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.

Please choose the application or report form from the menu below which best serves your purpose today. Report forms are for current grantees only. 

IT'S A SNAP! 2023

SEEKING ASPIRING PHOTOJOURNALIST AND SHUTTERBUG! No matter your level of expertise. Bring it on.

*** Minors (16 and up) are encouraged to participate with parental consent. ***

This year we are looking for what makes Charm City - the PEOPLE. Here’s your chance to share your special photographs that reveal the best of Baltimore. No professional models, please. 

Winning photographers receive prizes, and the best images will be showcased on BNHA’s social media channels and a special Baltimore National Heritage Area promotional product in 2024. The Grand Prize Winner will receive a $500 gift card.

Photographs must be taken within the Baltimore National Heritage Area (map). All hi-res entries must be submitted electronically by December 31, 2023. Photos can be in color or black and white.

Why is the contest period so long? We want to give you a chance to capture city life in every season, from Spring to early Winter.  

Please read the complete Rules and Requirements below before submitting your photo. All entries must be submitted electronically by December 31, 2023.

For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a model release form the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian and provide it to BNHA upon request. A model release is available on the heritage area’s website. (Click here for the form.)

What are we looking for? It’s Charm City because the people are charming, no matter where you go in Baltimore. Submit your best pic of people - festivals, recreational events, in park. Just having fun!


The Grand Prize Winner will receive a $500 gift card. First place - $400 gift card. Second Place - $300 gift card. Honorable Mention - $50 gift card. Photographers can only win one prize per contest. So submit your best.


Photo Contest Rules and Requirements

Term: The Baltimore Heritage Area Association, Inc.’s photo contest It's a Snap! Baltimore begins April 1, 2023 and ends December 31, 2023 at 11:59 pm. By submitting an entry, each contestant agrees to the rules of the contest and states that they are 16 years of age or older.

Who may enter: The contest is open to any amateur or professional photographer 16 years of age or older except employees, board members, and advisory committee members of the Baltimore Heritage Area Association, Inc. and members of their immediate families and employees and family members of any photo contest sponsors.

Entrants under 18 years of age must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian to participate in the contest. If BNHA does not receive a valid signed parental or legal guardian consent form for any winner under the age of 18 within 14 days of the entrant being declared a winner (excluding the day on which such declaration is made by BNHA) BNHA will be entitled to select an alternative winner from among the entrants.

What to enter: All photographs must be taken within the boundary of the Baltimore National Heritage Area. 

 To be eligible for the photo contest, the entrant must own the photo or rights to the photo. Submission to the photo contest certifies that they are the sole creator and copyright owner of the submitted image. 

Photographs must have been shot by the entrant since January 1, 2018.

Photo format: BNHA recommends that images be landscape (horizontal) in layout to facilitate possible inclusion in the design of a printed promotional product planned to highlight contest-winning photographs.

Cropped photos are eligible in all categories. We do not accept digitally or otherwise enhanced or altered photos. Minor adjustments, including spotting, dodging and burning, sharpening, contrast and slight color adjustment or the digital equivalents, are acceptable for all categories. If the judges determine that a photographer has altered his or her photo, they reserve the right to disqualify it.

Photographs should be taken at the highest resolution possible and no less than 300 dpi. Photographs must be in JPEG, JPG, or GIF format. High-resolution scans of non-digital photographs are acceptable.

Rights, releases, and permissions: For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a model release form for the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian and provide it to BNHA upon request. A model release is available on the photo submission website.

Entrants whose photos depict other people’s work (such as sculptures, statues, paintings, and other copyright-able works) may be needed to obtain a release from the rights holder and provide it to BNHA upon request.  When photographing the work of others, it must be as an object in its environment and not a full-frame close-up of another person's creation. If BNHA determines a rights release is needed, the entrant will be notified.

Photographs that have won any other contests are not eligible. We define winning as having won a grand prize or first, second or third place overall. Photos that violate or infringe upon another person's rights, including but not limited to copyright, are not eligible. Photos that contain sexually explicit, nude, obscene, violent or other objectionable or inappropriate content, as determined by BNHA in its sole discretion, are ineligible for all categories of this contest.

The photographer retains his/hers rights to submitted photograph; however, by entering the contest, you grant the Baltimore Heritage Area Association, Inc. (and those authorized by BNHA) a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to publicly display, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or later developed, for any BNHA purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and promotion of the BNHA through its website, exhibitions, and commercial products. Any photograph reproduced will include a photographer credit as feasible. BNHA will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.

Judging: Photo entries will be judged based on creativity, quality, originality, responsiveness to the categories, and overall impact.

Judging will be conducted by BNHA staff and the public. Winning photographs will be announced in February 2024 and will be published on a printed promotional product produced by BNHA in 2024. BNHA may also select honorable mentions for recognition and inclusion on the promotional product.

