Heritage Area opportunities include mini-grants, MHAA funding

CAMBRIDGE — It’s time to begin planning heritage projects in Dorchester County. Two approaching grant opportunities – for local heritage mini-grants and for Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) grants – benefit nonprofit organizations and municipalities in the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area (HCCHA). Additionally, for those interested in more information about applying for MHAA funding, grants workshops and “virtual office hours” are scheduled throughout December and January.

HCCHA is accepting applications for its second round of mini-grants for FY2021 to help fund projects that enrich heritage resources or events in the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area. These small, matching grants are available to local municipalities and nonprofit organizations within the HCCHA. The application deadline is Jan. 12, 2021.

The Heritage Area mini-grants support the efforts of local museums, non-profit organizations and municipalities that advance the mission and goals of the Heritage Area, said Julie Gilberto-Brady, HCCHA manager. Projects must be heritage-tourism related, and only non-capital projects are eligible for funding. Mini-grants are available for up to $5,000 and require a one-to-one match, which can be any combination of cash or in-kind.

“Past grants have helped fund and support historical research and documentation, brochures and marketing efforts, interpretation and education, preservation planning, events, feasibility studies, exhibits and way finding, and natural resource projects,” Gilberto-Brady said. “Eligible projects also can include professional development and conferences. All of the mini-grant projects we fund support the HCCHA goals to preserve Dorchester County’s heritage, to market our heritage to visitors and residents and to improve the economic health of the area.”

Mini-grant guidelines and a link to the online application form can be found on the Visit Dorchester website (visitdorchester.org/heritage-area-mini-grants/).

MHAA Grants
MHAA’s Intent to Apply deadline is Jan. 31, 2021, for FY2022 grants. Following the Intent-to-Apply deadline, final grant applications from nonprofits and governmental organizations in the HCCHA are due March 19, 2021. Several webinars and workshops with information about the application process have been scheduled throughout the next two months.
When the MHAA grant materials for FY2022 are available, they will be accessible through the MHAA website (mht.maryland.gov/heritageareas_partners.shtml). The Intent-to-Apply deadline is Jan. 29, 2021, and final grant applications from non-profits and governmental organizations in HCCHA are due March 19, 2021.

MHAA provides matching grants to nonprofit organizations and government entities up to $50,000 for non-capital projects and up to $100,000 for capital projects located within a Certified Heritage Area. Grants can support projects involving historical, cultural or natural resources, sites, events or facilities. Eligible projects must have a heritage tourism component or contribute to research that will directly inform a heritage tourism product. Five HCCHA projects and programs received $230,000 in matching grants from the MHAA for FY2021.

Grant Webinars & Information
MHAA is scheduling grant application webinars and workshops throughout the next two months. A recording of the “Early Bird” webinar is available any time (bit.ly/mhaa-early-bird). A live webinar will be held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 7 (youtu.be/3EdYZ-tkS9o).
In addition, MHAA staff will be holding virtual office hours when they will be available to answer questions and provide feedback. Join the video calls online (meet.google.com/cjs-xuoe-wpa) or call in via phone, 631-621-7642, PIN: 305 862 724. Call or log in any time during the following periods:

Jan. 13, (Special session for capital projects with easements and compliance staff), 2-3:30 p.m.
Jan. 16, 10-11:30 a.m.
Jan. 21 5-6:30 p.m.
Jan. 26, (Special session for capital projects with easements and compliance staff), 10-11:30 a.m.
Jan. 28, 3-4:30 p.m.

For more information about the grant opportunities and webinars, visit bit.ly/grants-info-2021 or contact Julie Gilberto-Brady at the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area, julie@visitdorchester.org or 410-228-1000.