Preserve Route 66 Legacy Business Grant Fund: Guidelines

The Preserve Route 66 Legacy Business Grant Fund provides financial support to businesses to preserve historic places and spur economic development along the Route 66 corridor, with an emphasis on projects that illuminate the narratives of communities whose places and stories have been historically underrepresented.

Grants from the Preserve Route 66 Legacy Business Grant Fund are designed to help business owners advance projects in the following three categories: (1) capital improvements, (2) planning, and (3) marketing and outreach. Eligible projects will be located in the broader Route 66 corridor including communities and neighborhoods along Route 66. Grants will generally range from $5,000 to $10,000, and no match is required.

Have a question?

Read through these guidelines and check out the Preserve Route 66 Legacy Business Grant Fund FAQs before reaching out to

Application and Review Timeline

The deadline for this program will be January 12, 2024. The review process is generally completed within ten weeks of the application deadline, and applicants are notified via email once the review process is complete.

Eligible Applicants

Projects must be located in a community, neighborhood or tribal land along the Route 66 corridor in the following states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or California. While businesses do not need to be located directly on Route 66, they should demonstrate geographic or thematic connections to Route 66.

Applicant must be an owner of the eligible legacy business and 18 years of age or older.

Eligible entities are those:

  • That are small/independently owned legacy businesses or businesses in historic or old buildings.
  • That contribute to the history and/or identity of its surrounding Route 66 community or neighborhood.
  • That have a compelling and inspiring historical narrative or cultural significance to share.
  • That have a physical location (meaning “brick-and-mortar” location).
  • That are a registered business entity in good standing in the state or tribal land in which it was formed and the state or tribal land in which it does business (e.g., not an unincorporated contractor).
  • That are not part of a national franchise.
  • That are existing or new business seeking assistance to open a business in an existing vacant or underutilized Route 66 building (for example, to complete a preservation or business plan) is eligible.

Eligible businesses that fall into one or more of the following categories are preferred:

  1. Businesses owned, operated, or historically associated by/with People of Color (including but not limited to indigenous peoples, Latine, Black Americans, Asian Americans and others), women, immigrants, LGBTQ+ communities or veterans.
  2. Businesses in economically distressed communities, or that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID pandemic or natural disasters.

Digital-only businesses are not eligible (digital includes, without limitation, online and application-based businesses).

Applicants that have received previous National Trust financial assistance are eligible provided that all grant requirements are current.

No more than three grants will be awarded in any two-year period to a single grantee. Only one grant will be awarded per organization in any grant round. Only one grant will be awarded for a particular project phase.

If you are a public agency, tribal government or organization, 501(c)(3), or other nonprofit organization in the Route 66 corridor who does not meet the criteria for this grant program and you are in need of preservation assistance, please email our Grants Office at for more information.

Grant Conditions

Matching funds are not required for this program. The following grant conditions apply:

  • Grant funds cannot be used directly or indirectly to influence a member of Congress to favor or oppose any legislation or appropriation.
  • Any documents or plans for preservation work that result from the project and any construction projects must conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
  • At least three (3) competitive bids/quotes must be obtained for any procurement of services that exceed $50,000. This provision applies only to portions of the project supported by the Preserve Route 66 Legacy Business Grant Fund.
  • Consultants, if being used, must be approved by the National Trust before grant funds are disbursed. This approval process will happen post-notification. Board members of the applicant organization cannot serve as consultants unless appropriate conflict of interest procedures are followed and documented.
  • Grant recipients are required to sign a contract agreeing to the conditions of the program.
  • Grant projects must either begin within six months of the award date or a formal extension must be requested by email. Failure to begin the project or request an extension in this time frame may result in the cancellation of the grant and the applicant will need to reapply for grant funding.
  • Grant recipients must include appropriate acknowledgement of National Trust financial support in all printed or online materials generated for the project.
  • Applicants must agree not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, creed, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, mental and physical disabilities, sex (including pregnancy), personal appearance, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, genetic information, matriculation, political affiliation or veteran status.
  • If the applicant does not own the historic place that is the focus of the grant-funded project, then the applicant must have a recent letter of consent from the property owner stating that the grantee has permission to undertake the grant-funded project.
  • Upon the project completion, a final narrative report and financial accounting of the expenditure of the grants must be submitted. If the project is not completed in accordance with the contract, the grant funds must be returned.

Eligible Activities and Expenses

The Preserve Route 66 Legacy Business Grant Fund will be available for the following three categories of projects: (1) capital improvements, (2) planning, and (3) marketing and outreach. Eligible project types and expenses are listed below. Grant funds can be used to launch new initiatives or to provide additional support to on-going efforts.

