Technical Assistance Grants for Preserving and Interpreting Black History In Pennsylvania

Technical Assistance Grants for Preserving and Interpreting Black History In Pennsylvania

The State Historic Preservation Office/Bureau for Historic Preservation at the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) is the recipient of a Preserve America Grant from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.  Preserve America is a federal initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the program include a greater shared knowledge about the nation’s past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage, and support for the economic vitality of communities.


Using a portion of this federal grant award, the PHMC is making technical assistance grants available to encourage the documentation, preservation, and interpretation of Pennsylvania’s African American history. Because the federal government is the source of these funds, special terms and conditions apply.  PHMC staff will assist applicants with the special requirements.


Total amount of funding available for these grants:   $36,400. The maximum grant award from PHMC to an organization is $3,000. Grants do not require a match.  Generally, $2,000 will be available to pay a consultant to provide direction and training to the applicant organization and $1,000 for implementation of the project.  The PHMC anticipates awarding approximately 12 grants.



Availability of Funds


Funding through this Preserve America Grant is limited to a single-award period as described below.



Who May Apply
Eligible applicants must be a non-profit 501c3 organization or a unit of local government.  While any eligible not for profit organization may apply for these grants, the primary audience is African-American community organizations.  Community-initiated projects will receive funding preference.  Organizations that do not have not for profit status may partner with an organization that is an IRS tax-exempt 501c3 organization.  The tax-exempt organization must be the applicant and fiscal agent.


The following are the types of organizations that are eligible to apply:


  • Religious Organizations
  • CLG's (Certified Local Governments)
  • Colleges and universities
  • Community groups and organizations
  • Heritage organizations
  • Historical societies
  • Libraries
  •  (public and private)
  • Museums
  • Schools and school districts
  • Units of local government
  • Other historical and educational organizations
  • Museums and historic sites that are owned by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and operated by independent nonprofit organizations
  • Multipurpose Organizations. Individual subunits (e.g. Department of History) within multipurpose government or tax- exempt organizations (e.g. University of Pittsburgh) may apply for grants if they function as a discrete unit within the parent organization. A subunit that is part of a larger organization will be deemed eligible if:
    • The unit has administrative autonomy for its operations;
    • The unit has a fully segregated and itemized operating budget within that of the parent organization; and
    • The unit is able to separately and distinctly fulfill all eligibility and application requirements as defined in these guidelines.
    • More than one qualified subunit within a multipurpose organization may apply for funding during the same grant cycle.


Who May Not Apply

Organizations and others that are not eligible to apply include:

  • Museums and historic sites operated by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission;
  • Associate groups at museums and historic sites operated by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission except as a partner in a collaborative grant with a nonaffiliated organization;
  • Museums and historic sites operated by state or federal government agencies except through an associate or management group;
  • State government;
  • Federal government; and
  • Individuals. (Institutions may apply for research projects on behalf of individuals.)


State Eligibility Requirements

To apply for Preserve America grants for Preserving and Interpreting African-American Heritage in Pennsylvania, an organization must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be located in Pennsylvania;
  • Must have tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service or be an entity of local government;
  • Must have been incorporated and in existence for at least two years prior to the submission of the grant application (except for those nonprofit organizations established specifically for the purpose of planning and implementing activities celebrating some aspect of Pennsylvania history, life or culture) or partner with an organization that meets this requirement; and
  • Must be registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State: Bureau of Charitable Organizations, as required, or partner with an organization that meets this requirement. Information may be obtained by writing Bureau of Charitable Organizations, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of State, P.O. Box 8723, Harrisburg, PA 17105 or by calling 1-800-732-0999 or see: Pennsylvania Department of State: Bureau of Charitable Organizations .


Federal Eligibility Requirements
In order to be eligible to receive a Preserve America-funded grant, the Department of the Interior requires that each applicant:


Special Requirements


  • Project must result in a product that increases understanding of African American history in Pennsylvania



General Conditions
There are a number of general conditions for these Preserve America Grants.

  • This is a reimbursement grant program.   
  • Grants will be administered on a competitive basis and are selected based on a peer review process.
  • Eligible activities must begin within forty-five days of the date that the fully executed Grant Agreement is sent to the grantee.
  • Consultant selection requires an open competitive process.
  • Grant awards will not exceed $3,000; $2,000 will be allowed for consultant’s fee and $1,000 for implementation. 


