HCWHA Mini-Grants

About the Program

The Mini-Grant round is now closed and will reopen in the summer of 2024.


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 $5,000.

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 new Strategic Plan.

Download the mini-grant guidelines here.

View the FY24 recorded mini-grant webinar.

View the presentation powerpoint slides.

The recorded webinar covers both the mini-grant program and the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority's project grant program.

MHAA Project grants fund non-capital projects up to $50,000 and capital projects up to $100,000. All Heritage Area grant programs, including the mini-grants, require matching funds, which can be made up of cash and in-kind support. The webinar includes information about both grant programs, including important deadlines, how to apply, application requirements, and the parameters of both grant programs to help potential applicants determine which program best fits their own project. 

Resources from previous years for grant seekers:

 Previous Grant Rounds

FY24 Awardees

FY23 Awardees

FY22 Awardees

FY21 Awardees

FY20 Awardees

FY19 Awardees

FY18 Awardees

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 2019-January 2020) 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 ($25,000 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 emily@heartofthecivilwar.org