Capital Improvements:

  • Restoration, rehabilitation, stabilization, and preservation of historic assets and buildings that help to tell a fuller story of Route 66.
  • Bricks-and-mortar preservation, including but not limited to projects such as repointing, carpentry, window restoration, sign restoration, awnings, painting or cleaning of exterior facades, the creation of outdoor seating areas , ADA accessibility upgrades , and material testing to support the preservation of older buildings.
  • Mechanical projects, including but not limited to replacing or installing new electrical and HVAC systems to improve energy efficiency.
  • Restoration, rehabilitation, stabilization, and preservation of archaeological sites or cultural landscapes that help to tell a fuller story of Route 66.
  • Purchase of equipment or furnishings.
  • Innovations to improve sustainability of a building or attraction, such as reducing energy consumption or food waste.

Planning Projects:

  • Producing a historic structure report, preservation master plan, feasibility studies, environmental studies, energy audits, business plans, marketing plans, etc. for a historic business or historic building connected to the communities whose places and stories have been underrepresented in the historic preservation of Route 66.
  • O btaining the services of consultants with expertise in the areas such as preservation architecture and planning, business development, engineering and environmental studies, legal issues, fundraising and financial sustainability, organizational development, etc. to develop plans to further preservation efforts around the communities whose places and stories have been historically underrepresented in the historic preservation of Route 66.

Marketing and Outreach Projects:

  • Language translation of menus, websites, or other materials to be more inclusive and accessible to diverse local customers and audiences.
  • Collaborating with artists, creatives, and subject matter experts to design and implement innovative exhibits and interpretative programs to elevate or illuminate the stories of communities along the Route 66 corridor that have been historically underrepresented.
  • Designing, producing, and marketing printed materials or other media communications to draw attention to the stories of people along the broad Route 66 corridor, especially People of Color (including but not limited to indigenous peoples, Latine, Black Americans, Asian Americans, and others), women, immigrants, LGBTQ+ communities, and veterans.
  • Web site development to aid preservation efforts, improve business operations, and support storytelling for the communities that have historically been underrepresented in the preservation of Route 66.
  • Materials and services such as printing, photographs, telephone, and supplies.

Ineligible Activities and Expenses

  • Academic research
  • Costs associated with planning for or constructing new buildings or new structures, including the creation of monuments and statues
  • Costs associated with creation or maintenance of archival collections (books, documents, ephemera, etc.)
  • Organizational overhead costs that exceed 10% of the project budget
  • Catering, food and beverage, entertainment
  • Expenses incurred prior to award date


Eligible grant recipients proposing projects that help to preserve historic places or to tell stories associated with Route 66’s hidden legacies will be selected by considering the following criteria:

  • The connection of the project to a community or neighborhood on Route 66.
  • The connection to communities whose places and stories have been underrepresented in historic preservation, such as People of Color (including but not limited to indigenous peoples, Latinx, Black Americans, Asian Americans, and others), women, immigrants, LGBTQ+ communities, veterans and economically distressed communities along the Route 66 corridor.
  • The need for funding and the urgency of the project.
  • The lack of other grant funding opportunities that could address this need.
  • The long-term objectives or potential impact of the project.
  • The qualifications of the key personnel, including consultants or staff.
  • The potential to replicate the project in other communities.
  • The historic significance of the property to be assisted.
  • The extent to which the requested assistance will make a difference in preserving or interpreting the historic property or site, including what other funds might be leveraged by an award.
  • The potential of the project to be a catalyst for further positive action to benefit other historic properties, neighborhoods or communities.
  • The ability of the applicant to carry out the proposed plans or activity if assistance is awarded.

How to Apply

You will need the following items as part of your Preserve Route 66 Legacy Business Grant Fund application:

  • Three digital images of high quality (300 dpi) with caption and credit information are required, but up to six can be uploaded.
  • Letter of consent from property owner (if applicant does not own property).
  • A budget that outlines proposed expenses and revenue for the project.
  • A Certificate of Good Standing document that demonstrates that your business is licensed and in good standing with the state in which your business was formed and is doing business.

National Trust grants staff can provide helpful guidance for the application process if you have questions. If you have specific questions about your project's eligibility, please contact our grants staff.

Application Procedure

Access the application for the Preserve Route 66 Legacy Business Grant Fund.

You will be taken to the National Trust grants application system where you will need to create a user profile for your organization. If your organization has applied for a grant previously, you will sign into your existing organization profile. If you have questions, please email us at

Please add to your address book to ensure you receive email communications sent from our grants application system about your application.

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