Sacred Places Winter 2019 - Page 3

NATIONAL FUND SPOTLIGHT Congregation Beth Ahabah and Other Recently Completed Projects by Allison King Grants and Program Manager, Partners for Sacred Places “W e can finally focus on the people!” exclaimed Rabbi Nagel from Congregation Beth Ahabah in Richmond, Virginia. Like several other participants from the first four years of the National Fund for Sacred Places, Congregation Beth Ahabah recently completed a massive multi-year preservation campaign to restore its historic house of worship. In 2017, Congregation Beth Ahabah was facing an intimidating array of capital projects. Its heating and cooling system was on its last legs, most of the building was inaccessible, and leaks from the roof were damaging the decorative plasterwork and painted murals in the sanctuary. With technical assistance and a $250,000 grant from the National Fund for Sacred Places, Congregation Beth The recently restored proscenium arch in the sanctuary of Congregation Beth Ahabah Photo: Allison King Ahabah was able to go above and beyond its original scope of work, completely transforming its for Historic Preservation to help providing congregations with campus to become more functional congregations stay healthy and individualized technical assistance so and welcoming. The synagogue become more sustainable by investing they can successfully raise funds for buildings are now more energy in their buildings. Faith-based and complete capital projects, and by efficient, completely accessible, and organizations face many unique making challenge grants that inspire the sanctuary murals are brighter than preservation challenges such as community-wide financial support. most members can ever remember. dwindling membership bases, limited Now on its fourth funding cycle, the Confidence in the building’s opportunities for external funding, National Fund has been able to capabailities has inspired and elaborate buildings that can be support fifty-four congregations from Congregation Beth Ahabah to explore dauntingly expensive to repair. eighteen different faith traditions in new programs, rent its space with more Preserving historic houses of worship thirty-two states. Participating frequency, and provide broader by activating community support, congregants have raised $9.5 million services to the larger community. leveraging new funds, and growing in new money, thanks in part to the congregational capacity are some of leverage provided by National Fund The National Fund began in 2016 the fundamental goals of the National grants. as a joint effort between Partners for Fund. These aims are achieved by Sacred Places and the National Trust SACRED PLACES • WINTER 2019 3