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The Northeast Heritage Economy Program is a collaborative initiative between the Preservation Trust of Vermont, Maine Preservation, the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance and the Preservation League of New York State. The NHEP partners received a $1,000,000 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) to help communities undertake locally-driven historic preservation projects with strong community and economic revitalization potential. The Preservation Trust of Vermont has roughly $230,000 available for sub-grants to eligible projects.

The goal of the NHEP is to provide seed money to sub-grantees to create and/or enhance “third places” in rural communities where people gather, exchange ideas, experience culture, build relationships, and create community. These places help to make communities a desirable place to live, work, and start a business and include: non-profit, community supported stores providing space to sell and market local products; public spaces, like libraries and community centers providing critical resources for workforce development training; and cultural and arts centers offering classes, performances and partnerships.

Vermont will have two tiers of funding. The first tier, or highest priority projects, will be Community Supported Enterprises, specifically publicly-owned general stores, café, restaurants and pubs. The second tier of funding will be for preservation projects with strong economic development potential, such as job creation, business creation, workforce development, etc.

What are Community Supported Enterprises and why are they important?
CSEs come in a variety of forms, including restaurants, general stores, cafes, and pubs, and reflect the needs and desires of an individual community. The Peacham Café sells coffee and baked goods, but also has a refrigerator and freezer stocked with local products. The Putney General Store carries a large variety of typical grocery items but also sells coffee, prepared foods and freshly made sandwiches. In both cases, the buildings and equipment are owned by community-based organizations.

Through a combination of fundraising and grants communities are able to purchase the desired real estate and equipment with little to no debt. Since a community has already raised the funds and own the building prior to the opening of the CSE, they are able to lease the space at an affordable rate to the right operator for the job. This also allows the income from the lease to go towards maintenance expenses rather than paying down a mortgage. The turnkey operation provided by a CSE ensures a minimal upfront investment by the operator, allowing them to focus on providing the necessary services to the community at a reasonable rate rather than paying off the debt associated with starting a new business. This low initial investment contributes to the sustainability and health of the CSE.

Eligible Sub-Grantees Must:

Eligible Projects Must:

  • Be completed by July 31, 2021
  • Impact rural communities suffering from the decline of the forest products industry
  • Stimulate economic development and creation of jobs
  • Follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation
  • Leverage additional public and private forms of support
  • Build local and regional partnerships
  • Have a lasting and positive impact on the community

Eligible Activities:

  • Construction
  • Equipment purchases

Ineligible Grantees:
Applicants who have received NBRC funding and do not have their project 75% completed by the application deadline are not eligible to apply for a NHEP grant.

When are applications due?
Applications are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, December 20, 2019

When will funding be awarded?
Funding decisions will be made in late-January and sub-grantee agreements will be signed in February. Work on the project cannot begin until after the sub-grantee agreements have been signed.

Requesting an Application
If you are interested in applying, please email Jenna Lapachinski at to request an application. Applications and all related application materials will be submitted via Dropbox. Jenna will share a Dropbox link when she sends the application.

Please contact Jenna Lapachinski (802) 552-0659 or with any questions.

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