Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area Seeks Applicants for Statewide Heritage Grants

The Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area is now seeking matching grant applications for projects that enhance heritage tourism, museum programming, stewardship, and community heritage activities in Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties. Nonprofit groups and governmental agencies may compete for up to $100,000 in statewide grants administered by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA).

Applicants for the grants must be located in the state-certified portion of the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area, which currently includes most unincorporated areas of Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot Counties. It also includes the following towns: Betterton, Centreville, Chestertown, Denton, Easton, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Hillsboro, Millington,Oxford, Preston, Queen Anne, Queenstown, Ridgely, Rock Hall, and Sudlersville. Project applications are first reviewed by Eastern Shore Heritage, Inc. (ESHI). Funds would be available to successful applicants in late 2009; matching funds may be spent beginning in July.

Project requirements include grantees providing a match of at least 100 percent. A minimum of 75 percent of the match must be in cash; the remainder may be in donated services and products or volunteer labor. Non-capital grants of up to $50,000 are available for planning, design, interpretation, and programming. Capital grants of up to $100,000 are available for projects or activities within designated Heritage Area Target Investment Zones for acquisition of real property, development, rehabilitation, restoration, and pre-development project costs such as the preparation of specifications, architectural designs, or engineering. Target Investment Zones must already exist or be capable of applying for designation no later than February 20, 2009, to the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. The towns of Betterton, Centreville, Denton, Easton, Oxford, and Stevensville are designated Target Investment Zones.

A new requirement this year is that applicants file financial information with the Maryland Cultural Data Project. Information on the program is available at www.mdculturaldata.org. This statewide data collection effort for arts and culture is designed to provide an easier application process for potential grantees to many foundations and governmental grant programs through a standardized form for financial and organizational data. Applicants will only need to complete this form once each year. In addition to creating a streamlined application process for the hundreds of arts and culture organizations throughout Maryland, the project provides applicants with an enhanced ability to track their individual data and trends over time and compare how they operate relative to their peers and to the sector at large.

All applicants are strongly advised to discuss grant ideas with Elizabeth Watson, the heritage area’s executive director. She may be contacted for a consultation appointment at 410-778-1460 or ewatson@storiesofthechesapeake.org. The application’s cover sheet must be postmarked or emailed by Friday, January 23, 2009. Applicants are required to attend an ESHI grant workshop on January 30, 2009 if they have not already attended an ESHI workshop in the past year. The guest lecturer for the workshop this year is Amanda Murphy, staff to the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

Single copies of completed applications and the MHAA’s required checklist submitted by the interim deadline of February 13, 2009 will qualify applicants to receive technical assistance in refining and completing their applications. Final applications plus 10 copies are due on the final deadline of March 10, 2009. For more information about the statewide grant competition, please visit the Maryland Historical Trust’s web site at www.marylandhistoricaltrust.net.

The Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area represents the collaborative efforts of nearly 60 nonprofit and governmental institutions and more than 600 local businesses involved in heritage tourism in four counties and 21 towns. Since the heritage area was certified by the State of Maryland in 2005, 25 nonprofit and governmental bodies have received funding from either Eastern Shore Heritage, Inc., or the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

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