The Baltimore National Heritage Area (BNHA) is a congressionally designated area encompassing 22 square miles within the city of Baltimore. The mission of BNHA is to promote, preserve, and enhance the heritage area’s cultural, historic, and natural resources for current and future generations. BNHA encourages activities that spur economic development through heritage tourism and make the heritage area more visitor-ready, visitor-friendly, and more livable for Baltimore residents.


Guidelines & Application Instructions


The Baltimore National Heritage Area’s Small Cap Grant is a source of funding designed to provide small, but strategic investments in cultural heritage tourism capital projects within the heritage area. The following is general information about the BNHA Small Cap Grant Program and instructions for completing the online application. 


Eligible activities must address or complete a priority activity identified in and consistent with the goals, objectives, strategies, and actions outlined in the 2013 Baltimore National Heritage Area Comprehensive Management Plan (available online at Generally, grants will be made as one-time awards, not for ongoing projects or activities that require a multi-year grant commitment. 

The following capital projects or activities within the heritage area may be assisted. All capital project activity must conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The standards are online at

Acquisition The acquisition of fee title or interest other than fee title of real property. 

Note: For acquisition projects, BNHA 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 that makes possible a contemporary use while preserving those features of the property that 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.


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

Ø Be a nonprofit organization in good standing with the State of Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation,

Ø Be qualified to do business in Maryland,

Ø Have the legal capacity and authority to incur obligations involved under the grant program,

Ø Be located within the boundary of the heritage area (or the project/activity will happen within the boundary of the Heritage area.)


The following types of organizations are not eligible to apply to the Small Cap Grant (this list is not meant to be exhaustive): 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.


Grant proposals will be reviewed and scored by a twenty-member Grant Review Panel using the criteria outlined below.

1. Clarity: Are the project objectives clearly described?

2. Consistency: Is the project specifically identified in the Management Plan? If not, how is the project consistent with the goals and objectives of the Plan?

3. Urgency: Why should the project receive priority for funding at this time? What is the down side to delaying this project?

4. Methodology: Are the project budget, scope of work, and personnel reasonable to accomplish project objectives? 

5. Leverage: Does the project significantly leverage private investment? 

6. Readiness: Is the project ready to proceed and can project objectives be accomplished in a realistic and timely manner? If the applicant currently has another BNHA grant, have the deadlines been met?

7. Heritage Tourism Value: How does the project support and/or increase heritage tourism activity within the heritage area?

8. Priority Areas: In FY19 and FY20 projects that promote the African American story in Baltimore will receive additional points.


Grants may not exceed $15,000. All grants must be matched in cash in an amount at least equal to the grant. If needed, 25% can be contributed as in-kind match.

Exception: All funding requests of $5,000 or less will not require a cash match. The match can be entirely with in-kind services (donated time, donated goods etc.)

Applicants MUST download and the BNHA Application Budget Excel template for their proposal budget. Upload the completed budget template in the appropriate section of the online submission.

Ineligible Match: Baltimore City funds, expenditures made prior to the award of the grant or after the completion of the grant period, expenditures that do not relate to the grant project

Documentation of Match: It is encouraged, but not necessary to have matching funds in-hand, or firmly committed at the time of application. Acceptable documentation of match may include:

Ø Financial or Bank Statement from applicant organization

Ø Letter of commitment from donor

Ø Award letter or grant agreement from matching entity

Other Project Costs (“Over Match”): If the total project budget is expected to cost more than the total grant request and required match combined, those additional costs should be listed on the application budget as Other Project Costs. Applicants are not required to provide documentation for Other Project Costs.


All grantees will be required to enter into a grant agreement with the BNHA, which generally contains the following standard terms and conditions:

· Grant Term – All grant funds must be expended within 24 months of the date of the award, unless the BNHA agrees in writing to an extension of the grant period. A written progress report is required at the end of year one (with financial documentation of expenditures to date) during the grant term and a final report at the end of the project. If the project is completed within one year, only a Final Report is required.

· Grant Disbursements – 50% of grant funds will be awarded at the signing of the grant agreement and the remaining 50% of the award will be released upon project completion and approval of the Final Report with attached financial receipts and documentation. Disbursements will be made upon request for payment submitted by the grantee in a form satisfactory to BNHA and fulfillment of the other requirements of the grant agreement.

· Match Requirement – It is hoped (but not required) that the 1:1 match to this award be secured by end of year one and cash match funds be used for project expenses in year two or beforehand if needed. Please note BNHA’s final grant award disbursement of 50% can only be released once the project is completed - as reimbursement for already paid expenditures. Final financial documentation (invoice AND proof of payment is required).

· Insurance Requirement – Capital grant recipients will be required to insure the assisted property against loss or damage by fire or other hazards, casualties, and contingencies as may be required by BNHA, in amounts satisfactory to BNHA. Similarly, General Liability Insurance will be required for all construction efforts as well. 

· Nondiscrimination – Each applicant shall comply with all applicable federal, state and city laws and policies and programs regarding drug, alcohol- and smoke-free work places, disabled access and equal opportunity for employment, housing, credit practices and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status or physical and/or mental disabilities in any aspect of the grant project.

· Project Sign or Acknowledgment – Grant recipients are required to erect and maintain a project sign at a prominent location on project sites to provide appropriate acknowledgment of BHAA and City of Baltimore assistance. 

· City-owned sites and landmarks – If the project is located at a city-owned site or landmark, a letter of support from the appropriate city agency is required.


  • September 7, 2018: Applications available for online submission through
  • September 26, 2018: (3pm-5pm, BNHA Office, 12 W. Madison, Ste. 120, Baltimore 21201) – Required Application Workshop for NEW organizations (organizations not funded before through this grant program). Please RSVP to Danielle Walter-Davis at 
  • October 1, 2018: Intent to Apply Form (ITA) due online through BNHA website.
  • October 25, 2018: Full Application Submission Deadline at 11:59 pm EST online through BNHA website.
  • November 19, 2018: Grant Awards announced
  • December 2019: Grant agreements prepared and signed. 
  • Jan 1, 2018 – Jan 1, 2020 grant project period;  All grant funded activities and expenses must occur within this timeframe.


Small Cap Grant applications must be completed online through the BNHA grant portal. To submit a request for funding, applicants must create an account with BNHA Grants. This account will allow applicants to save draft proposals before the submission deadline. Applicants MUST download and use the BNHA Application Budget Excel template for their proposal budget. Upload the completed budget template in the application budget section of the online application.

For more detailed application instructions, please reference the Guidelines & Application Instructions on the website.


Applicants must submit completed online application with uploaded support documents by 11:59 pm October 25, 2018.

Please direct questions to:   

Baltimore National Heritage Area (BNHA)

Attn: Danielle Walter-Davis, Grants Administrator

12 W. Madison St., Ste. 120

Baltimore, MD 21201


Office Hours: 410-878-6411 Ext 5 (Mondays and Wednesdays)

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Baltimore National Heritage Area