The Heritage Preservation Grant promotes tourism through historic preservation projects and activities inclusive of all stories rooted in history and heritage.
Heritage Preservation Grants are reimbursable two-year funding grants for capital, planning, educational, and marketing projects at historically designated sites. Funding for eligible projects is made possible through Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) proceeds from Austin's convention and hotel industries.
The City of Austin is no longer accepting applications for the Heritage Preservation Grant.
Virtual Open Office Hours
- Available every second and fourth Tuesday from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
- No Appointment necessary.
Heritage Preservation Grant Guidelines
- Nonprofit (with 990s posted to Guidestar.org)
- Applicants must be registered as a City of Austin Vendor
- Applicants must demonstrate operations in the Austin metro area for at least two years.
- Applicants that are not currently receiving or are applying for funding from the City for the same proposal within the contract period.
- Applicants must reside in the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) which includes Travis, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, and Williamson Counties.
- For prior Heritage Preservation Grant Awardees, all contractual funding agreements have been successfully completed, including a final report submission.
- Applicants whose non-profit status has been revoked by the Internal Revenue Service.
- Applicants unable to demonstrate at least two years of operations within the Austin metro area.
- Applicants that have not successfully completed a previous Heritage Preservation Grant project and related reporting requirements.
- Applicants who are not receiving or requesting funding for the same project from other City-funded programs.
- City of Austin Employees
- Individuals younger than 18 years old
- Individuals who reside outside of the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
- Owner-occupied (residential) stewards or properties.
- Application Preview FY 2023
- What year did your business, enterprise, or organization begin operations?
- Is your business, enterprise, or organization a Live Music Venue?
- Is your business, enterprise, or organization a Museum / Art Gallery?
- Is your business, enterprise or organization location a Performance Venue / Theater?
- What is the trade name of your business, non-profit, or organization (Doing Business As or DBA)?
- What is the legal name of your business, non-profit, or organization?
- What is your business or organization's phone number?
- What is the organization's Employer/Tax Identification Number (EIN/TIN)? If you do not have one or do not want to provide it, please enter Nine (9) Zeros.
- If applicable, the City of Austin will need your business or organization to be registered as a City of Austin Vendor or be in the process of becoming a vendor to process any payments.
- If you are not yet a registered vendor, learn how to register as a vendor with the City of Austin before continuing this application.
- If you are fiscally sponsored by another organization, please enter the name of that organization in the field below. If you have already begun registration but do not yet have a vendor number, please enter "in-progress" in the field below.
- What is the business or organization's City of Austin Vendor Number?
Organization Physical Address
- Visit the Austin City Council District Map to find the Council District. Click the "I want to" blue button and enter your address to begin a search.
- Which City of Austin Council District is your business located in?
- Enter address information
- Which Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) County are you located in?
- What is your business or organization's primary industry? (where the majority of your revenue is generated)
- How many permanent employees (full-time and part-time) does your business have? If you don't have any employees, please put (0) Zero.
- How many contract or seasonal employees full-time or part-time) does your business have? If you do not have any, please put (0) Zero.
- How many volunteers does your organization or business have? If you do not have any volunteers, please put (0) Zero.
Non-Profit Organization Demographics
*This section could be For-Profit Organization Demographics which asks for the same information but responses are in percent of control instead of count.
The following questions help the Economic Development Department assess the diversity of an organization or business. Please list the number of leaders for each demographic group. This would include individuals who lead, manage, and control the day-to-day operations of the non-profit organization or business. Each individual should report their primary identity.
Count of Leadership Representation by Race or Ethnicity:
- Black or African American
- Hispanic or Latino
- Middle Eastern, Arab, or North African
- Native American or Alaska Native
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
- Multi-Race or Ethnicity (minimum of two different options from above)
- Race or Ethnicity Not Listed
- Prefer not to answer
Count of Leadership Representation by Other Demographics:
- Prefer not to answer gender
- Member of LGBTQIA+ Community
- Member of Disability Community
- How did you hear about this opportunity?
*These questions vary slightly if applying as an individual or business. The ones listed below are for the business. The questions below are for a business:
- If your business or organization has a physical location, how often has your organization moved since 2015 due to economic hardship?
- Is your CEO, Executive Director, or Board President a first-generation college graduate or enrollee?
- How did you primarily source capital for startup?
- Does your Executive Leadership receive employer-provided health coverage?
- What was your business or organization's annual revenue in 2020?
