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Knox Heritage celebrates 50-year milestone with launch of $50,000 small grants program

April 4, 2024

Knox Heritage is celebrating 50 years by launching Knox Heritage Community Preservation Grants, starting with a $50,000 fund to support small but important efforts that will further its ongoing mission to make Knoxville a better place to live.  

“We want to evolve, empower, educate and engage,” Knox Heritage Executive Director Christine Cloninger said. “Preservation is for everyone. Every effort, no matter how small, benefits our community. Knox Heritage believes preservation is a unifying force that can bridge barriers and help us grow toward a more inclusive future where all neighborhoods are valued and celebrated.” 

Executive Director Christine Cloninger announces a $50,000 fund to launch the Knox Heritage Community Preservation Grants and shares the new vision for Knox Heritage: To make preservation accessible and relevant to all neighborhoods through more outreach, education, advocacy and resources.

The $50,000 program, designed to preserve buildings, sites or signs, will award up to $5,000 per project. Projects eligible for grants include rehab, restoration and repairs of homes or structures; research or required reports on historic buildings, neighborhoods and communities; and the restoration and maintenance of historic signs. Additionally, a project must be at least 50 years old and prioritize the conservation of authentic historical elements. 

The grant program stems from the success of Knox Heritage’s partnership with the City of Knoxville for other preservation efforts. Knox Heritage created the Community Preservation Grants program with lowered barriers for entry so more people or groups could apply. 

The organization was founded in 1974 with a vision to preserve Knoxville’s irreplaceable architectural heritage as an investment in the city’s future. It has served many of the community’s most beloved and recognizable areas, from the iconic Bijou Theatre to neighborhoods like Old North Knox. Since then, it has expanded to become the primary resource and advocate for preservation in the greater Knoxville area.  

Knox Heritage has made an impressive impact over the last five decades, and the new grant program reaffirms its commitment to evolving for the next 50 years. The organization will build on its success to create even greater impact and accessibility, broaden educational efforts and prepare the community for sustainable, thoughtful growth. 

Knox Heritage also is building a preservation directory that serves as a comprehensive resource guide, listing hundreds of local artists, artisans, vendors and tradespeople who can support or specialize in preservation work. For more information on the program, preservation directory, eligibility or application process, reach out at  

All community members interested in history and preservation can join Knox Heritage’s mission through membership, events or social media engagement.   

“Your involvement is crucial in shaping a future where history is both remembered and embraced as a living part of our community’s growth and identity,” Cloninger said. “We seek to be seen as an organization that is shaping that future by preserving historic structures and helping create thriving neighborhoods. We also want to be an accessible and inclusive leader in historic preservation.” 

 For updated information follow Knox Heritage on Facebook and Instagram

In honor of its 50th anniversary, Knox Heritage’s Board of Directors and staff announced a $50,000 fund to launch the new Knox Heritage Community Preservation Grants, a low-barrier application aimed at supporting preservation projects in previously underserved areas. Left to right: Adrienne Webster, Steve Drevik, Jeff Wilke, Hollie Cook, Cliff Beach, Lacey Mellott, Christine Cloninger and Whitney Manahan.

About Knox Heritage  

Knox Heritage is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving irreplaceable architectural structures and places of historical or cultural significance primarily in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the surrounding region. Established in the early 1970s, it has played a crucial role in the preservation and restoration of various historic buildings and sites. The organization publishes an annual Fragile and Fading list, which highlights historic properties at risk of being lost to neglect, development or other threats. Knox Heritage also undertakes education initiatives, direct preservation projects and offers grants and funding. More information can be found at