BNHA Small Capital Grant Program (SCG)

Content about Small Capital Grant Program (SCG)

The Baltimore Heritage Area Association (dba The Baltimore National Heritage Area) administers a small capital grant program that makes small, yet strategic, investments in heritage tourism resources within Baltimore City. Funded through Baltimore City CIP funds or voter-approved bonds, more than $1.5 million in funds have been awarded to more than 130 projects since 2004.

Who May Apply

To be eligible for a Small Capital Grant, applicant organizations must meet each of the following criteria:

  • Be a non-profit organization in good standing with the State of Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation,
  • Have the legal capacity and authority to incur obligations involved under the grant program,
  • Be located in Baltimore City. Note: This is the only BNHA grant program available for organizations located in all of Baltimore City.

Who May NOT Apply

The following organizations are not eligible to apply to the Small Capital Grant Program: Units of government; organizations that are serving as fiscal agents or fiscal sponsors for an organization or program; individuals; organizations that are the primary responsibility of a government agency; organizations that are not in good standing with BNHA and/or not in compliance with previous BNHA grants. 

Eligible projects must also be identified in and/or consistent with the strategies and actions outlined in the Baltimore National Heritage Area Management Plan. The grants are made as one-time awards and not for ongoing projects or activities. Capital projects assisted include acquisition, development, preservation, and restoration. Project activity must conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and cannot fund any active worship spaces or religious iconography if applied as part of their capital project.

The following capital projects or activities may be assisted (map below in FAQ).

Acquisition

The acquisition of fee title or interest other than fee title of real property. Note: For acquisition projects, BHAA will fund up to 50% of the average of two appraisals of the subject property.

Development

New construction, or repair or alteration of an existing building, structure, or site which makes possible a contemporary use while preserving those features of the property which are significant to its historical, architectural, and cultural values.

Preservation

Activities directed to sustain the existing form, integrity, and material of a building, structure, or site.

Restoration

Activities directed to accurately recovering the form and details of a property and its setting as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of later work or by the replacement of missing earlier work.

Interpretive Signage Guidelines:
Small Capital Grant funds may be used for the creation of interpretive signage.

Interpretive signage in parks operated by Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks (BCRP) must adhere to city specifications and cost estimates as a requirement. Please see application guidelines for projects in city parks and the approval process. Please plan two weeks to receive approval from BCRP and a letter of support. This documentation must be uploaded to the grant application at time of submission.

For all other interpretive signage projects, please review BNHA's recommended guidelines for interpretive signage projects. The National Park Service has also created a comprehensive guide for creating wayside exhibits and interpretive signage. The guide is available for free from the NPS Harper's Ferry Center. Projects that follow these best practices will score higher on their application due to the required due diligence.

GETTING STARTED WITH THE APPLICATION PROCESS

  • BNHA uses an online system for the grant process, which you can access once the grant cycle begins. Create a user account to allow you to save a working version of your application before final submission. 
  • First-time applicants are encouraged to contact BNHA's Grants Portfolio Manager, Danielle Walter-Davis at  dwalterdavis@baltimoreheritagearea.org to discuss your proposed project. 
  • An overview of the grant application and guidelines is available. A link to this document is provided below.
  • Your grant application must include a specific budget form. A link to this form is provided both here and below.
  • The online system has strict word limits. Take a look at this primer on tips for writing with brevity and clarity.

FORMS FOR YOUR APPLICATION

Begin the Grant Application (Opens September 15, 2020)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

When does the grant round open? When are applications due?

Can I meet with heritage area staff to discuss my project?

How much grant funding can I request?

Is there a match requirement?

Does a project, such as the design and installation of a permanent exhibit, qualify as a capital project?

Can the grant be used for outdoor signage projects?

Baltimore City Map

Previous Awards

2020 Grant Awards ( $114,632 for 8 Projects)

2019 Grant Awards ($100,000 total for 9 projects)

2018 Grant Awards ($107,284 for 9 projects)

2017 Grant Awards ($125,000 for 10 projects)

2016 Grant Awards ($100,000 for 8 projects)

2015 Grant Awards ($109,250 for 9 projects)

2014 Grant Awards ($99,954 total for 8 projects)

2013 Grant Awards ($75,000 total for 10 projects)

2012 Grant Awards ($75,000 total for 8 projects)