Grants

Review Process and Criteria

The Minnesota Historical & Cultural Heritage Grants Program is a competitive process involving application review by Grants Office staff, peer reviewers, the Historic Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC), and the Minnesota Historical Society’s Executive Council.

Review process

Small/Structured Grants: Once the deadline passes, applications are reviewed by one or more Grants Office staff members with expertise related to the project category and administrative policy. Those that are ready will be recommended directly to the Society's Executive Council for action, and those requiring revision or those that are ineligible will be returned to applicants with constructive feedback from the reviewers. The Grants Office encourages unsuccessful applicants to reapply for an eligible project during a future grant round. Notifications of the Executive Council’s decision are sent approximately 8 weeks after application deadline.

Large Grants: Once the deadline passes, pre-applications are reviewed by one or more Grants Office staff members with expertise related to the project category and administrative policy. Constructive feedback is provided to the applicant to strengthen the final application. Final applications are reviewed by Grants Office staff and other Minnesota Historical Society subject area experts.  For grant applications requesting funding of $100,000 or greater, an additional peer review is conducted by a qualified professional unaffiliated with Minnesota Historical Society. Final Applications, along with staff and peer reviewer comments, are provided to the Historic Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC) for consideration at a public meeting.

Based on their evaluation and the review criteria, the HRAC recommends approval or denial of each application and forwards their recommendations to Minnesota Historical Society Executive Council for final action. You will be notified of their decision in writing. In some cases, special conditions may be required on approved projects; the conditions will be outlined in your grant contract. Once awarded, large grants are subject to increased fiscal oversight and ongoing monitoring by Grants Office staff.

Notification of the HRAC’s and Executive Council’s decisions are sent out approximately 12 weeks after final application deadline.

Please Note: Approval of an application by Grants Office staff or the HRAC does not constitute formal comment on a project under either the state or federal rehabilitation tax credit review process and does not fulfill review requirements pursuant to Minnesota state statute 138 or section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Review Criteria

The review criteria are drawn from Minnesota Statutes, language in the appropriation and sound practices in administering grant programs with public funds. Notes about the criteria can be found within the Definitions section.

Grant Office staff reviews are based on whether your proposal:

  • Is complete
  • Meets eligibility requirements
  • Is a project
  • Supplements, not substitutes for, traditional funding sources
  • Follows appropriate professional standards
  • Meets the financial reporting requirements of MS 16B for Grants Management
  • Has a realistic budget
  • Can be completed on time, within the required time frame
  • Produces measurable outcomes

HRAC evaluation is based on whether your proposal:

  • Follows appropriate professional standards
  • Fills a demonstrated need
  • 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 by HRAC are:

  • The applicant’s demonstrated capacity to complete the project
  • Significance of the resource
  • Partnerships
  • Match
  • Pre-planning work completed
  • Follow through of prior planning recommendations
  • Statewide distribution of projects in applicant pool
  • Number of open grants for a given applicant
  • Number of previous grant awards to a given applicant

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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.