Preservation Grants Program


Who is eligible to apply to the grant program?

Any non-profit organization that either owns or is legally responsible for the preservation of a lighthouse, light station, lightship or related entity that has an official 501(c)3 designation. Each eligible organization may submit only one grant application during each grant cycle

For what purpose(s) can the grant funds be used?

  1. Preservation planning (i.e., "non-capital" projects), for example, research at National Archives, designs, drawings, assessments, surveys, etc., and;
  2. Preservation execution (i.e., "capital" or "bricks and mortar" projects)

How much grant funding can each applicant request?

Each application can request up to a maximum of $10,000. We expect to award at least 2 grants with each application cycle.

Are matching funds required?

No match is required from the applicant. However, the applicant's availability of matching grants or funds will be given additional credit in the application evaluation.

How much time will the awardee(s) have to execute the grant project?

The target maximum time limit for the grant applicants to execute their project is 12 months. However, extensions can be considered and granted on a case-by-case basis if the work is progressing well but not fully completed within the 12 months.

What type of projects stand a better chance of being selected?

  • Projects for lighthouses, light stations or lightships that are on the National Register of Historic Places;
  • Planning or execution projects that require near-term work to stop, prevent or repair deterioration or damage to vital elements; failure to conduct the work will lead to further deterioration and possible failure of vital elements;
    • For example, a project whose scope is to stop water intrusion in a tower lantern room with an active aid to navigation and to repair damage caused by the water intrusion would be preferred over a project whose scope is to repoint interior brick areas in a light station oil house;
  • Planning or execution projects that require near-term work to address issues that very adversely affect safety or health of light station personnel or visitors;
  • Planning or execution projects where the specific element/feature on which the work is proposed to be done is itself historic;
    • For example, work on a historic lantern on a historic tower would take priority over work on a modern replica lantern, even if it were on a historic tower;
  • Planning or execution projects where discussions with the State Historic Preservation Office have already occurred, if required or if appropriate, and approval, if not already obtained, is anticipated in the near-term;
  • Planning or execution projects where qualified professional contractors, if they are to be used, have already been sought, and valid quotes have been obtained;
  • Planning or execution projects that have a total budget greater than the requested grant and have the additional funding in hand or it will be available in the near-term;

Can grants funds be used for routine maintenance?

  • No. Letters of Interest where the scope of work consists primarily of routine maintenance are not acceptable. Routine maintenance includes such things as periodic scraping and painting and application of other coatings, periodic roof replacements, etc.

Application, Selection and Execution Process
***Both the Letter of Intent and Application cannot be filled out online.
You must download (save) them to your computer, then they can be filled out and saved for submission.

Step 1: Submit form Letter of Intent (LOI) by March 24, 2017 (electronic format only)

  • Two pages maximum with basic applicant information, project information and project cost information

Step 2: The USLHS Grant Selection & Management Committee will review the LOIs against the grant selection criteria;

  • The Grants Committee will then send a letter of acceptance to selected applicants by May 7, 2017 and invite them to submit a full application.

Step 3: Applicants submit a full application by June 19, 2017 (electronic format only)

  • Keep to a maximum of 5-6 pages (not including photos or drawings).

Step 4: Grants Committee members review all applications and score each application against the criteria and make recommendations to the full Board for approval;

  • Note that the Grant Committee members could also decide to award a lesser amount than requested to some applicants, as a function of several different factors, including the quality of the application as well as the total amount of grant funding available to award.

Step 5: USLHS will notify the winning applicant(s) by August 7, 2017 in writing of their amount and will forward a Letter of Acceptance for them to sign and return.

  • The Letter of Acceptance will include provisions for project performance and for appropriate recognition of and publicity about the USLHS by the grant awardee.

Step 6: Grant disbursement timing:

  • 50% of the grant amount will be disbursed with the Letter of Acceptance and the other 50% at mid-term, assuming satisfactory performance by the grant awardee.

Step 7: Awardee(s) submit a mid-term report and a final report to USLHS at completion of grant project:

  • Nominally 12 months after award; the due dates and general content requirements for the report will be stipulated in the Letter of Acceptance.

Letter of Interest Evaluation Criteria
  • Does the applicant organization meet the criteria?
  • Is it a current, legal 501(c)3 non-profit organization recognized by the IRS? Does it own or have the legal authority to conduct the proposed preservation work?
  • Does the proposed scope of work meet the criteria?
  • Is it exclusively for preservation planning or for preservation execution?
  • Is the grant amount requested less than the maximum of $10,000?
  • How vital/important does the project appear to be to the overall preservation program for the lighthouse, light station or lightship?
  • How feasible does the project appear to be for the grant amount requested? Does it appear that it can be done within 12 months of grant award?
  • How knowledgeable does the organization appear to be about what is required in a project of this nature? Does it have a known track record or reputation? Is it positive or negative?

Application Evaluation Criteria

Historic significance of lighthouse/lightship/light station

  • For example, is the lighthouse on the National Register (or determined eligible)?

Impact of grant project to lighthouse "health"

  • For example, is this proposal for a project that requires immediate attention because of deteriorating conditions, or for activities that will help complete an ongoing project, or something that could be put off for a year or more?

Feasibility of project

  • Is the scope/schedule/cost reasonable and realistic?

Soundness of technical approach

  • Is the technical approach sound in terms of appropriate historic preservation (e.g., do it comply with the Secretary's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Structures, State Historic Preservation Office requirements, etc.) and in terms of use of qualified resources to execute the project, etc?

Management experience/track record of applicant

  • Does the applicant organization appear to have the requisite knowledge or experience to manage the project?
  • Does it have a track record? Is it positive or negative?
  • Does the selection of the key personnel indicate that the organization understands what skills are needed to execute the project?
  • Does the applicant organization appear to have adequate financial health to preserve this lighthouse, light station or lightship?

Donate to the Grants Program

Program Description

See who has been awarded past grants!

Check out our Preservation Grants Brochure

If you have any questions, please contact:
U.S. Lighthouse Society
Phone: (415) 362-7255