Federal Grants for Church Renovations

by Michael Staton

Federal grants change about as often as Presidents do. While federal money may be easy to attain during a four- or eight-year term, it can disappear just as easily once someone else steps into office. How the government disperses grants for churches is always in flux, so finding federal funding for church renovations can be hard, but not impossible.

From President to President

According to Americans United, constitutional concerns over government endorsement of religion spurred President Bill Clinton to make a regulation that prohibited grants to go to churches with active congregations. However, once President George W. Bush stepped into office this situation changed. Bush made it possible for historic churches to get funding from the government for renovations and building even if they had an active congregation. President Barack Obama tipped the scales back in the other direction when he took office by making changes to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. According to Gabriel Services, Obama moved the department into Health and Human Services so that faith-based services have to compete with general non-profit organizations for funding.

Who Gets Grants?

As of 2010, the White House supports organizations that serve people in need, and gives particular consideration to those that deal in a few key areas. According to Gabriel Services, organizations that help at-risk youth, ex-offenders, homeless and hungry people, substance abusers, welfare-to-work families and those with HIV/AIDs are in a better position to receive funding from the government and attain grants.

Available Grants for Church Renovations

Although grants designed specifically for church renovations are rare, churches can compete for grants that other non-profit organizations vie for. If awarded the grant, churches can use the money to renovate or even build if the work applies to the grant. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, some grants that are available for faith-based organizations include Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grants, Child Care and Development Funds, State Abstinence Education Programs and Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness grants. While there is a great deal of competition for these grants, you can apply for them in order to construct or renovate buildings that will provide these services.

About the Author

Michael Staton began contributing professionally to several papers in South Carolina during 2005. He writes for "Upstate Be" magazine, covering local bands and writing his own weekly Internet column. He is also co-editor of a service industry magazine called "Industry." Staton holds a Bachelor of Arts in media studies from the College of Charleston.

Photo Credits

  • russian orthodox church building image by kolesn from Fotolia.com