HCWHA Mini-Grants

About the Program

Mini-grants assist heritage sites, non-profit organizations and government units within the heritage area to develop new and innovative programs, exhibits, tours, events and other initiatives, and to enhance existing heritage tourism products. These non-capital matching grant awards range from $500 to $2,500.

Non-profits and local governments proposing projects to occur within the borders of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (portions of Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties) are eligible to apply. Grant applications must explicitly further the goals and priorities stated in the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area Management Plan and the Five-Year Action Plan. Download the mini-grant guidelines here.

Current Grant Round

Next Deadline: October 20, 2017

Access the FY18 Mini-Grant Application Form here.

Before you begin the form, please review the Heritage Area Management Plan and complete this required narrative. Save the completed narrative on your computer/server and then upload it with your application. Grant notifications will be sent before the end of the calendar year.

Grant workshop flyer

HCWHA will host two grant preparation workshops in September. Monday, September 11 at the Thurmont Regional Library and Wednesday, September 13 at the Boonsboro Free Library. Session schedules will be available shortly. Participants are invited to attend all or some of the sessions. Registration is encouraged; RSVP to emily@heartofthecivilwar.org.

Further Resources for Grant Seekers: 

 Previous Grant Rounds

FY17 awardees

FY16 awardees

FY15 awardees

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of projects are eligible for mini-grant funding?
Mini-grants cannot fund capital (bricks and mortar) projects or administrative expenses, but can go towards a wide variety of projects that enhance the visitor experience in the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. These include developing and implementing heritage tours, maps and interpretive brochures, public programs and activities, exhibits, events, websites and apps, marketing, and educational seminars and conferences that encourage or enhance preservation, revitalization, and interpretation of the area’s heritage resources.

Does my project have to relate to the Civil War?
Although projects related to the Civil War history in this area are always encouraged, organizations may apply to receive funding for projects that enhance the visitor experience to the designated heritage area in other ways. Applicants may also consider making a connection to the Civil War even if that is not the primary purpose of the organization or project. The most important factor is making a persuasive connection to the Management Plan, including citing specific chapters.

What should I include in my budget?
Include as much detail as possible in your budget. Rather than just indicating a line item like “brochure,” break out the various costs that go into developing a brochure: research, design, editing, printing, distribution, etc. Indicate how you determined the costs for this project, such as asking vendors for an estimate or using figures from another recent project.

What do I need to know about the cash match?
Matching funds means financial support derived independently by the grantee to supplement the grant. The grant award must be matched $1: $1 with at least 75% cash and no more than 25% in-kind matching funds. “In-kind” refers to donations of services or goods that the grantee would have to pay for otherwise. State funds cannot be used for the match. Staff salaries eligible as match only, for that portion of a staff person’s time dedicated solely to an MHAA grant-funded project (not to exceed 35% of total required project match). Contingent sources (such as another grant that is pending based on the HCWHA decision) are acceptable.

Is signage eligible for mini-grant funding?
Although wayfinding signs fall under the designation of capital projects, which are not eligible, interpretive signs—which explain the history and significance of a site—are suitable for mini-grant funding. All interpretive signage must adhere to NPS or Civil War Trails standards for design.

Can my project run longer than one year?
If there is a certain reason that your project will extend beyond the standard one-year (January 2016-January 2017) grant period, such as a historical anniversary, be sure to include that in the narrative. If circumstances cause changes to the approved timeline, contact us to discuss an extension.

What about projects that live beyond the grant period?
If you are planning a project that is designed to live beyond the close of the grant period, such as a website that will stay online indefinitely, be sure to indicate how the project will be maintained. Sustainability is a priority, so applicants should create a detailed plan for keeping the product up-to-date and in good condition with the appropriate level of funding and staff/volunteer time.

What if my project isn’t fully funded?
Bear in mind that the mini-grants are competitive and only a limited amount of funds ($10,000 annually) are available. The application requires you to state how you plan to continue your planned project if your application is partially funded.

If my application is funded, what are the next steps?
You will receive a grant agreement, including terms/requirements, and a letter which you should sign and return. Be sure to include the HCWHA/MHAA logos on all publicity materials related to the project. Once your project is complete, submit a final report and copies of any product resulting from the grant. A reimbursement check will be issued within 30 days.

What if I have more questions?
Contact us by email at info at heartofthecivilwar dot org.