This is for Indiana Masons and Lodges, but if you are in another state, check and see if yours offers similar grant programs. Most do, but you have to look for them. They are usually funded via a federal grant, but each state has their own variations.Indiana lodges that own their own temple buildings should be aware of several state grant programs that might make money available for projects you are planning or undertaking (or dreading).
These are offered through the Office of Community & Rural Affairs, overseen by the Lt. Governor's Office. http://www.in.gov/ocra/index.htm
The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs "works with local, state and national partners to provide resources and technical assistance to aid communities in shaping and achieving their vision for economic development."
No promises, because their application processes are usually very narrowly focussed and require precisely following their instructions.
These all have VERY specific deadlines, so don't dawdle or dither with committee meetings and waiting for stateds to talk it to death! But check out their programs and see if they might apply to you. Go to their home page, and check the left-hand column for the list of programs. These are the ones that jumped out at me:
1. Main Street Revitalization Program (MSRP) Read the material on this one, because it seems to be the one with the widest mission.
2. Blight Clearance Program (BCP) If you have an older building in need of demolishing that you can't afford to get done.
3. Public Facilities Program (PFP) Funds libraries, museums, community centers, performance spaces, and occasionally historic preservation.
4. Stormwater Improvements Program (SIP) If you have constant flooding problems or sewer backups, this might help. Worth checking into.
5. Historic Renovation Grant Program (HRGP) This has VERY SPECIFIC guidelines, so read the instructions carefully to be sure your building applies (must be 50+ years old, and in a designated community, AND be at least in the process or accepted on the list of Indiana Historic Site & Structures). Usually for downtown areas, but I haven't read the details. Deadline is June 30th this year, so get to work immediately on proposal letters of intent!
6. Downtown Enhancement Grant (DEG) This one is sort of a catch-all. I'll just quote from their description, and you make of it what you will: "The Downtown Enhancement Grant (DEG) program is designed to foster innovative approaches to activities, which support and promote community based planning, pre-development, and research initiatives. The goal of these projects is to improve the quality of life and opportunities for increasing private investment and employment in Indiana Main Street (IMS) communities."Also, be sure to check out the page of programs for the Indiana Main Street initiative, which is actually part of a nationwide program through the National Trust for Historic Preservation to revitalize smaller communities. Keep an eye on their upcoming events and get on their mailing list.
You never know when these grant opportunities will pop up. They usually aren't enormous, but you never know what they can lead to, or who they might lead you to. We all need to think more creatively about our historic spaces and how we can protect them from the wrecking ball, and still find a way to keep them in use—or find someone else who wants to. In many cases, there's a way to stay in them AND find a partner to help both parties involved.