- Select the option that most accurately describes your most recent access or participation to preservation-related technical, professional development, or financial and budgeting services. Examples include training, coaching, reviewers, or consultants related to historic preservation, heritage tourism, architecture, business development, or financial planning
Heritage Preservation Grant
- Amount Requested
- (Historic) Project Name
- Project Contact Person
- Project Contact Email
- Project Contact Phone
- Project CEO / Executive Director
- Project CEO / Executive Director Phone
- Project CEO / Executive Director Email
- Heritage tourism proposals must be located at a historically designated site within a City of Austin Council District or Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ)
- Project Site: Address
- Project Council District
- Project Start Date
- Project End Date (projects must be completed within a 24-month contract period)
- How does the project demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion of historically underserved and underrepresented communities through programming, marketing, administration, or other means? Limit 500 characters
- What type of historic designation does the project site have? (Note: historic residential properties are ineligible to apply)
- Name of Historic Site / District
- Date of building construction or significant period(s) relevant to site or collection
- Describe the history, architecture, and cultural significance of your historic site. Provide a brief description of construction, historic and current use, and social importance. Limit 1000 characters
- Select the category that best applies to this project: Capital, Planning, Educational or Marketing
- Is the property listed in the East Austin Historic Survey?
- Provide a clear description of the preservation-related work and how the funds will be used. Identify the phase of work to which the funds would apply, if applicable. For non-capital projects (planning, educational, or marketing projects), indicate how the project promotes the historic place. The description should coincide with the project bids submitted. Limit 1000 characters
- Is the property, site, or collection currently threatened or endangered by damage or destruction? If yes, describe the property,site, or collection, explaining existing conditions and threats. Describe how the project addresses the Secretary of Interior's Standards and Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties. For non-capital projects (planning, educational, or marketing), how does the project represent underrepresented stories by preservation education and a unique or diverse property and/or preservation issue? Describe the urgency for funding. Limit 500 characters
- Describe the project team. Who will plan, administer, implement, and manage your project? Cite the qualifications, experience, and skills of the identified project team (staff, project partners, and consultants). Limit 1000 characters.
- Describe similar projects the applicant and team have completed with demonstrated relevant experience. Liit 500 characters
- Does the project have community collaborators? If yes, how will the partnership reflect community voice, values and participation in the heritage tourism-centered proposal? Limit 300 characters
- Does the proposal include two complete and clear bid proposals from outside consultants? (For Capital and Planning Projects: consultant bids and cost estimates should include proposed materials and how the proposal meets the Secretary of Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. If a secondary bid is unavailable, please explain why.)
- If the grant offered to your organization/business was 15-40% less than requested, how might you modify the project or reprioritize funding priorities so that it could still move forward? Limit 300 characters
- Describe your strategies and target audiences to promote the heritage tourism project. Explain how you will attract new and diverse audiences, tourists, convention delegates, and hotel guests of different backgrounds to celebrate Austin's complete history and heritage. (Limit 500 characters)
- Define the marketing performance measures and data you will collect for the project. How will you measure the success of the marketing strategies? (Limit 500 characters)
- Application Materials
Upload the following required documents to be considered for eligibility of the Heritage Preservation Grant. Acceptable file formats include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, .wpf, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .svg, .tif, .tiff. Max file upload: 10MB
- Historic Designation Documentation or Historic Designation Determination of Eligibility
- Historic Designation Documentation: Historic photographs or other documentation of the historic site or property (All)
- Approved Community Activated Park Project Review Form, if project occurs on city-owned parkland
- Project Bid (1) and specifications of materials to be used, if applicable
- Project Bid (2) and specifications of materials to be used, if applicable
- Two outside consultant project bids / cost estimates for contracted work must be uploaded. For Capital and Planning Projects, consultant project bids and cost estimates should include proposed materials and how the proposal meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. If a secondary bid is unavailable, please explain why.
- Project Budget: Include budget and preservation priorities (template available in the application)
- Marketing Plan
- Demonstrated proof of two years of relevant project operating experience in Austin. Documentation that demonstrates active programming in relation to a historic site for at least two years is acceptable, including but not limited to, press clippings, marketing materials of events, exhibitions, collections, purchased advertising to Austin residents, contracts for events, exhibitions or collections.
- Application Scoring Matrix
Category Criteria Available Points Preservation Impact
- Clear description of the preservation-related work and how the funds will be used. (For education and marketing projects, indicate how the project promotes the historic place).
- Demonstrate how the property, site, or collection is currently threatened or endangered by damage or destruction.
- Provide the history, architecture, and cultural significance of the site. Include a brief description of construction, historic and current use, and social importance.
- Indicate long-range goals for the preservation of the property. (For capital and planning projects only)
- Explain how the project demonstrates a commitment to historically underserved and underrepresented communities through programming, marketing, administration, or other means? (For education and marketing projects only)
Up to 32 Points Tourism Impact
- Describe your strategies and target audiences to promote the heritage tourism project. Explain how you will attract new and diverse audiences, tourists, convention delegates, and hotel guests of different backgrounds to celebrate Austin’s complete history and heritage.
