Grants

Additional Information

GRANTS PORTAL TROUBLESHOOTING

The Minnesota Historical Society is unable to make exceptions for late applications. Staff recommends beginning applications as early as possible in case of potential need for troubleshooting. If you experience difficulties that you cannot solve send an email to staff (grants@mnhs.org). Staff is generally available business days until 4:30pm.
 
If you have technical issues with the grants portal after business hours, send staff an email with details prior to the deadline. Details must include screenshots, any error messages received, time, name of the browser you are using (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.), and any other details that will help us pinpoint the problem.
 

PHASED PROJECTS

Many projects lend themselves well to phasing. Breaking a project into discrete parts is often easier to administer for smaller applicants. However, serial applications for artificial phasing to fit the requirements of a small grant and to avoid heightened competition of large grant reviews (segmenting) are inappropriate and will not be funded.
 
Phases are sequential steps, where the prior phase must be completed before starting the next phase. Individual phases are usually comprised of one or more closely related activities with a common outcome.
 
For phased projects, provide a phasing plan detailing the timing, scope, and estimated costs of all phases of the project. If all phases of a single project are expected to exceed the small grant limits, the applicant should consider applying for a larger grant amount to accomplish the entire project under a single grant. For rehabilitation projects receiving funding for multiple phases in the Historic Properties category, the term of the final Letter of Agreement Governing Use of Historic Site will be based on the cost of all grant funds received for the project, not for each individual phase.
 
A phasing plan can be adjusted if new information or knowledge is uncovered during one of the phases that justifies reconsideration of the entire plan. Prior phases of the project must be completed, and if funded by the Grants office must be closed out, before applying for the next phase.
 
In the application, describe why it is appropriate to apply for a discrete portion/phase rather than the entire project and explain each phase of your project in detail.  In the work plan section of the application, applicants must clearly articulate any phasing of their project, along with the rationale for choosing this approach. Failure to include a rationale may result in the reviewers assigning a lower priority to the proposal.  If preferred, this information could be stated in a separate document that is uploaded with the application.
 
Phasing a project is one way that your organization can easily manage their project, verify that the organization/project is ready for the next phase, and ensure that the final product is successful.
 
Common phases for project include: a needs-assessment phase; budgeting, pre-planning, & research phase; and project execution & completion phase. For a preservation example, an organization applies for funds to create a building Conditions Assessment that identified building needs. After completion of the Assessment Phase the organization intends to apply for funding to pay for the Architectural Design Services and, after that Design Phase has been completed they will apply for funds to complete the actual construction work. For a history example, an organization’s overall plan is to do a short historical documentary based around interviews. The project could be broken up into three phases: “Phase 1: (1st grant application) Conduct oral history interviews of 10 narrators. We will film the interviews to be used in a documentary. Final product will be transcripts. Phase 2: (2nd grant application) Identify and research the subjects uncovered by the oral history. Search for and log additional footage that can support the subject. Final product will be research report, annotated bibliography, footage logs and a draft script. Phase 3: (Final application) Video production. Final product will be completed video.”
 
NOTE: If a portion of a multi-phased or large project is carried out with Legacy grant assistance, the entire project is considered subject to grant review. Portions of a project cannot be withdrawn because they are being funded by a different/additional source.
 
In addition, serial applications for artificial phasing to fit small grants and to avoid heightened competition of large reviews by the Historical Resources Advisory Committee are inappropriate.
 

COMBINING GRANT FUNDING with OTHER FINANCIAL SOURCES

As indicated previously, providing match for a project is an additional consideration as part of the grant review. However, keep in mind that the scope of review for a project is not limited to the portion of the work proposed to be funded with grant dollars. All activity related to the grant-funded portion of the project is subject to review by Grants Office staff. For purposes of the Historic Properties category, the project scope includes all work to be performed in conjunction with the rehabilitation. The Grants Office review encompasses the entire building and the building’s site and environment, including any buildings under the same ownership that were functionally related historically. Any new construction and site improvements occurring in conjunction with the rehabilitation are considered part of the project, subject to review. This review meets the requirements with the Grants Office only. This review is not a commentary on the construction procedures proposed or the viability of the project. Additionally, this review does not fulfill review requirements pursuant to Minnesota State Statute 138, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, or local review authority. Similarly, the required Letter of Agreement Governing Use of Historic Site covers the entire building and site, not just the portion of the building that was rehabilitated using grant funding.
 