BNHA will notify the winner via the contact information provided at the time of entry; BNHA may disqualify anyone who fails to respond to the notification within five business days.

Please do not contact us about the status of entries or judging.

Prizes: The Grand Prize Winner will receive a $500 gift card. First place - $400 gift card. Second Place - $300 gift card. (10) Honorable Mention - $50 gift card. Photographers can only win one prize per contest.




Congratulations on the completion of your project, funded in part by Baltimore National Heritage Area's grant award! Thank you for submitting your final report below. Forms to complete this report (for upload) can be found on our website's grants page at Upon review and approval of this final report, the Baltimore National Heritage Area will issue your final payment. It is important to sign, scan, and then upload your final disbursement request form with this report as this form activates your final payment. Once approved by BNHA, it takes approximately 30 days to receive a payment from the City of Baltimore directly (by mailed check, or a shorter timeframe if your organization is already enrolled in the Electronic Funds Transfer program with the City) OR approximately 10 business days if this is a Heritage Investment Grant award or Neighborhood Placemaking Grant award. Please ensure your mailing address and EIN are correct on this form.

If you have any questions or need additional help, please email the BNHA Grants Portfolio Manager at

BNHA will contact you if there is any missing documentation, or if any additional information is needed.

We are looking forward to reading your final report and project outcomes. Thank you for your partnership! 


(dba Baltimore National Heritage Area)


(These guidelines also available on our website as a separate document that is printable)

Application Opens: April 1, 2023

Application Deadline: June 1, 2023 (by 11:59pm)

Award amount: Up to $20,000 with a required dollar for dollar match by the applicant 

Project period: September 1, 2023 - September 2025 (or completion of the project)

Federal funding: Please note all grants awards are always contingent on available federal funding for National Heritage Areas.


The Baltimore National Heritage Area’s Heritage Investment Grant Program is a source of federal funding designed to provide strategic investments in cultural heritage tourism within the national heritage area boundary. The Heritage Investment Grant may be used to fund non-capital projects, general operating support, marketing projects and capacity-building support. 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’s Comprehensive Management Plan (available online at

 BNHA accepts the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s definition of heritage tourism: “Traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past. Heritage tourism can include cultural, historic and natural resources.” Proposed projects must advance cultural heritage tourism and align with BNHA’s mission: To promote, preserve, and enhance Baltimore’s historic and cultural legacy and natural resources for current and future generations

 Generally, grants will be made as one-time awards and not for ongoing projects or activities that require a multi-year grant commitment. Mandated by the U.S. Congress, the proposed project must be within the national heritage area’s geographic boundary and this map can be found online at

 For the exception of capacity-building, operating support requests, and marketing grant applications, ALL proposed projects must have a public-facing, outreach component during the project period or a plan to execute once the project is completed (in-person or virtual). The outreach plan/visitor engagement plan must have the goal of attracting visitors to the project, site, collection, or demonstrate value in advancing heritage tourism within Baltimore’s national heritage area’s boundary. 

 Eligible Project Categories: 

· Capacity-building support (request up to $20,000 with required dollar for dollar match) 

The primary purpose of this category is for a one-time investment that will build the capacity of an organization and its staff members. For example, hiring consultants to train staff on certain subject areas for a limited period of time (marketing and communications, grant writing, curatorial guidance, visitor engagement planning, historic preservation, interpretation etc.) with the goal of in-house staff learning new capabilities to support the organization.

Please note: Capacity-building assistance does not include oversight related to administrative costs and subgrants are not eligible. 

· Critical operating support (request up to $20,000 with required dollar for dollar match)

The primary purpose of this category is for a one-time investment to address immediate and urgent operating needs to keep an organization open to the public. If your organization received an operating grant in the last two years, you are ineligible to apply this year. The organization must demonstrate in its application a plan for financial sustainability after this award is closed.

· Historic preservation (request up to $20,000 with required dollar for dollar match).

The primary purpose of this category is to support non-capital projects that advance historic preservation. For example, this could include:  Research, field investigation, data recovery, feasibility and planning studies, architectural design documents, and other planning activities that support a project within the national heritage area’s boundary.

· Collections care and conservation (request up to $20,000 with required dollar for dollar match) 

 The primary purpose of this category is to document cultural traditions or conserve artifacts and documents that will advance heritage tourism. For example, this could include: Collections care, collections documentation, artifacts and objects, archival records, oral histories, video histories and/or conservation of artworks with significant historical value to Baltimore and that are located within Baltimore’s national heritage area’s boundary.

