Partnership Grants

Eligible Applicants

The appropriation language for partnership sets the general parameters for applicant and program eligibility. The appropriation specifies funding for “partnerships involving multiple organizations, which may include the Minnesota Historical Society, to preserve and enhance access to Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage in all regions of the state.” Because a portion of the appropriation is set aside for partnerships with the Minnesota Historical Society, the Heritage Partnership Program is specifically designed for partnerships that do not include the Minnesota Historical Society.
The grant program requires eligiblity in two ways: (1) the applicant and partners need to be eligible and (2) the proposal needs to be eligible.  The applicant, partners, and proposal must be eligible prior to submitting a pre-application.
Applicants and partners must be ready to begin once the grant is awarded, which includes having received any applicable permissions from the grantees' boards or governing entities. In addition, applicants and partners must have legal authority to implement any portion of the grant affecting real property or collections not under their ownership or control. 


All applicant and partner organizations must reside in the state of Minnesota. 

  • Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations 

Organizations must be IRS compliant (check your status with Guidestar) when requesting an account and/or submitting an application (including pre-application). 

  • State and local government units
  • Federally recognized tribes
  • Educational organizations and institutions


  • Individuals
  • For-profit corporations & organizations 
  • Minnesota Historical Society and its divisions, departments, or work units
  • All units of federal government
  • Applicants with overdue Minnesota Historical Society grants*
  • All others not falling under "eligible applicants"
*ALL partners in Heritage Partnership Programs MUST be eligible applicants. Applicants cannot be considered for partnership programs if any of the partners have outstanding, overdue final reports or grant products on any previous Minnesota Historical Society grant. In general, applicants in good standing concerning all previous Minnesota Historical Society grants awarded may have more than one open grant at any given time. Consideration will be given to the capacity of the applicants, including the number of grants currently open from all Minnesota Historical Society grant programs, past grant performance, and the financial capacity of the applicants. Applicants within a parent-subordinate organizational structure where the parent organization must be the applicant of record (e.g., schools or departments within a university system), will be considered based on the capacity of the subordinate level (e.g., the school or department rather than the university system).

NONPROFIT 501(C)(3):

Nonprofit/nongovernmental organizations recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c)(3) are eligible applicants. The Minnesota Historical Society grant records must document each applicant’s eligibility for the grant program. It is the responsibility of the applicant to prove it is eligible. Failure to provide sufficient documentation of 501(c)(3) status will render a nonprofit applicant ineligible.
Please note that only those churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. (hereafter ‘churches’), recognized with formal 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are considered eligible applicants. 
Some churches may be subordinate to a central church, such as a council, diocese or a synod. The IRS allows for Group Exemptions in IRS Publication 4573. According to this publication, any church acting as a central organization must possess 501(c)(3) status. Any church wishing to apply for the Heritage Partnership Program as a subordinate organization must:
  • Submit a copy of the Group Exemption letter.
  • Provide the Federal Employer Identification Number of the central organization, and, if available, the Federal Employer Identification Number of the subordinate (applicant) organization.
  • If the group exemption points to another document listing the organization as an official subordinate organization, a copy of that document must also be included. For example, the Group Exemption for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (covering all Roman Catholic Churches) points to enumeration in the Official Catholic Directory. A copy of the page in the directory showing the organization must be included.
Other churches may have formal relationships with a “Friends” organization, which allows for broader participation in heritage without requiring membership in that church. For the Friends group to be eligible for grants, the Friends group must have formal 501(c)(3) status. 


Any subunit of government in the State of Minnesota is an eligible applicant, including but not limited to state agencies, state or local commissions, municipal governments, school districts, and other governmental agencies. Federal agencies are not eligible to apply.


Any of the 11 federally recognized tribes or their subunits in Minnesota are considered eligible applicants. See the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website for a list of eligible tribes.


Accredited educational institutions meeting the definition of educational institutions in the Internal Revenue Code are eligible. IRC Title 26, 170(b)(1)(A)(ii): an educational organization which normally maintains a regular faculty and curriculum and normally has a regularly enrolled body of pupils or students in attendance at the place where its educational activities are regularly carried on. (Title I (20 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.) as amended.) Documentation of accreditation may be required. 


Partnership funds appropriated to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund are divided into “internal” and “external” partnership programs. Internal partnerships are those that exist between various units of the Minnesota Historical Society and one or more outside partners. External partnerships are those that do not involve the Minnesota Historical Society. The Minnesota Historical Society is an ineligible partner in the Heritage Partnership Program. If you wish to partner with the Society on a project or a program, please contact the appropriate staff. Contact information is available online.
Furthermore, to avoid any real or apparent conflicts of interest, Heritage Partnership Program grant recipients may not select the Minnesota Historical Society as a vendor of professional services. The Society may be a vendor of goods needed to accomplish the goals of the partnership program (e.g., books), provided that procurement requirement is followed.  See Appendix E for more details. 
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