Pennsylvania African American Cemetery Stewards Network Grant



Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds and Preservation Pennsylvania will be providing approximately 10 historic African American cemeteries with direct assistance to foster continued preservation and conservation of these important Pennsylvania sites.

Selected applicants will work with a professional consultant who will help each site to develop a plan to assist the cemetery stewards with prioritizing maintenance, interpretation and preservation needs. The consultant will also assist with identifying and preparing specifications for priority tasks that address key cemetery needs.

Stewards of the selected cemeteries will meet with a consultant to identify and evaluate the preservation needs of each site. Working collaboratively, the consultant will develop a preservation plan for each cemetery that provides a summary of management issues including property control and access, maintenance needs, and volunteer capacity.

Once the preservation plan has been developed, the  consultant, with input from the cemetery stewards, will help identify a specific project that can be accomplished with direct grant assistance. The consultant will provide guidance, help develop specifications and assist as needed for this work to be undertaken in the summer or fall 2023.

Note: Cemetery stewards who have received previous preservation planning assistance as part of the pilot project or those who have already completed preservation plans for their cemetery may apply immediately for the direct grant assistance.  A consultant will assist the stewards in developing a scope of work and specifications to define a project that helps to implement the strategic goals for the cemetery. Please answer YES to the question that asks if you would like to be considered for only the direct assistance grant.

Direct grant assistance is available for projects costing between $3,000-$7,000 dollars. This grant assistance can provide expertise in monument conservation, landscaping plans, arborists to address the condition of trees, title companies to resolve ownership issues, surveyors  to help resolve boundaries, legal advice, or other pressing needs.

By participating in the project, grantees will provide a model for future cemetery preservation efforts across Pennsylvania. For this project Preservation PA and PA Hallowed Grounds will select the cemeteries, serve as advisors to the cemetery stewards, promote the project and highlight the work of participating cemeteries.


  • Meet with the consultant to discuss site maintenance needs and site interpretation as well as identify specific projects that could use direct grant assistance.
  • Review and provide input on consultant’s recommendations for preservation plan for the cemetery.
  • Identify and develop one project for direct grant assistance in collaboration with the consultant
  • Participate in the social media campaign to build awareness of African American cemeteries in Pennsylvania.
  • Share the experience of your cemetery with other cemetery stewards as well as the general public.
  • Provide feedback and an evaluation of this program.


A committee of Preservation Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds representatives will select the cemeteries for this project and will provide guidance and assistance to the selected cemeteries and the project consultant at every step of the project. The goals of the project are to assist cemetery stewards with maintenance, interpretation, and preservation of each selected cemetery. We will share lessons learned in each project with the larger community of cemetery stewards and caretakers of African American cemeteries in Pennsylvania and beyond.



The project is funded with a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Trust’s Action Fund is the largest U.S. resource dedicated to the preservation of African American historic places. A matching grant was provided by the 1772 Foundation.

Preservation Pennsylvania’s $50,000 grant was awarded in the Project Planning category for development of a new statewide program to protect and preserve Pennsylvania’s African American cemeteries and burial grounds, with a pilot project offering mini-grants, technical assistance, and a toolkit for cemetery stewards.

Over one hundred African American cemeteries have been identified in Pennsylvania telling an underrepresented part of our history, yet they are threatened by underfunding, development, and changing demographics. These sites are also the final resting place of Black veterans, including many of the 8,612 Pennsylvania men who served with the United States Colored Troops in the Civil War. This grant will pilot methods of direct assistance to these sites as well as offering training and technical assistance to the larger community of cemetery stewards. It will also help build public awareness and identify additional funding to preserve this heritage.  

This program will allow Preservation Pennsylvania and PA Hallowed Grounds to develop a program that will support the long-term preservation of Pennsylvania’s African-American cemeteries by aiding the cemetery stewards who manage these sites.


Now in its fifth year, 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. These often-overlooked places hold aspects of history that must be protected—and used to draw inspiration and wisdom for the benefit of all Americans. Click here to learn more.


The 1772 Foundation works to ensure the safe passage of our historic assets to future generations. Click here to learn more.


The mission of Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds (PAHG) is to honor, interpret, and preserve African American cemeteries and the burial sites of Civil War African American Sailors and United States Colored Troops in America. PAHG connects and builds the capacity of stewards of these cemeteries and burial sites, and supports conservation, documentation, education, and training. Working collaboratively with other groups and organizations, PAHG provides tangible encounters with memory and enriches the public understanding of history.


Preservation Pennsylvania is the Commonwealth’s only private statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people protect and preserve the historic places that matter to them. Preservation Pennsylvania was established by the Commonwealth’s General Assembly in 1982 as the Preservation Fund of Pennsylvania, a statewide revolving fund to assist in the acquisition and rehabilitation of historic properties. Since then, Preservation Pennsylvania has grown into its role as a private, nonprofit membership organization with a statewide mission to protect and preserve Pennsylvania’s irreplaceable historic places.

Whether as a leader, partner, or advisor, Preservation Pennsylvania works to secure the future of the past through educational outreach workshops and events, legislative advocacy, advisory and technical assistance in the field, and other special initiatives. The organization is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2022. Consider making a 40th Anniversary donation to support our work.

Pennsylvania Heritage Areas Pilot Project Grants for African American Cemeteries

We are proud to announce that that the recipients for this pilot project have been selected:

Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds and Preservation Pennsylvania announce the selection of three historic African American cemeteries for the pilot project from HeritagePA and Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas, funded by a grant from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Cemetery stewards will coordinate with project consultant Richard Grubb Associates, Inc. on the development of individualized preservation action plans and selection of a project to be undertaken by volunteers.

  • Green Lawn Cemetery (Delaware County)
  • Lindley Hill Cemetery (Chester County)
  • Thornbury AME Cemetery (Delaware County)

Congratulations to the stewards of these cemeteries and to all the applicants. We appreciate their efforts to maintain, protect and preserve these special, and too-often overlooked, places.Administered and managed by Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds and Preservation Pennsylvania, this pilot program is being funded by Heritage PA , financed by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, the Heritage Areas Program under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.

The Pennsylvania Heritage Area Program was established to identify, protect, develop, enhance and promote the historic, recreational, natural, cultural and scenic resources of this Commonwealth and to stimulate community revitalization and economic development through regional heritage conservation, recreation, tourism and partnerships.