Applicants in the Historic Properties category should carefully consider whether to apply for any grant funding for rehabilitation work associated with other financial incentives, including other grant programs and the state and federal tax credit programs. The Grants Office recommends applicants consult with a tax attorney to determine the tax implications of comingling financial incentives from multiple programs.
 

ACQUISITION of REAL PROPERTY

Acquisition of real property (historic property or collection) is an eligible grant activity only if the property or collection is threatened by imminent loss or destruction. The historic property or collection must be of exceptional significance to the applicant’s mission. One or more of the following scenarios must be true in order for the grants program to consider an application under this category.
 
Imminent loss or destruction for historic properties:
  • imminent structural or environmental risks (such as fire, flood, collapse, erosion, vandalism, or relic collecting)
  • request for rezoning with intent to sell the property for redevelopment
  • proposed disposal of the property through public sale with intent to demolish
  • property is under a demolition order or has been declared a public nuisance
  • a demolition permit has already been requested or granted
Imminent loss or destruction for museum collections:
  • imminent material risks (such as fire, flood, or collapse)
  • object(s) would be prevented or no longer be in the public access
  • objects are in danger of being separated from a distinct collection which would negatively impact their historic integrity.
For all acquisitions:
  • The applicant must seek to acquire the property through donation prior to applying for an acquisition grant.
  • The applicant must identify previous failed attempts to fund the acquisition, including grants sought and fundraising efforts.
  • The cost for acquisition should be based on the fair market value of the property, documented through two independent appraisals completed by qualified appraisers within six months of the grant application. If the cost for acquisition is less than fair market value, the grantee must submit a signed statement by the current owner stating their knowledge of the fair market value (include actual value in the statement), their satisfaction with the agreed upon price, and their reason(s) for accepting a lower price. See Appraiser Qualification Tip Sheet.
  • Grantees shall avoid real or apparent organizational conflicts of interests with appraisers.
  • The applicant must attest that there is an independent relationship between the seller and the applicant (i.e., there will be no actual or perceived conflict of interest or concerns about unjust enrichment between the parties).
  • Costs incurred for interest on borrowed capital are not allowable costs.
  • The applicant must demonstrate their ability to immediately stabilize the resource (if needed).
  • The applicant must describe their long-term plans for conservation, preservation, and/or interpretation.
  • Applicant must have a purchase agreement with the seller disclosing terms to submit with the application.
For historic property acquisitions:
  • The applicant must explore donation of a conservation easement from the current owner to the applicant prior to applying for an acquisition grant. A conservation easement will provide protection to the property without the need for acquisition.
  • Acquisition of historic properties previously receiving Minnesota Historical Society grant assistance is not allowed during the term of any standing Letters of Agreement Governing Use of Historic Sites.
  • The applicant must acquire full title to the property. The Minnesota Historical Society must not be included within the chain of title.
  • The acquisition must include the entire National Register boundary of the property. Deviations from the National Register boundary must be justified in the application.
  • A historic property may not be acquired with the intent of moving the built resource.
  • The acquired property must be publicly accessible for the term of the Letter of Agreement. Physical access to a historic property may be waived if access will incur substantial risk of harm, theft, or destruction of the resource. In these instances, an alternative means of accessing the significance of the resource must be developed.

For acquisition of museum collections:

  • The applicant must demonstrate how the object(s) meet its adopted museum collections policy, and where applicable, how acquisition is part of a museum collections plan. The museum collections policy must include a clause on deaccession.
  • Acquisition of an object previously acquired by another institution using Minnesota Historical Society grant assistance is not allowed.
  • The object must be publicly accessible for a minimum number of years following acquisition, to be determined by the amount of the grant. Physical access to the object may be waived if access will incur substantial risk of harm, theft, or destruction of the object. In these instances, an alternative means of accessing the significance of the resource must be developed. 

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The Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants Program has been made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.