- Define the marketing performance measures and data you will collect for the project. How will you measure the success of the marketing strategies?
Up to 32 Points Access and Impact
- Was the applicant previously selected for a Heritage Preservation Grant in 2021?
- Does the project include community collaborators? If the project includes community collaborators, how will the partnership reflect community voice, values, and participation in the heritage-tourism proposal?
- Does the applicant have access to preservation-related technical assistance, professional development, or financial and budgeting services?
Up to 18 Points Project Budget and Project Team
- Describe the project team. Who will plan, administer, implement and manage your project? Cite the qualifications, experiences, and skills of the identified project team.
- Applicant must submit two complete and clear bid proposals from outside consultants.
- Completed Project Budget and a Ranking of Preservation Funding Priorities
Up to 18 Points Total 100
- Project Eligibility
Eligible Projects include:
- Capital, planning, educational, and marketing project sites must be historically designated. Properties may be leased or owned with owner authorization.
- In accordance with Texas Tax Code Chapter 351, the proposal and application must meet the following two criteria: (1) The use must directly enhance and promote tourism and the hotel industry; (2) For historic preservation and restoration projects, the project must be: (A) at or in the immediate vicinity of convention center facilities or visitor information centers; or (B) located in the areas that are reasonably likely to be frequented by tourists.
- Grounds must be accessible, open, and marketed to tourists with reasonable visitation hours.
- Projects that occur within an Austin City Council District or within Austin’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), located downtown or in areas likely to be visited by tourists.
- Project proposal occurs at a historic designated or eligible site while promoting heritage tourism as its primary purpose. Verify the historic designation of a site using the City of Austin Historic Property View Finder.
- Properties listed as historically contributing to a historic district.
- Properties determined to be eligible for historic designation. If a property is not designated at the time of the application, the applicant must provide a determination of eligibility with the application and sites must be historically designated by the end of the grant contract term.
- Projects (Capital) must go before the City of Austin Historic Landmark Commission for historic review and approval. Additionally, the project must meet The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties and Local Historic Building Standards.
- Projects that are preservation-related or history-informing and are actively promoted to tourists, hotel guests, and convention delegates.
- Proposals with City-owned sites must submit a Community Activated Park Projects form. An approved City of Austin Parks and Recreation Community Activated Park Project Review Form must be submitted, reviewed, and approved prior to applying for a grant.
Ineligible Projects include:
- Activities that occur outside Austin.
- Acquisition of property.
- Archeology excavation projects (archeology educational projects are eligible).
- Audits unless required by funding agreement.
- Capital projects that do not meet The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties or local Historic Design Standards.
- Community Activated Park Projects Proposals at City-owned historic sites that have not been approved by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department.
- Consultants who are members of an applicant’s board.
- Existing deficits, fines, contingencies, penalties, interest, or litigation costs.
- Food and beverages.
- Fundraising expenses.
- Historic interiors (historic interior planning projects are eligible).
- Historic properties with fencing in front of, or near, the property that would obscure or prevent visual observation of the building from the public right-of-way.
- Landscaping or Cultural Landscape projects (cultural landscape planning projects are eligible).
- Mass-produced commercial products.
- Neon Signage.
- New building construction or expansion.
- Owner-occupied properties or historic residential properties.
- Payments to students or interns whose employment is tied to class credit.
- Preservation, heritage, and historic projects not associated with a historic site or cultural significant event.
- Projects with no historic designation or are not eligible for historic designation
- Property Taxes or any other tax.
- Purchase of gifts, awards, cash prizes, scholarships, contributions, or donations.
- Purchase of gasoline.
- Supplementing staff salaries, board, volunteer, and docent activities.
- Travel-related costs.
- Wayfinding and right-of-way signage.
Project Categories include:
- Capital Projects
Capital Projects (Maximum award: $250,000)
Contractual preservation reimbursement agreements to restore, rehabilitate and stabilize tourism-serving historic designated sites or contributing buildings within historic districts that are consistent with the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and local design standards. The project site must have a historic designation or be eligible for historic designation (designation must be obtained within the term of the contract). Two outside consultant bids are required.
Capital Project types include:
- American Disabilities Act Exterior Access
- Architectural Design and Structural Analysis
- Building Exterior: Masonry
- Cast Iron Restoration / Repair
- Door / Window / Screen / Trim Repair
- Exterior Light Fixtures
- Facade Elements / Exterior Walls
- Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
- Historic Accessory Structure
- Interpretive Project (Outdoor)
- Millwork / Wooden Repair
- Pier & Beam / Foundation Stabilization
- Roof Repair
- Signage / Installation (neon ineligible)
- Planning Projects
Planning Projects (Maximum Award: $30,000)
Funding to secure property-specific professional planning expertise in areas such as preservation, architecture, or engineering plans; or historic research and historic nominations for tourism-serving sites or potential historic districts.