 Please note: Conservation projects for pieces of a collection would be considered non-capital and eligible under this grant program. Storage equipment, re-housing costs or supplies (such as humidifiers, shelves, storage items, acid free paper etc.) is eligible under non-capital expenditures, however all these particular costs must total less than $5,000 according to federal guidance. Projects requesting funds for proper storage facilities for said collections (physical space) are not eligible as physical space is considered a capital expense.

Types of collections that are eligible include:

a. Archival Collections (Personal and/or corporate papers, manuscripts and resource management records);

b. Cultural Collections (Archeology, Ethnology, History to include artworks with historical significance to Baltimore and that are located within Baltimore’s national heritage area’s boundary);

c. Natural History Collections (also called natural resource collections to include the following categories: Biology, Geology, and Paleontology).

· Heritage tourism events (request up to $20,000 with required dollar for dollar match)

 The primary purpose of this category is to support public events (in-person or virtual) that attract visitors to neighborhoods and/or virtual spaces that advance heritage tourism. For example, this could include: Seminars, conferences, performances, reenactments, commemorations, or festivals within the national heritage area boundary. 

· Land, water & environmental conservation projects (request up to $20,000 with required dollar for dollar match)

The primary purpose of this category is to support natural resource and archeological projects that advance heritage tourism within the national heritage area boundary. For example, this could include:Documentation of culturally significant components of the way of life in the area (could include pre-colonialization), including projects that identify, record, research, preserve and interpret archaeological resources, litter reduction projects or stream clean-ups, creation or restoration of existing wetlands, recharge ponds, floodplain, or riparian corridors.

· Recreational development projects and trail programming (request up to $20,000 with required dollar for dollar match)

The primary purpose of this category is to support recreational projects and trails’ programming that advance heritage tourism within the national heritage area boundary. For example, this could include: Projects that engage the public, especially youth and families, in recreation, stewardship, education, and interpretation along trails, public activities and events (especially those focused on connecting Baltimore City residents to the trail), and trail promotion and outreach.

· Educational programs and interpretation (request up to $20,000 with required dollar for dollar match)

The primary purpose of this category is to support interpretive projects thatadvance an inclusive understanding of Baltimore’s history to the public.  Examples: Interpretive exhibits, interpretive signage, pedestrian way-finding signage, interpretive brochures, educational programs and materials, and other interpretive activities that support the heritage area’s mission. 

· Marketing and community outreach grants (request up to $20,000 with required dollar for dollar match) 

The primary purpose of this category is to support marketing projects that increase visitation to heritage area sites generated by marketing products (in-person or virtual). If awarded, tracking visitor numbers will be required as a measurable outcome of the project.

Who may apply - To be eligible for this grant program, applicant organizations must meet each of the following criteria: 

· Be located within the boundary of the national heritage area (or the program/activity will occur within the boundary of the national heritage area). The map can be found online at

· Be a nonprofit organization (501c3) in good standing with the State of Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation or local units of government (City of Baltimore) are eligible to apply.

· Be qualified to do business in Maryland.

· Have the legal capacity and authority to incur obligations involved under the grant program.

· If you have an active Heritage Investment Grant project award, you can still apply in this grant cycle. However, if you received an operating grant award in the last two years, you cannot apply for an operating grant award for this cycle.

· NEW REQUIREMENT: The federal government is requiring a new Unique Identifier Number (UIN) to replace the DUNS number for all organizations receiving federal funds. This grant program is federally funded. Please include your Unique Identifier Number on your application (required field). If you need help to obtain a Unique Identifier Number, please visit the website for assistance. There is NO CHARGE for this number. Once on the site, please look to the right of the screen. It will state: Register Your Entity or Get a Unique Entity ID.  Please enter this portal, and it will walk you through the steps to obtain a UIN. (Please note if you do not receive federal funds directly, you do not need to register your organization in – you simply just need to get a Unique Identifier Number). 

Who May NOT Apply - The following types of organizations are not eligible to apply to the Heritage Investment Grant Program (this list is not meant to be exhaustive): Federal units of government; organizations that are serving as fiscal agents or fiscal sponsors for an organization or program; individuals; and/or organizations that have a history of grant award noncompliance with Baltimore National Heritage Area (BNHA) or currently are not in compliance with an active grant award. 

Funding Restrictions

BNHA’s non-capital project funds cannot be used to fund staff salaries or benefits, although staff salaries may be used in the applicant's cash-match portion. However, contractors and consultants CAN be used under the award.

BNHA funds cannot be used for religious ceremonies or events advancing or inhibiting a particular religious ideology; direct fundraising costs or advocacy of specific political causes or candidates; capital improvements (facilities); agent’s fees for programs contracted through commercial agencies; travel outside of the United States and cannot be used for food/catering or alcohol. Any catering costs can be used under the match-portion (applicant’s contribution).


