American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation today announced the 25 U.S. historic independent restaurants that will collectively receive $1 million in grant funding through the “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” grant program.

Now in its second year, the program will award each establishment $40,000 in funding to help improve the restaurants’ physical space and offer the grantees critical operating costs to help them better serve their customers and grow their businesses.

“Backing Historic Small Restaurants” and “Backing International Small Restaurants” are part of American Express’ wider Backing Small initiative aimed to provide small businesses with financial support and other resources to address critical needs. Backing Small builds on American Express’ legacy for supporting small businesses, which includes initiatives such as Shop Small, the Coalition to Back Black Businesses, and the Inclusive Backing grant program.

“These establishments have served their communities for decades, and they represent a diverse collection of cuisines and cultures that are integral to the fabric of their neighborhoods,” says Madge Thomas, President of the American Express Foundation & Head of Corporate Sustainability. “Backing small businesses is central to who we are, and we are proud to support these historically significant restaurants in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.”

These grants will help historic restaurants make much-needed updates such as creating outdoor seating, address deferred maintenance of their historic spaces to help serve their communities for years to come, and fund other general operating and marketing costs.

“The National Trust is pleased to partner with American Express in recognizing the irreplaceable value of these multi-generational small businesses which often sit at the center of their communities. These small restaurants reflect not just the histories of their neighborhoods but also their futures. They represent the dynamic and vibrant nature of preservation today, relevant to customers while deeply rooted in legacies of gathering around good food,” says Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” grant program is funded by American Express and administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The 25 grantees were selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from a diverse group of historic and culturally significant restaurants that have been in business for at least 25 years and operate in historic buildings or neighborhoods. They include restaurants like Penn Brewery, which is majority women-owned and operates out of a facility that dates back to the 1800s.

“Community is very important to Penn Brewery, especially supporting local non-profit groups who help new artists and musicians, as well as, bringing awareness to the history of the neighborhood. We’re very excited for our customers to see what the space will look like now that we have an option for covered outdoor seating, thanks to American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.” – Penn Brewery and Restaurant

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