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 2017
The FY17 Mini-Grant Round is now closed. Feel free to review these materials to help you prepare for the FY18 mini-grant cycle.
- FY17 Mini-Grant Application Narrative (document to be completed first)
- FY17 Mini-Grant Application (online form to be submitted)
- FY17 Mini-Grant Guidelines
- Sources of matching funds
- Grant workshop slides
- Is Your Organization Grant-Ready?
Previous Grant Rounds
- C&O Canal Trust: $928 for a brochure to encourage visits to the historic Canal Towns and C&O Canal NHP
- City of Hagerstown: $500 for a brochure on Hagerstown's role in World War I
- City of Westminster: $1,425 for a brochure highlighting Carroll County's railroad history
- Community Fund of Carroll County - Corbit's Charge Anniversary Committee: $1,267 for Corbit's Charge commemorations
- Francis Scott Key Memorial Foundation: $1,500 for interpretive wayside panel on Barbara Fritchie at Mount Olivet Cemetery
- Historical Society of Frederick County: $1,280 for Hands on History program cards for children
- The Tourism Council of Frederick County: $1,500 for Maryland's Heart of the Civil War DVDs and accompanying programs
- Washington County Historical Society: $1,100 for evaluating interpretation at Miller House Museum
- Weinberg Center for the Arts: $500 for rack card promoting 90th anniversary
- Emmitsburg Lions Club: Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day Art Contest – $1,000
- Main Street Middletown: Local Historic Marker Program and Subsequent Walking/Driving Tour: Revealing Middletown's History -- 250th Commemoration of our Town's Founding - $1,000
- National Museum of Civil War Medicine: Downtown Frederick Historic Hospital Sites of the Civil War Walking Tour - $2,500
- Rose Hill Cemetery of Hagerstown, Inc.: Hagerstown/Rose Hill Cemetery Walking Tour Map Update – $1,347
- Sykesville Main Street Association: Main Street Heritage Experience - $2,500
- Thurmont Main Street: Civil War Trail Marker - $1,300
- Battle of Falling Waters, 1863, Foundation, Inc.: Brochure for Battle of Falling Waters, 1863 – $2,000
- Emmitsburg Lions Club: 33rd annual Emmitsburg Community Heritage Days – $500
- Frederick Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution: Stamp Act repudiation wayside marker - $1,500
- Friends of Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks: Iron Master's House ruins interpretive signage and Catoctin Furnace arts festival - $1,000
- Maryland Park Service: Historic house a Washington Monument research and preservation – $2,500
- New Windsor Heritage Committee, Inc.: reprint of New Windsor walking tour brochure - $500
- Western Maryland Interpretive Association: Battlefield Tour Guide program rack card - $1,000
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 Auni Gelles, Heritage Area Assistant Director.