Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture Announces $1 Million In Funding for Preservation Projects

June 16, 2020

Grants for NonprofitsThe Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) announces $1 million in available funds for African American preservation projects. The goal of the African American Heritage Preservation Program (AAHPP) is to identify and preserve buildings, communities, and sites of historical and cultural importance to the African American experience in Maryland.

This year, the competitive annual program is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Since its inception, it has distributed nearly $10 million to 115 preservation projects. AAHPP is supported through an annual appropriation from the Maryland General Assembly and is administered as a joint partnership of the MCAAHC and the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT).

Grant awards range from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $100,000. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations and local jurisdictions. Business entities and individuals may also apply for program grants when seeking funds for a preservation or development project that serves a high public purpose. Eligible projects include acquisition, construction, capital improvement, and certain predevelopment costs for African American heritage properties. Program guidelines and grant applications may be obtained from the Maryland Historical Trust. Please see more information below.


The African American Heritage Preservation Program (AAHPP) was established by the General Assembly in 2010 to provide capital grants to assist in the preservation of buildings, sites, or communities of historical and cultural importance to the African American experience in Maryland.  The AAHPP is administered as a partnership between the Maryland Historical Trust and the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC).

Application Process

Applications are now being accepted for capital (construction-related) projects related to African American heritage in Maryland under the African American Heritage Preservation Program. The deadline is 11:59 pm on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The application must be submitted through our online grant application portal.

Click here to go to the main Grants page to start a new application or access your account.

Due to COVID-19, MCAAHC and MHT hosted webinars, the beginning of May, for the FY2021 AAHPP grant round. Please click here for a link to the webinar slides.

Eligible Applicants

The following entity types are eligible for this program.  All applicants should be aware that the project must have a demonstrated public benefit in order to be competitive.

  • Nonprofits (state and federal government entities may apply as nonprofits)
  • Local governments
  • Business entities
  • Individuals

Grant Amounts & Matching Requirements

The program typically receives an annual appropriation of $1,000,000 for grants of up to $100,000 per project per year.  All applicants except for nonprofit organizations are required to provide a dollar-for-dollar match.

Eligible Projects

The following capital project types are eligible for assistance.  All projects must be related to African American history, culture, or heritage in Maryland.  Projects must also have a strong public benefit in order to be competitive.

  • Acquisition
  • Rehabilitation / capital improvements
  • New construction
  • Predevelopment costs such as studies, surveys, plans and specifications, and architectural, engineering, or other special services directly related to pre-construction work for a capital project

Work, or a discrete phase of work, that is already underway or completed is not eligible for grant funding.

A complete list of eligible and ineligible costs is available in the Guidelines.

Projects involving historic properties are subject to MHT review and must comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties (36 CFR 68) .

Eligible Properties

  • Structures used for religious purposes are generally eligible for assistance for exterior work only and are reviewed for eligibility on a case by case basis.  Spaces used primarily for religious purposes or elements bearing religious imagery are not eligible for funding.
  • Cemeteries may be eligible for assistance; the applicant must make a compelling case for the significance of the cemetery.
  • The permission of the property owner to undertake the project must be secured in writing and provided as part of the grant application.
  • If the assisted property is listed in or individually eligible for listing on the National Register, a perpetual preservation easement on the assisted property must be conveyed to MHT (for more information, visit the Easements page).

Other Requirements

Additional information regarding grantees’ responsibilities, including competitive procurement of services, MHT approval of proposed work, reporting, etc. is provided in the program Guidelines and Manual of Program Requirements.

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