Maintaining, repairing, and adaptively reusing historic buildings requires motivation, perseverance, and most importantly, funding. Securing financial support, however, is not always an easy endeavor, even with a building as important as the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. Most preservation organizations like Historic Columbia Foundation don’t have a rich uncle, much less a pot of gold on standby to pay for every pie-in-the-sky project. Instead, organizations prioritize their projects and pursue the ones they can realistically afford to do without depleting their budget. Year after year we follow this approach to make a positive impact in our community while also being good stewards of the financial support we receive.
Our budget will only take us so far, which is why we aggressively apply for grants and other financial incentives to help us accomplish more. As Donovan Rypkema states in The Economics of Historic Preservation, “Preservation incentives make preservation happen.” Financial incentives for preservation can come from a variety of local, state, and federal government initiatives as well as from private organizations such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation. By leveraging funds allocated for a project with those received from matching preservation incentives, projects that were once considered too expensive can now become more feasible. Not only is this concept beneficial for individual buildings, it also creates a chain reaction that leads to additional investment in the community. (more…)