Historic Preservation Funding and Tax Benefit Resource List
Looking for financial support for your historic preservation project? We've compiled a list of resources that may be available to you.
Please note: The following information is a list of suggested external resources. The Boston Landmarks Commission does not administer or provide any funding, grant, or tax credits. Please visit the websites listed below to find the relevant contact information for each program.
Still have questions? Contact:
Funding for Property OwnersFunding for Property Owners
- Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC)
Current guidance from MHC: “Unfortunately there are no specific programs at the state or federal level that provide financial assistance to the owner-occupants of historic homes for their maintenance or restoration.” Learn more on the MHC website.
- Mayor's Office of Housing
The Mayor’s Office of Housing has programs to help Boston residents buy, improve, and repair their homes. Specific home repair information can be found online.
- Community Preservation Act
Private homeowners typically don't qualify, but homeowners can contact the Community Preservation Act Office to check. There have been some cases where private preservation work has been funded in exchange for a preservation easement or some other guarantee that ensures the project provides a public benefit.
- Historic New England
Historic New England maintains a list of advice for homeowners of old or historic homes.
- Preservation Mass
Preservation Mass has a helpful guide on preservation funding opportunities, including a “Homes” section with a number of tips on potential sources for homeowners.
- Historic Boston Incorporated
Historic Boston Incorporated can help homeowners to set up preservation easements. “Under these easements, property owners receive tax benefits in exchange for preserving certain aspects of the exterior of their buildings into perpetuity. The owners donate a portion of their property rights to HBI, which then ensure that the buildings are appropriately maintained. HBI gives priority to easements on commercial properties but will also accept donations of appropriate residential properties.”
- Federal Cultural Resources Grants
There are a wide variety of grants at the federal level to support planning, development, documentation, repair, and research at historic sites. Grants administered by the federal government include:
- African American Civil Rights Grants
- HBCU Grants
- Save America’s Treasures Grants
- Disaster Recovery Grants
- Tribal Heritage Grants
- Underrepresented Communities Grants
- History of Equal Rights Grants, and
- much more!
- Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives - 20% credit
From the National Park Service (NPS): “A 20% income tax credit is available for the rehabilitation of historic, income-producing buildings that are determined by the Secretary of the Interior, through the National Park Service, to be ‘certified historic structures.’ The State Historic Preservation Offices and the National Park Service review the rehabilitation work to ensure that it complies with the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation.” Learn more about tax incentives on the NPS website.
- Tax Benefits for Historic Preservation Easements
From the National Park Service: “A historic preservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement, typically in the form of a deed, that permanently protects an historic property. Through the easement, a property owner places restrictions on the development of or changes to the historic property, then transfers these restrictions to a preservation or conservation organization. A historic property owner who donates an easement may be eligible for tax benefits, such as a Federal income tax deduction. Easement rules are complex, so property owners interested in the potential tax benefits of an easement donation should consult with their accountant or tax attorney." Learn more about easements on the NPS website.
- Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (MPPF)
The fund is administered by the state historic preservation office (the Massachusetts Historical Commission). The MPPF program is a state-funded 50% reimbursable matching grant program to support the preservation of properties, landscapes, and sites listed in the State Register of Historic Places. Applicants must be a municipality or nonprofit organization.
- Community Preservation Act (CPA)
Community Preservation Act funding is used to support historic preservation, affordable housing, and open space and recreation. All projects must be capital projects involving building or restoration (not maintenance). Eligible groups who can apply include:
- community organizations
- historical societies
- housing and neighborhood developers
- neighborhood coalitions
- nonprofits, park friends groups, and public agencies, and
- recreation associations.
- Historic Boston Incorporated
Historic Boston Incorporated is a nonprofit investor in the redevelopment and re-use of historic buildings.
- Preservation Mass
Preservation Mass has a helpful guide on preservation funding opportunities. The guide includes a “Non-Profit or Municipal” section with a number of tips on potential funding for buildings owned by nonprofits or municipalities.
- National Trust - African American Cultural Heritage Fund
“Grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund are designed to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places such as sites, museums, and landscapes representing African American cultural heritage. The fund supports work in four primary areas: Capital Projects, Organizational Capacity Building, Project Planning, and Programming and Interpretation.” Learn more on the National Trust website.
Also refer to the previous section “For Nonprofits and Organizations” for more resources!
- National Fund for Sacred Places
The National Fund for Sacred Places is a program of Partners for Sacred Places, in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This fund provides support for historic houses of worship that continue to serve their communities.
- Preserving Black Churches
This fund is a project of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. The grants, ranging from $50,000 to $200,000, are “intended to preserve historic Black houses of worship (with either active or non-active congregations) and advance ongoing preservation activities.” Learn more on the Preserving Black Churches website.
- World Monuments Fund - Jewish Heritage Program
The World Monuments Fund’s Jewish Heritage Program supports efforts to preserve historically and culturally significant Jewish sites around the world.