Funds Available for Chicago-Area Church Accessibility Projects

Post a Comment » Written on January 6th, 2006     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (January 6, 2006) – Some $250,000 in Accessible Faith Grant funds from the Retirement Research Foundation (RRF) remain available for Chicago area churches interested in making accessibility improvements to their facilities, with the first of two application deadlines on April 14.

The grants are designed to encourage facility improvements that allow increased participation of elderly persons and people with disabilities in the programs, services, and activities of the facilities provided by grant applicants.

Accessible Faith Grants may be used for the following purposes:

  • Planning/architectural design projects with an Illinois licensed architect or engineer to develop a detailed scope of work and preliminary cost estimates for an accessibility project.
  • Construction projects that increase accessibility, i.e. installing elevators, platform lifts, inclined lifts, or permanent ramps; widening doorways; or renovating restrooms for accessibility. These projects generally require a building permit.
  • Purchase and installation of accessibility-related equipment like assistive listening systems, magnifying machines, or Braille printers.

Eligibility requirements include registration as a certified 501(c)(3) religious organization under the rules of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service; being located within Cook, Lake, or DuPage counties in Illinois; providing or hosting programs and activities – beyond worship services – that benefit elderly persons; demonstrating a need for financial assistance to carry out the accessibility project; demonstrating the ability to raise sufficient funds to complete the project if awarded a grant; and owning the facility where improvements would be made.

Projects that meet the following criteria will be given priority, according to RRF rules:

  • Congregations that have a large number of older adults and have programs in addition to worship services.
  • Congregations that provide space for outside organizations having programs or activities that are geared toward or involve older adults.
  • Congregations that demonstrate financial need; that is, congregations unable to carry out the project without outside funding assistance, but with the ability to obtain remaining funds sufficient to undertake the project if a grant is awarded.
  • Specific, intentional accessibility improvements rather than overall facility renovation.
  • Construction projects with accessibility designs that are sensitively integrated into the existing architecture.

The maximum grant amount is $30,000. Projects consisting of planning/architectural design or purchasing and installing equipment must be completed within 12 months of the grant award, while construction projects must be completed within 18 months of the grant award. The second application deadline – and the final one for 2006 – is June 30. To learn more about the grant application process, rules and requirements, please see Accessible Faith Grants.

Faith Accessibility Grants represent one of several grant opportunities offered by RRF that are available to institutions throughout the United States, including churches. Over the past 20-plus years, the foundation has invested more than $150 million in projects that address aging and retirement issues. Established by the late John D. MacArthur and endowed in 1978, the foundation invests approximately $9 million each year to support efforts to develop innovative solutions to the challenges facing older Americans.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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