Incentives and Grants

The following is a listing of preservation-related funding sources for not-for profits, municipalities and private owners. Please follow the links for specific guidelines and deadline information


Financial incentives fall into four major categories: federal rehabilitation tax credits, local incentives, low-interest loans, and grants. Of these categories, grants are generally only made to non-profit and government entities. Only at the local level are grants generally made to private, for-profit property owners. To learn more …


The Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a state income tax credit equal to 25% of a project’s qualified expenditures to owners of certified historic structures located within River Edge Redevelopment Zones (Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Rockford and soon Peoria) who undertake certified rehabilitations during the taxable year. For information on the current program, administered jointly by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), go to: To identified properties in Rockford that may qualify for this incentive click here.

The Property Tax Assessment Freeze for Historic Residences (owner-occupied: single family homes, condominiums, cooperative unit, or multi-family building up to 6 units) freezes property taxes over a 12-year period after rehabilitation of the property. There is a minimum investment of 25% the property's market value, as determined by the County Assessor. The building must be a certified historic structure>. To learn more …

A 20% Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit is available for rehabilitating an income-producing building. This dollar-for-dollar Federal income tax credit equal to 20% of the construction costs may be used by the building owner or sold to a tax credit investor. The minimum investment is 100% of the building's "adjusted basis"; that is, the purchase price minus the land cost and depreciation, plus prior improvements. The building must be a certified historic structure. Tax Credit Projects PDF. To learn more …

A 10% Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit is available for rehabilitating an income-producing, non-residential building built before 1936. (This is NOT for properties listed on the National Register of Historic places or in local landmark districts). This dollar-for-dollar Federal income tax credit equal to 10% of the construction costs. The minimum investment is 100% of the building's "adjusted basis"; that is, the purchase price minus the land cost and depreciation, plus prior improvements. Use IRS form# 3468. To learn more …

Rehabilitation of a Barn or farm building? Take a look at section 179 of the “Farmers Tax Guide” (publication 225) for tax deduction information. IRS form #4562 “Depreciation Deduction.” One can deduct the cost of rehabilitating a single-purpose agricultural structure, up to $25,000 in 2003. (also see 10% Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit).

A Preservation Easement Donation is a one time charitable, federal income tax deduction equal to the appraised value of the preservation easement. A Preservation Easement is a legal agreement which assigns the right to review and approve alterations to a qualified non-profit organization for the purpose of preserving the property in perpetuity. Property must be a certified historic structure on the National Register of Historic Places, individually listed, contributing to a district, or contributing to a local landmark district. Landmarks Illinois takes Easement donations. Call us at 312-922-1742.

For those with farms or concerned with conserving open space there are Conservation Easements. Similar to the preservation easement, it leaves land in private ownership and can result in an income tax reduction. It may also reduce property and estate taxes. For more information contact: Land Trust Alliance, 202-638-4725, website: or the Conservation Foundation, 630-428-4500, for DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties.

Cook County Class-L Property Tax Incentive
Reduces the property tax rate for 10 years for rehabilitating a landmark building in a commercial or industrial use. Minimum investment – 50% of the building’s assessed value (land subtracted from the total assessed value), as determined by the County Assessor. Call: Office of Special Assessment Programs, Cook County Assessor’s Office at 312-603-5331 or the Landmarks Division of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD), 312-744-3200. Class L Eligibility Bulletin.

Permit Fee Waiver
The City of Chicago waives all building permit fees (requires prior application) for individual Chicago landmark buildings or those contributing to a Chicago landmark district. Call the Landmarks Division of DPD at 312-744-3200.

Chicago Facade Rebate Program
The City of Chicago offers rebates to eligible commercial and industrial businesses and property owners who complete qualified facade rehabilitation projects. An eligible “facade” is the front face or elevation of the building, which typically faces the street and contains windows and the principal entrance to the building. To learn more …

The Greystone Initiative has received a limited pool of funding to help promote the rehab of income eligible, owner-occupied greystones residences one to two units in size in Chicago. Under this offer, greystone owners who take out a rehab, purchase-rehab, or refinance-rehab loan from Neighborhood Lending Services, NHS' non-profit lending affiliate, can receive up to a $10,000 forgivable loan to help write down the cost of green, historic, and other quality of life (e.g., kitchens, baths, etc.) improvements to their 100+ year old buildings. Available through mid-August on a first-come, first-served basis until exhausted. To learn more …

Eugene D. Funk Grant Program (Bloomington residents only)
This program is designed to provide the owners of the historic properties with financial assistance in the preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of the exterior architectural features of buildings and structures on such properties. To learn more …

* Always be sure to check with your local preservation commission about any local incentives that may be available in your municipality.


