Downing Trust


Lewis Downing was one of the original members of our church and was perhaps most well known as a manufacturer of the highly popular “Concord Coach”. He was a respected member of our community in the 19th century and the Concord Monitor stated upon his retirement in 1864: 

“Mr. Downing, Senior, retires from business, after active participation in it for nearly 52 years, and we think we express the general sentiment of the community when we say that during that time, his integrity having never been questioned, he is entitled to be called Concord’s best benefactor.” Today, 130 years after his death in 1873, Lewis Downing, through his generous legacy, is still a benefactor to our church as well as other UU churches in New Hampshire.

Available Grants

Each year, in accordance with his will, a committee of our church receives approximately $8,000 to $18,000 from the Lewis Downing Trust. Only $2000 of this money can go to our church to use as we see fit. The remainder of the money is awarded to


The Second Congregational Society Unitarian Universalist of Concord is very happy to administer the annual distribution from the Lewis Downing Trust. It is a wonderful example of a legacy gift by a congregation member that lives far beyond his time.

How to Apply

Please submit a packet that includes the following:

All proposals shall be made in writing and be signed by three members of the official board of the society. Proposals must include:


More information about the Downing Trust Grants for Churches: Lewis Downing Trust Procedures (PDF)

Submit your proposal no later than March 1 to

Downing Grant
Unitarian Universalist Church
274 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301

The grant will be awarded and applicants will be notified by April 30. The recipient must submit an activity report no later than March 1 next year.

For more information about the Downing Trust Grants for Churchs: Lewis Downing Trust Procedures (PDF)

Recent Lewis Downing Trust Awards

The annual distribution of the Trust has been administered by the Second Congregational Society Unitarian Universalist for many years and all the proceeds (except $2000 per year granted to the Concord Society) must be awarded to other UU Churches in NH. These grants are awarded in two broad categories:


Here is a summary of the grants made possible by the LewiQs Downing Trust to benefit the UU Churches of NH since 1999, totaling over $247,000.

UU Church of Franklin, repairs, renovations, handicapped ramp, $6700
UU Church of Portsmouth, support for new fire safety system, $6512

Nottingham UU Church, renovate front entry, $4241.59
UU Society of Laconia, advertising, $1000.00
UU Church of Nashua, White Wing School, certification, $5000.00
Rev. Carol Strecker, 2015 mnister at large, $3600

Peterborough UU Church, kitchen renovations, $6,775.00
UU Society of Laconia, advertising, $1,000.00
Keene UU Church, accessible door opener, $2,500.00
Rev Jeanne Nieuwajaar, 2014 minister at large, $1,499.16

Rev. Shayna Appel, minister at large and support for writing book $6252.02
UU Society of Laconia, advertising campaign $1000
UU Church of Manchester, music program support $2000

UU Society, Laconia, Public Relations Campaign, $1000
Kearsarge UU Fellowship, 50% of advertising, choir development and guest speakers, $2020
UU Church of Manchester, Membership Coordinator, $3472.49

UU Church of Manchester, Hire Membership Coordinator, $5400
UU Society of Laconia, Advertisiing, $1000
Starr King UU Fellowship (Plymouth), Part time pianist, $1000
UU Fellowship of the Eastern Slopes, PR Campaign, $2900
Jennifer Whitten, Minister at Large, $2500
UU Church of Manchester, Music Ministry, $1414.15

UU Society of Laconia, guest preachers $2000
Rev. Emily Burr, minister-at-large, 10 sermons $2000
Rev. Brendan Hadash, minister for North Country UU  $3200
Northern New England District, salary support for Rev. Mary Higgins, $800
UU Church of Manchester, music program support, $2331.84
Walpole UU Church, infrastructure in honor of 250th anniversary, $2000

UU Church Manchester for music ministry $5725
NNED Rev. Mary Higgins, minister-at-large  $4000
NNED  UU Action Network  $1000
North Country UU Society, general support for emerging congregation  $4287.26

Tess George, UU Action Network - $1000 for 10 worship services/sermons
NH/VT District - $3000 for salary support/preaching and other work
UU Congregation, St. Johnsbury VT - $5537.09 for outreach ministry to Northern NH
Rev. William Saunders, Trustee to UU District Board - $1000 travel expenses for 8 sermons in NH

Revs. Marcel and Ellie Duhamel $2000 for 4 services on Channing Christianity
NH/VT District $ 4000 salary support for Rev. Mary Higgins
South Church (Portsmouth) - $3000 for lecture series
Manchester UU Church - $3556  support for growth plan
Kearsarge UU Fellowship - $2000 for guest speakers

Barbara Coeyman $4327.43 for 16 sermons
NH/VT District - $4000 for 10 sermons or other services/salary support for Rev. Mary Higgins
Laconia UU Church - $4000 to replace floors
South Church (Portsmouth) - $1500 for 6 summer guest ministers















































































Eighteen Year Total




Some additional information on Lewis Downing and Concord Coaches

Concord CoachLewis Downing's Last Will and Testament (pdf file)
A good history of Lewis Downing.
General information on the coaches.
Description of coach building techniques. 
Great colored picture of a Concord coach, and recent (2000) auction of coaches.