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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. 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 http://explorebaltimore.org/about-us/management-planning/. 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. Copies of the Standards can be found online at  http://www.nps.gov/tps/standards.htm.

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:

 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.)


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. Please note next year FY19, organizations with open and active Small Cap Grants will not be eligible to apply for FY19 Small Cap grants. All active Small Cap grants must be closed by the application deadline, in order to be considered for a Small Cap Grant Award for next year. This does NOT apply for this year, FY18.


Grant proposals will be reviewed 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?


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 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:

 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.


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 cash 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.


• October 13, 2017 - Applications available for online submission through www.explorebaltimore.org.

• November 8, 2017 (3pm-5pm at Baltimore National Heritage Area office)  – Required Application Workshop for NEW organizations (organizations not funded before through this grant program) and optional for any other interested organizations. Please RSVP to Danielle Walter-Davis at dwalterdavis@baltimoreheritagearea.org 

• December 13, 2017– Application Submission Deadline at 11:59 pm EST

• December 2017 –January 2018 – Panel Review Period 

• January 12, 2018 – Grant Awards announced

• Jan 15, 2018 – Jan 15, 2020  - Grant Period; All grant funded activities must occur during the grant period.


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. 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 PDF Guidelines & Application Instructions on the website.


Applicants must submit completed online application with uploaded support documents by 11:59 pm December 13, 2017.

Please direct questions to:   

Baltimore Heritage Area Association, Inc.

Attn: Danielle Walter-Davis, Grants Administrator

12 W. Madison St., Ste. 120

Baltimore, MD 21201

EMAIL: dwalterdavis@baltimoreheritagearea.org or call 410-878-6411 Ext 5 (Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays)

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