Grant proposals will be reviewed using the criteria outlined below.

1. Clarity - Are the project/organization’s objectives and goals clearly described?

2. Consistency - Is the project specifically identified in the 2013 Comprehensive Management Plan? If not, how is the project consistent with the goals and objectives of the Plan and why should this funding request receive priority at this time? 

3. Urgency: What is the down side to delaying this project or operating support? Why are funds needed this year?

4. Project Design: Are the budget, design, timeline, and personnel reasonable to accomplish the project?

5. Readiness: Is the project or organization ready to proceed and can the objectives be accomplished in a realistic and timely manner? 

6. Heritage Tourism Value: 

(a) Does the project or organization’s activities significantly increase the heritage tourism activity/value within the heritage area? 

(b) Does the applicant have a public-facing outreach plan to attract visitors to their site, collection or program? 

(c) Does the project align with BNHA’s definition of heritage tourism? Attracting visitors “to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past. Heritage tourism can include cultural, historic and natural resources.”

7. Under-represented communities: Does this project highlight stories from under-represented communities and/or cultural heritage traditions previously not available to the larger general public?


Grants may not exceed $20,000. All grants must be matched in non-federal cash in an amount at least equal to the grant. If needed, 25% can be contributed as in-kind match. 

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

Grants must be matched with at least 75% cash. The remaining match can be in-kind services (maximum of 25%).

Ineligible Match:

  • Federal 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’s budget

Examples of Cash Match:

  • Cash expenditures
  • Support from a non-federal grant or loan fund (e.g. state or city grants or private foundations)
  • Staff salaries for work  specifically on the project is allowable for the match – not award column (must detail number of hours x hourly rate projected for the project)
  • For the exception of marketing grants, any marketing costs must be put in the match (not award request column)

Examples of In-Kind Match:

· Volunteer time for work on the project (BNHA accepts the Independent Sector’s volunteer rate for Maryland at $32.82/hour)

· Donated professional services (can be valued at their market professional rate, but only if working on the project in their professional capacity (i.e. architect donating architectural design services)

· Donated materials/supplies

Documentation of Match - It is encouraged, but not required, to have matching funds in-hand at the time of submission. However, it is best if the match is secured by December 2023 to ensure the project is completed on time. Acceptable documentation of match for the application may include:

  • Financial or bank statement from applicant organization stating funds are available for the proposed project
  • Letter of commitment from a donor, in-kind services, or staff time
  • Award letter or grant agreement from non-federal matching entity 

Disbursement of Grant Funds - If awarded, 50% of your award is disbursed at the signing of your grant agreement. The balance of your award however will only be disbursed after your project is completed (and final report submitted) as reimbursement. Please plan to use your required match and current cash flow to ensure your project is completed according to your project’s timeline. 

Other Project Costs (“Over the Match Amount”) - If the total project/operating 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. 

GRANT TERMS AND CONDITIONS - All grantees will be required to enter into a grant agreement with the Baltimore National Heritage Area (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  signed grant agreement, unless the BNHA agrees in writing to an extension of the grant period. 
  • Grant Disbursements:  The award funds will be given in two disbursements: 50% of award amount will be disbursed at signing of the grant agreement and the second disbursement will be made at the completion of the project - reimbursing the grantee, upon approval of a final report. All reporting forms are found on BNHA’s website through the online portal.  The match must be used and documented and all receipts and proof of payment must be submitted in order to be reimbursed. 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: General Liability Insurance will be required for all non-capital projects.
  • 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, 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 provide appropriate acknowledgment of BNHA’s financial assistance.


  • April 1, 2023 – Application available to public on BNHA’s website.
  • June 1, 2023 - Application submission deadline at 11:59 pm EST through online portal (no paper      applications accepted)
  • June 2023 - Panel review period.
  • Mid-July 2023 - Grant awards announced via email.
  • August 2023– grant agreements drafted and signed. 
  • September 1, 2023 – September 1, 2025 project period; All funded activities must occur within this project period.


Heritage Investment Grant applications must be completed online through the BNHA’s grant portal (scroll down to the orange button that reads: Begin Your Application). To submit a request for funding, applicants must create an account. This account will allow applicants to save draft proposals before the submission deadline. If you applied for a BNHA grant in the past (since 2016), you can still use your Submittable username and password, or create a new one. Please note if your project is located on land owned by either Baltimore City Department of Parks and Recreation or Maryland Department of Natural Resources, you must submit a required form and have approval by the submission date. A link to these forms is located in the application.


Applicants must submit a completed online application with uploaded supporting documents by 11:59 p.m. on June 1, 2023. Questions? Please contact Danielle Walter-Davis, Grants Portfolio Manager, Baltimore National Heritage Area,

Baltimore National Heritage Area