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 of the steeple. 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).

Churches in Hancock or Washington counties: For those churches located in Hancock or Washington counties, please review the guidelines for the Belvedere Historic Preservation Grant Program, which may be another funding option for your project.

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

What to do Before You Apply

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

  1. Contact Maggie Drummond-Bahl at the Maine Community Foundation by e-mail or phone at (207) 412-0839 to find out more about the fund and see if you are eligible. 
  2. Select a project coordinator. This person will  be the primary contact between your organization and the Maine Community Foundation, and will coordinate the stages of the process. We strongly encourage you to identify a project coordinator who:
              a.  has project management skills (the ability to manage and execute a project within a stated schedule and budget)
              b.  has a working knowledge of construction and historic rehabilitation

              c.  is ideally from within your organization.

  3.  Schedule a site visit with 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. Maggie will connect you with Maine Preservation's staff to coordinate the scheduling of a site visit.
  4. Complete pages 1 and 2 of the project information and grant application form. You will share this information with the Maine Preservation staff prior to a site visit.
  5. 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 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

We use one form for all stages of the process. Use the link below to access the form and directions:

Maine Steeples Fund Project Information and Grant Application Form

For both types of grants, please email the document with the required sections complete and all required attachments to Maggie Drummond-Bahl. If you do not have access to email, please call Maggie at (207) 412-0839.

Contact

Contact Maggie Drummond-Bahl at the Maine Community Foundation by e-mail or by phone at (207) 412-0839 to find out more about the fund.   

Forms

Maine Steeples Fund Project Information and Grant Application Form
Project Report Form

FAQs

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