Projects must already be historically-designated or eligible for historic designation(designation must be obtained within the term of the contract).
Commercial historic properties deemed eligible for historic designation in the East Austin Historic Survey will be prioritized. Read about historic surveys conducted by the City of Austin Historic Preservation Office (HPO).
Planning Project types include:
- Architectural Design
- Consulting for Historic Designation Nomination
- Consulting for Historic Tourism Sites
- Cultural Landscape Preservation Plan
- Heritage Tourism Assessment
- Historic Structures Report
- Interpretive Plan
- Preservation Plan
- Structural Analysis
- Educational Projects
Projects that actively create experiences for tourists and residents to interact with historic places, events, or activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and enhance the understanding or perspective on heritage, culture, and history. The project site must be historically-designated or eligible for historic designation (designation must be obtained within the term of the contract).
Educational Project Types include:
- Events and Programming at a Historic Site or Historic District
- Conferences, Workshops / Training, Skill Demonstrations, Technical Assistance Programs
- Heritage and Historic Exhibitions (for outdoor interpretive projects - see Capital Projects)
- Historic, Heritage, Legacy, Cultural, and Natural Resource Tour Development
- Historic Marker (includes Consultant fees) - must indicate eligibility in advance
- Marketing Projects
Marketing Projects (Maximum Award: $30,000)
Projects that actively connect and market heritage, particularly of underrepresented histories or under-interpreted histories, places, or events, that encourage residents and tourists to connect and engage with historic sites and heritage stories. No historic designation is required initially, but the project must occur at a historic site, be history-informed, and encourage heritage tourism and be designed by the end of the contract term.
Marketing Project types include:
- Digital Marketing Projects (focused on exploring heritage and historic record)
- Heritage and Multicultural Tourism Marketing: Destination Video & Photography
- Heritage and Multicultural Tourism Marketing: Social Media / Marketing
- Language Translation of Marketing Materials (print or digital assets)
- Marketing Content, Asset Development, and Distribution: Brochures, Maps, Guides, Rack Cards, Itineraries
- Website Enhancements (must be associated with site history; operational costs are ineligible)
- Frequently Asked Questions
Can you provide more detail on the bid requirements?
The Heritage Tourism Division requires that all applicants obtain at least two (2) competitive bids or quotes for any procurement of service. This provision applies only to portions of the project supported by Heritage Preservation grant funds.
How do I know if my property is eligible?
A property can be designated at the local, state or national level. Verify the historic designation of a site using the City of Austin Property Viewfinder, the Texas Historical Commission Sites ATLAS, or the National Register of Historic Places Database. Additional historic research resources can be found under Research Resources for Historic Preservation below.
My non-residential property is eligible for a historic designation. How do I submit an application for a City of Austin historic landmark?
To be eligible for landmark designation, a building must be 50+ years old, retain historic integrity, and meet two of five criteria for significance: architecture; associations with important people, groups, or events; archeology; community value; or landscape feature. For information on the historic zoning application, visit the Housing & Planning Department Historic Preservation Office site.
My project will include a number of sites in my community, but we do not need access to any of them to undertake the project. Do we need to obtain letters of consent from all the property owners of these sites?
Applicants may partner with a historic building, site, or district. Partner applicants must ensure that the owners of the property have consented to the project and are made aware of the application as it progresses.
For proposals on historic City parkland, a Community Activated Park Project Form must be submitted and approved by the Parks & Recreation Department prior to submitting a Heritage Preservation Grant application.
What is the source of funding for this program?
The Heritage Preservation Grant is funded through Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) authorized by Texas Tax Code Section 351.101(a)(5). Austin City Council Resolution No. 20181004-033 allocated 15% of the Historic Preservation Fund for the Heritage Preservation Grant and eligible historic preservation and preservation projects or activities.
What is the maximum award under the Heritage Preservation Grant?
The maximum grant awards range from $30,000 to $250,000 depending on the project type.
How many recipients will be awarded grants?
The number of grants will depend on the number of eligible applicants, final scoring, and available funds.
Are matching funds required for this grant program?
No, the grant may cover 100% of project-related costs.
- Cultural Funding Review
The Heritage Preservation funding program supports an inclusive cultural and heritage tourism approach that tells the multilayered history that created the City of Austin.
Our goal is to connect people and preservation while supporting racially and culturally diverse places where tourists and residents can experience the stories and places that focus on Austin’s historic and heritage sites.
Current Cultural Funding programs were developed in consultation with Austin’s creative community over the past 3 years. Funding will prioritize equity through a combination of seed funding, broad sector support, and targeted investment. Read the Cultural Funding Report (PDF, 1.8 MB), El camino hacia la equidad cultural (PDF, 2.2 MB).
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