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MDNHA Grants Program

Grants to Northwest Mississippi Nonprofits, Agencies,
and IHEs for Culture and Heritage Projects in the Delta Region

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

03/26/18 4:00 PM Delivery or Postmarked by Date


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Grants of up to $24,500 to Northwest Mississippi nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribes, schools, and IHEs to support culture and heritage projects throughout the Mississippi Delta region. Applications are invited for projects, activities, and programs that preserve, interpret, promote, and enhance the region’s cultural and heritage uniqueness.

General Regulations and Information:

All work and activities supported by the MDNHA Grants Program must be consistent with the MDNHA Mission Statement as stated herein or as may be revised by the MDNHA Board of Directors.

MDNHA Goals and Strategic Objectives:

MDNHA will, by awarding funds through the MDNHA Grants Program, support programs, work and activities within the MDNHA region that support one or more of the following MDNHA Goals and Strategic Objectives:

Goal #1: Perpetuate culture by preserving, celebrating and sharing the traditions, places, and stories of the region, and create a Delta Experience for visitors and residents, including:

(a) Research and document the Delta’s stories, its history and living traditions connected to themes, identify practitioners of living traditions, collect oral histories and build a clearinghouse of information about the Delta’s heritage.

(b) Provide training and resources to preserve history and perpetuate culture and tell the story through workshops, forums and tours. Set standards by creating a tour guide certification program.

(c) Tell the Delta’s story through a variety of interpretive methods, including guided tours for visitors, school groups, youth organizations, development of guidebooks, brochures, signage and orientation exhibits and creation of a website and audio and video guides.

(d) Promote the Delta Experience and increase accessibility for travelers and tourists by facilitating partnerships with cultural and heritage attractions, advocating for signage, lodging and visitor centers and developing a hospitality ambassador training program.

Goal #2: Save historic and natural resources and create a sense of place by raising awareness, providing recognition, and directing resources to training, education and preservation, including:

(a) Document historic, heritage and archaeological resources by preparing surveys of such resources, identifying and assessing threatened resources, preparing National Register nominations and assisting in preparing Mississippi landmark nominations.

(b) Increase awareness and advocate for preservation by planning publicity campaigns, creating “10 Most Endangered in the Delta” campaign, documenting best practices, working with towns, counties and other partners and encouraging stewardship of natural resources.

(c) Provide training and information to support preservation efforts and provide financial support for restoration projects by acting as a clearinghouse for grant or sponsorship opportunities and creating a grants program to provide seed funding.

Goal #3: Build a network by providing engagement opportunities, including:

(a) Document the value of culture and heritage to provide a baseline to track growth; inform local, state and federal officials and agencies as well as the general public.

(b) Create an identity for the heritage area through signage, presentations, meetings and media.

(c) Honor and celebrate partners’ accomplishments by creating an awards program and hosting an annual awards event.

(d) Establish forums for discussion and planning. Host exchanges for the discussion of preservation, tourism and other topics, provide a forum to discuss race, economics and history and form committees to monitor and plan for preservation, conservation and telling the Delta’s story.

(e) Offer opportunities for engagement by creating a volunteer program for MDNHA sanctioned events and projects and offering internships and student project opportunities.

Goal #4: Contribute to sustainable economic development through activities that will strengthen local and regional economies, and support activities that will increase local tourism and the economic development that tourism supports, including:

(a) Support sustainable economic development based on heritage and culture, including the development of cultural and heritage-based businesses.

(b) Document the value of culture and heritage, and inform stakeholders, including elected officials and the general public, of the economic impact of heritage and heritage tourism

(c) Assist area stakeholders in identifying resources, grants and sponsorships that support the Delta’s culture and heritage

MDNHA Themes:

All funds awarded by MDNHA through the MDNHA Grants Program shall also support programs, work and activities that address one or more of MDNHA’s five broad themes that capture the essence of the Delta region, as follows:

(1) The Mississippi Delta and the Land It Embraces
-Formation of the Delta – the Mississippi River
-Early Inhabitants and Exploration – Native Americans Transformation
-Agriculture and Cotton
-Biological resources
-The Natural World – water and land

