Landmarks Illinois' Small Preservation Grants Create Big Impact at State Historic Sites
October 3, 2017
Communications Manager, Landmarks Illinois
CHICAGO – Landmarks Illinois grants, while relatively small, often serve as a catalyst for major transformation at Illinois historic sites. A new analysis of the nearly 200 grants Landmarks Illinois has awarded over the past 33 years shows recipients were able to use the LI funding to ultimately save an important historic resource and to leverage additional funds needed to finish a large-scale historic preservation project.
The study, “No Small Change: The Grant Programs of Landmarks Illinois,” was prepared by PlaceEconomics for Landmarks Illinois. The study reviewed a total of 192 grants awarded between 1984 and 2017 through three Landmarks Illinois grant programs: The Endangered Building grant program, the Preservation Heritage Fund, and the Barbara C. Thomas E. Donnelley II grant program.
In all, LI awarded $825,629 in grants in the period analyzed for the report. More than 50% of the grants were less than $2,000 each, but this “small change,” as the title of the report suggests, resulted in giant change in the stewardship and survivability of the historic site or structure.
Further, Landmarks Illinois grants covered between 5% and 9.9% of the overall cost of the historic preservation projects analyzed, but LI grant recipients were able to use the funding to leverage further financial support. According to the report, on an aggregate basis, every $1 from Landmarks Illinois was matched by more than $16 from other sources. That means the $825,629 awarded through LI grants was matched by more than $14 million from other sources.
“The money was wonderful, but it was the prestige [of Landmarks Illinois] that led to why this grant was important – it was the catalyst and helped us sell the story to other people,” said one LI grant recipient, Dick Hart, a founding board member for the Elijah Iles House Foundation. “Having the support of Landmarks Illinois was worth 100,000 times the grant amount for that reason.”
The full study, “No Small Change: The Grant Programs of Landmarks Illinois,” is available for download on the Landmarks Illinois website, www.Landmarks.org.