Louisville Metro receives $100,000 grant from African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund for Quinn Chapel
Mayor Greg Fischer today announced that Louisville Metro Government (LMG) has received a $100,000 grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, for its ongoing efforts to preserve the historic Quinn Chapel AME Church.
“Quinn Chapel, which stood at the heart of the 1960s civil rights movement in our city, is a landmark, integral to the history of Black Louisvillians and our city as a whole,” the Mayor said. “Today, as we celebrate new investment flowing into west Louisville, it is vital that we restore and preserve such landmarks. We are excited that this grant will allow us to continue the important work to restore the historic Quinn Chapel and we look forward to additional public engagement about the future of the property.”
With more than $80 million in funding, the Action Fund is the largest U.S. resource dedicated to the preservation of African American historic places. In 2022, it awarded a total of $3 million to 33 applicants across the United States to protect and preserve sites representing African American history.
LMG’s grant will be used to restore electrical access to Quinn Chapel, allowing contractors to move forward with additional stabilization and restoration work, and prepare the site for future use. LMG and the YMCA, the current owner of Quinn Chapel, expect to resume community conversations around the future of the church building later this year.
Local preservation nonprofit Vital Sites assisted with the grant application and previously assisted with an engineering study to stabilize the rear wall of Quinn Chapel, which was in danger of collapse from water damage.
“Vital Sites, Louisville’s Preservation Fund, applauds the award of this grant to Quinn Chapel, a building integral to the story of civil rights and our African American heritage. We are pleased to have played a small role in the ongoing work of the YMCA and Louisville Metro in the stabilization and restoration of this key landmark,” said Charles Cash, Vital Sites’ Board President.
Quinn Chapel, built in 1884, takes its name from Bishop Paul Quinn, who was the fourth bishop of the AME Church and the first to visit Kentucky. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the church in April 1961, and it was the starting point of nightly marches for open housing in 1967. The church has retained its integrity in design, materials, and craftsmanship, including original stained-glass windows and decorative masonry features. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
While this is the first grant the city has been awarded from the Action Fund, it is not the first national grant LMG has received for its work on Quinn Chapel. In total, the National Park Service has given nearly $1.5 million in grant funds to stabilize and repair the building and the Department of Housing and Urban Development has invested $250,000. Louisville Metro Government has dedicated $150,000 in matching funds for the work, while the YMCA has invested $400,000.
Since its inception in 2017, the Action Fund has supported 160 places through its National Grant Program for a total investment of $12.4 million. This year’s list further demonstrates the beauty and complexity of African American life and includes historic sites tied to Black arts, culture, civic engagement, entrepreneurship, sports, medicine, education, religion, and social justice.
"The cultural landscapes and historic buildings featured in this year’s list showcase the breadth and depth of African American life, history, and architecture across generations,” said Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the Action Fund. “At the National Trust, we aim to broaden the public's understanding of the Black experience in America, while also underscoring the very urgent need to identify and protect these sites for the benefit of the communities they have long served. We commend this year’s grantees for advancing this movement and stewarding these invaluable cultural assets into the future.”
Action Fund grants support preservation efforts across four categories:
- Building Capital: Supporting the restoration and rehabilitation of cultural assets important to Black history
- Increasing Organizational Capacity: Providing leadership staff positions within nonprofits stewarding Black heritage sites
- Project Planning and Development: Funding planning activities tied to the development of preservation plans, feasibility studies and fundraising
- Programming and Education: Advancing storytelling through public education and creative interpretation
Learn more about the Action Fund and the 2022 recipients at www.savingplaces.org/actionfund.
About the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund
The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and other partners, working to make an important and lasting contribution to our cultural landscape by elevating the stories and places of African American resilience, activism, and achievement. Visit savingplaces.org/actionfund.
About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. Visit SavingPlaces.org | @savingplaces