Ineligible Activities
Preserve America Grants may not be used to fund the following:

  • Repair, Rehabilitation, and Acquisitions of historic properties, sites, or collections.
  • Conservation of collections.
  • Long-term maintenance or curatorial work.
  • Reconstructing former historic properties.
  • Moving historic properties.
  • Construction of new buildings.
  • Cash reserves, endowments, or revolving funds. 
  • Fund-raising costs.
  • Work performed prior to announcement of award.
  • Miscellaneous costs such as contingencies, reserves, food, and overhead.
  • Lobbying



Categories of Support

Grant Assistance is available to support the following institutional capacity building and African American heritage preservation activities:


Archives, Local and Regional History, Historic Preservation, Museum Projects


Following are some examples of projects that are eligible for grant funding:


  • Training on how to use the Pennsylvania African American context to:
    • conduct a community survey,
    • complete a Historic Resource Survey form for African American resources, including archaeological resources. (An archaeology project would include background research to provide a predictive model about where the resource might be located for purposes of community planning.) 
    • historic resources survey training for staff and volunteers;
  • training for small museums and historical organization on how to expand their collections to reflect the African American experience in their communities;
  • training on how to incorporate African American resources in community revitalization plans;
  • training on how to develop  teachers’ guides for classroom, cyber-, and home-school use and on how to develop teacher in-service training on researching and interpreting African American history in PA;
  • training in archival care of important local records related to African American history;
  • training on how to develop researchers’ guides and toolkits for the general public to use when documenting local African American history (including how to conduct oral histories);
  • assistance with developing a project scope (concept development) in preparation for applying for a grant; and
  • training on project development for public programming such as driving and walking  tours, exhibits and lectures


Criteria for Evaluation

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the grant proposals.


Project Description/Scope of Work                                               25 pts total

Defines the project activity and projected work products


If artifacts, records, buildings and sites, or other historical

resources are involved, the project application describes

them and their importance to the project                                                                                                                         

Relates project to goals and previous/ongoing

work of organization


Relates project to African American context                                                                                



Public/Community Benefit, Support, Merit and Promotion           30 pts total      


Identifies intended audience for project and describes steps

to make them aware and supportive of the project                               


Describes how project benefits the community and includes at

least two letters of support                                                                                             


Demonstrates how it will increase understanding of African

American Heritage in Pennsylvania                                                                                                         


Work Plan/Timetable                                                                    12 pts total    


Provides chronology and explanation of steps required


Project can be accomplished at the rate and within

the schedule provided                                                                                        



Personnel/Consultants                                                                  12 pts total


Identifies project personnel by name and provides resumes which show

they are qualified to carry out and complete the project                                                                


If personnel are not yet identified, provides job descriptions

that will be used to solicit personnel


Outlines responsibilities of personnel/consultant                                                      



Project Budget                                                                              16 pts total                                                                                                                                          

Application describes how each budget line item is determined                                                                                                                                                                                         

Each expense shown on budget page is explained in project narrative

and vendor quotes are included for products and services, as appropriate       


Budget is detailed and allocates funds and any matching funds, if available,

into correct categories      


Budget is realistic and appropriate for the project                                  

Accuracy and Completeness                                                         5 pts total


Application is complete, accurate, and all requirements have been met                     



Grant Period and Implementation Timetable

Application Submission Deadline is
September 30, 2011.


The following timetable for processing grant applications and implementing projects is provided for your information and as a planning guide.


E-grant system opens                            August 1, 2011



Grant Application deadline                 September 30, 2011


Grant Evaluation Review Panel                early October 2011


PHMC Approvals                                    November 16, 2011


Award/Rejection Letters Mailed               Late November 2011


Grant Agreements Mailed                       Late November 2011


Signed Grant Agreement Returned

To PHMC                                              No later than December 31, 2011


Fully-executed Contracts Mailed            

To grantee                                             March 2012   


Interim Grant Report due                         August 2012



Project Completed                                 December 31, 2012


Final Grant Report Due to PHMC            January 31, 2013          



Maximum Number of Awards
Eligible applicants may submit only one application.