The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) is issuing a request for proposals to rural communities facing design challenges to host local workshops in 2013. CIRD (formerly known as "Your Town") works to help rural communities with populations of 50,000 or fewer enhance their quality of life and economic vitality through facilitated design workshops. Successful applicants will receive a $7,000 grant and in-kind design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. To to the CIRD website for more:

Home Depot Foundation
Grants, up to $5,000, are available to organizations using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community. Grants are given in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. To learn more …

Preservation Heritage Fund Grants
Landmarks Illinois

The Preservation Heritage Fund provides monetary assistance to preserve or protect significant structures or sites in the state of Illinois. Eligible beneficiaries of Preservation Heritage Fund grants and/or loans are significant structures or sites in Illinois that are under threat of demolition, imminent deterioration, or are of such architectural importance that their preservation will benefit the public and Illinois community. For more information on project eligibility and an application contact: Suzanne Germann, 312-922-1742 or

The National Trust for Historic Preservation Funds:
Grants encourage preservation at the local level by providing seed money for preservation projects. Grants are awarded annually in three competitive rounds: February 1, June 1, and October 1. For more information on this program, and to learn how to apply, please read the guidelines and eligibility page.

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation:
Grants to upgrade energy efficiency and lighting of public and non-profit facilities. Historic buildings prioritized. Contact / 312-372-5191.

For Federal government grants for historic preservation initiatives, go to or email or contact 1-800-518-Grants.

Save America’s Treasures
Bricks and mortar and planning grants. For application information, click here.

Preserve America
Grants to assist communities in preserving their cultural and natural resources. Contact

We the People Initiative
National Endowment for the Humanities

Grants for public programs that use one or more historic sites (single building, neighborhood, town) that address themes relevant to American history. Contact Division of Public Programs 202-606-8267 or by email:

There are also tourism-related incentives (municipality/non-profit):

Tourism Attraction Grant Program
Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs

Funds heritage tourism related historic preservation projects. Property must be open to the public on a regular basis (museum) at least 5 days a week. You must, however, show that the project will result in visitors staying overnight in hotels. Projects funded on a matching basis. Contact: 217-524-2998.


Certified Local Government (CLG) Matching Grants. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency is accepting applications for historic resource inventory surveys, projects that involve Planning, National Register listing, Public Outreach and Education. To learn more …

Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) provides funding for community based projects that expand travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historic, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the transportation infrastructure. To learn more …


Accessible Faith Grant Program
Retirement Research Foundation

Funds available to Chicago area houses of worship for accessibility improvements to their facilities. For more information, go to


Public Museums Grants Program
Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs

Provides operating funds and capital project funding to museums that are operated by or located on land owned by a unit of government. Museum must be in existence for 2 years and have a professional staff. Contact the Division of Grants at (217) 782-7481. Web:


Diversity Scholarship Program The goal of the Diversity Scholarship Program is to increase the diversity of participants at the annual National Preservation Conference and in the preservation movement. The Program provides financial assistance to approximately 60 community leaders from diverse social, economic, racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to attend the National Preservation Conference. Contact: National Trust for Historic Preservation.


The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program provides funding assistance in the form of cost-share grants, to support the preservation of the most significant and representative historic Route 66 buildings, structures, road segments, and cultural landscapes in the eight states through which the route passes. Assistance is also provided to support research, planning, oral history, and education outreach projects related to the preservation of Route 66. Grants are open to individuals, business owners, educational institutions and local, state, and tribal agencies. To learn more …


AMTRAK® Great American Stations is a program to help communities discover and develop the economic power of America's train stations. The web site has a listing of federal and non-federal grant programs is meant to act as a guide for communities that are looking for funding sources for rail station development. To learn more …