Review Criteria

The Statewide Historical and Cultural Grants Program is a competitive process. Evaluation of grant applications by reviewers is based on whether your project:

  • The request is a project.* 
  • Meets eligibility requirements.
  • Supplements, not substitutes for, traditional funding sources.
  • Follows appropriate professional standards.
  • Fills a demonstrated need.
  • Meets the financial reporting requirements of MS 16B.98 for Grants Management.
  • Has a realistic budget.
  • Can be completed on time, within the required time frame.
  • Produces measurable outcomes.*
  • Incorporates public benefit and access.*
  • Is sustainable.*

Additional Considerations:

  • Your organization’s demonstrated capacity to complete the project.
  • Significance of the resource.
  • Partnerships.*
  • Match.*
  • Statewide distribution of projects in applicant pool.

*Notes About the Criteria

Project: Projects are undertakings that require detailed planning, concerted effort to achieve, and are designed to accomplish prioritized organizational goals or objectives. Projects have a purpose that supports the applicant's mission. Projects have a distinct beginning and end with a product of enduring value. 

Measurable Outcomes: This addresses a requirement in MS 129D.17, Subd. 2. (a), which states “a project or program receiving funding from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund must include measurable outcomes and a plan for measuring and evaluating the results.“ Outcomes for various types of projects will vary greatly; guidelines for each project category provide additional guidance on this matter.

Public Benefit: Projects supported through this grants program are expected to demonstrate public benefit. You will want to think about your project’s potential public benefit as you shape the project, identify its goals and objectives, and develop a plan for evaluating its results.

Sustainability:  It is the intention of Legacy Amendment funding to support projects with a lasting impact or enduring value. The term sustainable is used here in that sense.

Partnerships: When two or more otherwise independent organizations are involved in a project, they are termed partners. Partnerships have several distinguishing characteristics. All parties must have a vested and active interest in the project. While one of the partners might be a central or managing player with the largest role in managing the project, all partners must contribute in some tangible way to the accomplishment of the project. These contributions may take different forms, such as financial support, contributed time and labor, professional or technical expertise, access to facilities or equipment, use of intellectual property, or access to other resources or individuals. The contributions and obligations of each party in a partnership are typically codified in some form of a formal, written document such as an agreement, memorandum of understanding, or contract. Reference to the arrangements between entities above as "partnerships" is for consistency with the statutory language only and is not intended to describe or define a legal relationship between the parties.

Match:  A funding match is not required at any level in the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants Program. Matches, however, are always encouraged; in fact, they are listed as an additional criterion for evaluating grant applications. Funding matches are one way to measure local buy-in and commitment to a project, demonstrating a community’s investment in seeing a project through to completion. For larger grants, the presence of a local match can also be seen as a measure of your capacity to carry out your project and of your project’s sustainability. In a particularly competitive grants round, this factor could be a tie-breaker.

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.