(2) The Culture of the Blues and the Birth of an American Sound Delta culture and contrasts
-Emergence of the Blues
-Blues influence on American culture and music (rock ‘n ‘roll, rhythm and blues, jazz)
-Blues today—continuity and worldwide recognition

(3) Moving Toward Freedom: Changing America’s Character in the Struggle for Rights Slavery
-Civil War
-Great Migration and Immigration
-Civil Rights
-Pivotal Events and People (Emmett Till, Civil Rights leaders, Freedom Summer, MS Freedom Democratic Party, Freedom Riders...
-The Delta today

(4) Growing More than Cotton: The Delta as a Wellspring of Creativity Literature

(5) The Delta Divide: Creating the Delta’s Diverse Communities Extremes and paradoxes
-The built environment
-National Register of Historic Places Sites not on the National Register

Goal and Purposes of the MDNHA Grants Program:

Goal. The MDNHA Grants Program makes matching grants for innovative programs, projects and activities that help MDNHA accomplish its mission, goals and strategic objectives as outlined in its Management Plan.

Purposes. The MDNHA Grants Program provides strategic investments in programs, projects and activities that help preserve, enhance, interpret and promote the uniqueness of the cultural and heritage experience within the Mississippi Delta.

Funding may be provided to heritage sites, events, programs and other projects of cultural, educational and recreational value that address one or more of MDNHA’s strategic goals and also address one or more of MDNHA’s five basic themes.

The MDNHA Grants Program will make seed grants to initiate new activities and projects that further MDNHA goals, with the purpose of expanding heritage development activities across the region. It will also provide support to existing programs addressing MDNHA’s strategic goals and themes, and encourage the expansion of such programs.

Eligible Activities:

It is the goal of MDNHA to support the broadest possible spectrum of programs and activities, involving the broadest possible number of local partners, through the MDNHA Grants Program, provided that such work is consistent with the mission of MDNHA, addresses one or more of MDNHA’s goals and strategic objectives, and addresses one or more of the five themes stressed by MDNHA, as described above and in the Management Plan.

Seed grants for new and innovative projects will be considered, as well as projects that enhance and support ongoing cultural and heritage activities in the region.

At this time, within those broad parameters, MDNHA has not established any specific funding priorities. See the MDNHA Management Plan for complete discussions of possible activities under each goal and strategy. Also see the list and descriptions of grants previously made by the MDNHA Grants Program, available from MDNHA or on MDNHA’s website, for examples of work that has been funded.

Activities may include, but are not limited to, the following: Perpetuate Culture and Tell the Story: The Delta Experience
-Development of information that will encourage, promote and enable tourism
-Support efforts to improve and expand visitor services
-Education of visitors and residents about the history of the region and its cultural assets
-Provide a forum to address issues of race, economics and history
-Develop and create new educational programs for youth-oriented organizations and
-Create opportunities for students in high school and college to learn about the Delta through research and interpretive projects
-Research and document cultural and living traditions, significant historical events and associated historical and cultural places
-Identify locations to tell stories; develop sites, museums or exhibits and provide technical assistance for interpretive development
-Develop new and engaging interpretation in a variety of formats such as guidebooks, audio tours, exhibits, events, children’s activities and thematic driving and walking tours
-Work with tourism agencies to promote the Delta experience A Sense of Place: Save the Delta’s Historic Resources
-Conservation of cultural and natural resources
-Restoration of historically and culturally significant sites
-Development of trails and other recreational resources that promote tourism and cultural or historical assets
-Increase awareness of the importance of preserving historic resources through publicity campaigns, documentation of best practices and awards programs
-Advocate for historic preservation by working with towns, counties, state agencies and organizations
-Encourage stewardship of natural resources by working with towns, counties, state agencies and organizations
-Document and publicize threatened resources
-Provide support for preservation through surveys, workshops and symposia

The Power of Partnerships: Build the Network:
-Serve as a clearinghouse for activities related to preserving historic, cultural and natural resources and provide connections for support
-Provide recognition for excellence in preserving, interpreting and promoting the Delta’s culture and heritage
-Regularly convene partners to address issues of preservation, tourism and other topics. Form committees to address issues as needed
-Work with tourism partners to expand involvement of all counties and attractions in tourism promotion
-Create a clearinghouse for resources that help develop and tell the Delta’s story such as archival and artifact collections, artisan directories, contacts for historians and researchers, and technical assistance for interpretive planning

Sustainable Economic Development:
-Providing training to front-line employees engaged in promotion of tourism
-Provision of information to tourists and promotional activities that will attract visitors and generate economic impact
-Programs and activities that create or preserve jobs in tourism and heritage development
-Document and publicize the economic value of investment in heritage preservation and in heritage tourism
-Support for the development or expansion of heritage-based economic development projects

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 179379

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants support is available up to a maximum of $24,500.

