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Historic Preservation Fund FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the HPF Program

  • What is the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) Matching Grant Program?

    The HPF program is federal money that is distributed to the states by the National Park Service (NPS) on an annual basis. In Indiana, the HPF program is administered by the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA). The HPF program fosters historic preservation and archaeology activity in Indiana by providing assistance to projects that will aid the state in meeting its goals for cultural resource management.

  • Is it competitive?

    Yes, grant funds are awarded on a competitive basis and each grant proposal is evaluated and scored against a set of predetermined evaluation criteria. These criteria are revised and made available for public comment each year.

  • Who is eligible to apply?

    Eligible applicants include: local governments, colleges and universities, and not-for-profit organizations with tax exempt status. Communities that have been designated by the National Park Service as Certified Local Governments (CLGs) are especially encouraged to apply or co-sponsor applications from their communities. The U.S. Department of Justice has determined that religious organizations are eligible to participate in the HPF Grant Program.

  • How much money is available?

    Depending on Congressional appropriation, the DHPA awards approximately $500,000 to $600,000 each year in HPF matching grants for projects in three categories (see below). The maximum grant request ranges from $50,000 to $75,000 depending on the project category.

  • How must grant funds be matched?

    Acceptable forms of matching funds include cash from any non-federal source, in-kind donations of goods and services at documented fair market value, and volunteer labor valued at minimum wage. In general, at least 90% of the local match for any project should be in the form of cash. All matching funds must be on-hand and available at the time of application; there is little time for fundraising after receipt of a grant award.

  • How much match is required?

    In most cases, grant funds must be matched by the applicant on a 50/50 basis with two exceptions: Certified Local Governments (CLGs) are eligible for a 60/40 matching ratio (40% local match required) for any type of project; colleges and universities are eligible for a 70/30 matching ratio (30% local match required) for archaeological projects.

  • How are grant funds paid out?

    Grant funds are not paid out “up front,” but are reimbursed at the project funding ratio as the grant recipient incurs and then pays project-related expenses. Applicants must have 100% of their matching share on-hand, since grants require payment of project costs prior to seeking reimbursement from the DHPA and release of HPF grant funds.

  • What types of projects are eligible for HPF funding in the three categories?
    I. Architectural & Historical Category
    • National Register Nominations for identified Historic Districts;
    • Architectural/Engineering Plans and Specifications for the future rehabilitation of properties that are currently listed in the National Register of Historic Places;
    • Feasibility Studies and other Planning Documents related to the future rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of properties that are currently listed in the National Register of Historic Places;
    • Public Education Initiatives, Programs, Workshops, and Training Events Related to Preservation;
    • Publications and Brochures for Projects and Topics Related to Preservation.

    Grant requests in this category can range from $5,000 to $50,000 and are subject to a 50/50 matching ratio. Approximately 15% of available HPF grant funding is awarded in this category.

    II. Archaeological Category
    • Phase I Archaeological Surveys on previously unsurveyed portions of DNR-owned properties including Fish & Wildlife Areas, Nature Preserves, State Forests, and State Parks.
    • Phase I Archaeological Surveys that address data deficiency priorities identified by the DHPA.
    • National Register nominations for eligible archaeological sites and resources.

    Grant requests in this category can range from $10,000 to $50,000 and are subject to a 70/30 matching ratio.

    Approximately 25% to 30% of available HPF grant funding is awarded in this category.

    III. Acquisition & Development Category

    High Priority Work Items:

    • Stabilization, preservation, rehabilitation, or restoration of an endangered property.

    Middle Priority Work Items:

    • Preservation, rehabilitation, or restoration of a non-endangered property;
    • Upgrades to utilities and mechanical systems for improved functionality, safety, and energy efficiency;
    • Preservation or restoration of interior features of high cultural or artistic value.

    Low Priority Work Items:

    • Property acquisition;
    • General interior rehabilitation or non-urgent exterior rehabilitation activities;
    • Improvement of building access and egress.

    Grant requests in this category can range from $10,000 to $75,000 and are subject to a 50/50 matching ratio. Approximately 55% to 60% of available HPF grant funding is awarded in this category.

    All proposed rehabilitation work must conform to the applicable Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. All properties to be assisted with federal funds MUST already be listed in the National Register of Historic Places at the time of application. A federally required protective covenant must be placed on the property for either 5, 10, or 15 years, depending on the amount of the subgrant award.

    Ineligible/Unallowable Work Items:

    • New construction;
    • Landscaping (other than grading necessary to correct site drainage problems);
    • Directional and/or interpretive signage;
    • Museum exhibits;
    • Any work items at a property that is NOT listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Grant-assisted properties MUST be municipal or public facilities OR they must be quasi-public in nature, such as historical society buildings, house museums, religious properties, or other types of buildings that are normally open and available to the public on a regular basis. Finally, properties receiving grant funds MUST be non-income-producing. Note that income-producing properties may be eligible to receive state or federal rehabilitation tax credits instead of grant assistance; see the DHPA’s website for more information.

  • What is the HPF program’s timeframe?

    This is an annual program with one funding round each year. Applications are posted on the DHPA’s website by August 1st and must be submitted to the DHPA by a deadline in early October (normally the first Friday). All applications are evaluated and scored by the DHPA Staff and are presented to the State Historic Preservation Review Board for final consideration and approval. Funding decisions are tentatively announced following the Review Board’s quarterly meeting in January, and funded projects can usually begin in June. All HPF-assisted projects MUST be completed by June 30th two years later – for a timeframe of approximately 24 months.

  • Who should I contact for more information, applications, or answers to specific questions?

    Those interested in applying for grant funding are strongly encouraged to contact the Grants Section before completing the proposal packet to confirm that the proposed project is eligible to receive grant assistance. The Grants Section can often provide applicants with valuable advice and information on how best to prepare the grant proposal. It is especially important to consult the Grants Section before applying for an Acquisition and Development grant, as this funding category can be extremely competitive.

    Malia Vanaman, Grants Manager,, 317-232-1648

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