Partnership Grants

Definition of Partnership* and Program

Definition of Partnership

When two or more otherwise independent organizations are involved in a program, they are considered partners. Partnerships have several distinguishing characteristics:

  • All parties have an active, vested interest in the program. 
  • All partners contribute in some tangible way to the accomplishment of the program. These contributions may take different forms, including 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. 
  • All parties have a common mission and/or goal to develop or expand a program and will equally benefit.

Funds from the Heritage Partnership Program are meant to build and strengthen the network between organizations responsible for preserving and providing access to Minnesota’s history and cultural resources. Oftentimes, partnerships enable a greater public benefit and enduring legacy than individual organizations acting independently. 


In some instances, these partnerships may already exist. In others, individual organizations may recognize the need to partner with like-minded or complementary organizations in their community or region in order to better accomplish mutual goals. Traditional history-keeping organizations are encouraged to build partnerships with eligible applicants not typically considered part of the heritage industry (for example a county historical society could partner with tourism or environmental organizations). These interdisciplinary partnerships are given additional consideration as part of the review process. 


Partners should consider how their application, if funded, will improve their individual and collaborative organizational infrastructure and systems, increase public engagement, and develop better leaders within Minnesota history and cultural heritage.

Qualifying as a Partnership:
In order for multiple organizations to qualify as a partnership under the Heritage Partnership Program’s guidelines, all parties must be eligible applicants (see below). Applications must describe each organization’s role in the program. The application must include a Signature Authority Form (Appendix D) that clearly identifies the lead organization, responsible for coordinating the program work, serving as the fiduciary and project director, and submitting all final reports.
* 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.

Definition of Program

The Heritage Partnership Program is intended for programs and the development of partnerships that endeavor to provide long-term programming.
A program is an ongoing activity, or series of activities. Unlike many projects, a program has a longer, semi-permanent timeline. It is evaluated and reevaluated during its lifetime. It is not based on a product; instead, it offers a predictable, consistent service that focuses on a longer-term evaluation process. Programs, unlike projects, do not have a determined end date.

Program examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Coordinated efforts to provide greater access to services provided by an eligible partnership.
  • Development of cooperative agreements for museum work and public history work by an eligible partnership.
Programs with the same scope of work and outcomes that have been previously funded by the Heritage Partnership Program are ineligible for further funding. This grant program is intended to provide funds to eligible partnerships proposing new, unique programs that they would like to implement in their communities. Once those programs are established, the partners should look to other sources of funding outside of the Heritage Partnership Program.  
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