Term of Contract:

It is expected that grant awards will be applied to projects that begin on or after July 1, 2018, and end on or before June 30, 2019.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Basic Eligibility
1. Your organization must be located in or directly serve at least part of at least one of the 18 counties within the MDNHA service area.
2. All funded project activities must take place within or directly serve at least part of at least one of the 18 counties within the MDNHA service area.
3. Your organization must be a unit of local government (including schools and quasi-governmental entities), a public or private institution of higher learning, an institute or research center at such institutions, a nonprofit organization, or a with federally-recognized Indian tribe.
4. If you are a nonprofit, you must have current tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, and be that in compliance with the MS Secretary of State’s registration and reporting requirements.

Geographic Area:

Applicants for funding from the MDNHA Grants Program must be located in or directly serve all or part of one or more of the following Mississippi counties: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington, Yazoo. All programs, projects or activities for which funding is sought must also take place within or directly serve this geographical area.

Ineligible Activities:
-No funds from the MDNHA Grants Program may be used to acquire any interest in real property.
-No funds from the MDNHA Grants Program may be used for food, beverages, meals or entertainment costs associated with any grant-supported activities.
-No funds from the MDNHA Grants Program may be used to support annual campaigns, capital campaigns, endowment funds or scholarship funds.
-The MDNHA Grants Program will not provide general operating support (overhead, administrative expenses) to any applicant; all funds must be committed to specific purposes, projects and activities that address MDNHA goals, strategic objectives and themes.
-The MDNHA Grants Program will not provide general operating support for existing annual or other regular community festivals or events; it may consider activities that expand the promotion and impact of such events.

Pre-proposal Conference:

MDNHA will conduct three (3) Pre-Application Workshops for prospective applicants, during which program regulations and application requirements will be presented.

These workshops will also include information on other resources available to applicants for programs and activities such as those contemplated by this Program, and general information on proposal writing techniques.

Workshops will be held from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM on the following dates:
-Tuesday, January 30, 2018: Capps Center, Indianola, MS
-Thursday, February 1, 2018: Haraway Center, Northwest Community College, Senatobia, MS
-Thursday, February 6, 2018: Southern Heritage Cultural Foundation, Vicksburg, MS

Pre-Application Information:

All grants require a minimum 1:1 match of cash or in-kind services and products, and the availability and source of such matching funds must be documented in the application.

To be considered in the FY2018 funding cycle, applications must be postmarked or submitted electronically on or before Monday, March 26, 2018, or, if hand-delivered, received at the MDNHA offices by 4:00 PM on Monday, March 26, 2018.

Key Dates for FY2018 Program:
-Monday, February 12, 2018: Initial Date Applications are Accepted
-February 12 – March 23, 2018: MDNHA Staff and Consultant available to answer questions from applicants
-Monday, March 26, 2018: Deadline for delivery or transmittal of applications for funding
-April 2018: Application Evaluators review proposals
-Monday, May 7, 2018: Evaluation Team meets to rank proposals
-Tuesday, May 15, 2018: MDNHA Grants Committee meeting to agree on recommendations for funding
-Tuesday, May 22, 2018: MDNHA Board of Directors makes final decisions on proposals to be funded
-June 2018: Grantee Implementation Workshop
-July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019: Implementation of Funded Projects

Proposal Writing Resources:

Proposal Writing Webinar Recording:

Proposal Writing Short Course:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Mike Ward, MDNHA Grants Consultant

Sheila Winters, Program Associate for Projects

Delta Center for Culture and Learning
DSU Box 3152
130 Ewing Hall
1003 West Sunflower Road
Cleveland, MS 38733

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Mississippi: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington, and Yazoo Counties