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.

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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.

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 and not for ongoing projects or activities that require a multi-year grant commitment.

The following capital projects or activities within the BNHA may be assisted. All capital project activity must conform to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Copies of the Standards can be found online at

  •  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.

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

  • Be a nonprofit organization in good standing with the State of Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation,
  • Be qualified to do business in Maryland,
  • Have the legal capacity and authority to incur obligations involved under the grant program,
  • Be located within the boundary of the heritage area (or the project/activity will happen within the boundary of the Heritage area.)

Who May NOT Apply - 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.

SELECTION CRITERIA - Grant proposals will be reviewed using the criteria outlined below.

Clarity - Are the project objectives clearly described?

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?

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

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

Leverage: Does the project significantly leverage private investment above the required match?

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

Heritage Tourism Value: Does the project significantly increase the Heritage Tourism economic activity within the heritage area?

GRANT AMOUNTS AND MATCHING REQUIREMENTS - Grants may not exceed $15,000. All Grants must be matched in cash in an amount at least equal to the grant.

Applicants MUST download and use the BNHA Application Budget Excel template for their proposal budget. Upload the completed budget template in the appropriate section of this 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:
  • Financial or Bank Statement from applicant organization
  • Letter of commitment from donor
  • 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.

GRANT TERMS AND CONDITIONS - 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. Written progress reports should be submitted twice per year through the grant term.
  • Grant Disbursements – Disbursement will be made as the project progresses, pro-rated with matching funds. Advance disbursements of grant funds may be made on a case-by-case basis. 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.
  • 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 BNHA 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.


  • Sep 7, 2016 - Applications available for online submission through
  • Sep 22, 2016 - Small Cap Grant Workshop, 9:00am - 10:30 am at Carroll Museums, 800 E. Lombard Street, Baltimore 21202
  • Nov 1, 2016 – Application Submission Deadline at 11:59 pm ET
  • Nov 2016 – Panel Review Period Begins
  • Dec 1, 2016 – Grant Awards announced
  • Jan 1, 2016 – Jan 1, 2018 Grant Period; All funded activities must occur during the grant period.

APPLICATION SUBMISSION - Small Cap Grant applications must be completed on-line 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.

APPLICATIONS DUE - Applicants must submit completed online application with uploaded support documents by 11:59 p.m. Nov 1, 2016.

Questions? Paula Hankins, Grants Administrator, Baltimore National Heritage Area, or 410.878.64110 ext. 5