Providence Revolving Fund
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About the Providence Revolving Fund


The mission of the Providence Revolving Fund is to preserve Providence’s architectural heritage and stimulate community revitalization through advocacy, lending, technical assistance, and development in historic areas.  This is accomplished by: partnering with neighborhoods and community-based organizations; retaining and developing affordable housing; collaborating with others to preserve and develop real estate; and serving as a catalyst for public and private investment.

The Providence Revolving Fund

The Providence Revolving Fund is a community-based, non-profit, development and lending corporation which was established in 1980.  It manages two capital funds, the Neighborhood Loan Fund with over $2 million in assets and the Downcity Loan Fund with $6.5 million.  The Revolving Fund's resources are targeted to specific historic neighborhoods and primarily serve low-to-moderate income families residing in the Broadway-Armory, South Elmwood, North Elmwood and Upper South Providence historic districts and property owners and merchants in the Downtown Providence National Register District. 

The Providence Revolving Fund is governed by an eleven-member board, representing expertise in banking, real estate development, law, historic preservation, architecture, and social services.  The Providence Preservation Society's Executive Director and Board President serve on the Providence Revolving Fund's Board under a reciprocal agreement.  Seventy-three percent of the Board lives in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods served by the Revolving Fund. 

The Board of Directors relies on three volunteer advisory committees representing the neighborhoods and downtown district where the Revolving Fund programs are offered.  These committees meet on a regular basis with the Revolving Fund staff to review Neighborhood Loan Fund and Downcity Loan Fund projects.  They advise the Revolving Fund on effective strategies that encourage home ownership and rehabilitation of historic buildings as a means to revitalize and stabilize their neighborhoods.  All loans and Revolving Fund activities are reviewed by the advisory committees and approved by the Providence Revolving Fund Board of Directors.

Neighborhood Loan Program

The Neighborhood Loan Fund focuses on low and moderate income historic neighborhoods in need of revitalization and stabilization.  The fund is used to purchase endangered properties which are developed for owner occupied affordable housing and to make rehabilitation loans to owners who cannot get conventional financing due to income level and/or the condition of the building and area.  Funds are committed on a short-term basis and are "revolved" back into the capital fund when a building is resold or as loans are paid back.  Detailed plans and specifications are prepared for each loan and construction monitoring is provided by the Revolving Fund staff.  Seventy-percent of the contractors used for projects are minority-owned and/or women-owned and reside in the neighborhoods that the Revolving Fund serves.    

Since 1982, the Neighborhood Loan Fund has invested over $7.4 million in low and moderate income neighborhoods for 460 building restorations in the Broadway-Armory, South Elmwood, North Elmwood and Upper South Providence historic districts, including the renovation of 46 previously abandoned buildings. This has leveraged over $23.75 million in additional financing.

Downcity Loan and Grant Program

The Downcity Fund was established in 2001 through a program related investment from the Rhode Island Foundation to the Downcity Partnership, Inc. The Providence Revolving Fund assumed responsibility for the program in 2004, when the Downcity Partnership closed its office and agreed to transfer $7.2 million in assets to the Revolving Fund.  It is intended to stimulate development in the historic commercial district in Downtown Providence by providing gap financing for development projects; storefront improvement loans for façade improvements; and storefront incentive grants for signs, awnings, and storefronts. 

The Downcity Fund has made over $7.5 million in loans and committed $94,000 in matching grants.  These loans and grants have leveraged $101 million in development in historic buildings; creating over 110 units of new housing and assisting 18 property owners with façade renovations, new signs and awnings. 

Downcity Marker Program

The Providence Revolving Fund is using a portion of the interest generated from its Downcity Fund to reinstitute the Providence Preservation Society's Downcity Marker Program.  With $1,000 of seed money from Preserve Rhode Island, the Revolving Fund has identified 60 historically significant commercial buildings to receive bronze markers with their original name, construction date and architect, if known.  The markers will be awarded over a three year period with 18 markers being awarded in 2008.  The marker program is an excellent tool for educating citizens and visitors about the rich, architectural and commercial heritage of Providence.  The program encourages building owners to rehabilitate and maintain their historic structures by making them aware of the important contributions their building has made to Providence's cultural development. 


The Providence Revolving Fund consults on a variety of historic preservation projects in Providence, working with non-profit and for-profit developers on affordable housing and commercial development on threatened historic properties.  The Revolving Fund has significant experience in design review and historic tax credits and has successfully prepared over 140 historic tax credit certifications, worth millions of dollars.  The Revolving Fund also provides historic structure reports, feasibility studies, National Register nominations, and historic paint color analysis and selection.

The Providence Revolving Fund has participated as historic preservation and development consultant to West Broadway Neighborhood Association, SWAP, the Elmwood Foundation, Women's Development Corporation, Omni Development Corp., AIDS Care Ocean State, Smith Hill Community Development Corporation, Foundry Associates, Streuver Brothers, Armory Revival Company, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, Cornish Associates, Urban Smart Growth, Belvoir Properties, Brown University and Youth in Action.

Architectural Salvage

The Providence Revolving Fund maintains a select collection of architectural salvage, which is available to property owners who are renovating houses in Providence. The salvage has been collected from houses which have been demolished and from discarded historic items from house renovations. We accept donations of architectural materials, but reserve the right to be selective.

Preservation Resource Center

The Providence Revolving Fund is currently in the process of raising capital funds to renovate the first floor of our building at 372 West Fountain Street to create a new Preservation Resource Center. The Center will enable the Revolving Fund to expand its existing services; develop new preservation initiatives and be more physically accessible to its client base on Providence's South and West Sides and in downtown. The Center will offer rehabilitation services; loans and grants; project management; assistance with lead paint abatement; building code violations; state and federal tax credits and the historic district application process.