**UPDATE** Tacoma to introduce $50K historic preservation grant program

The City of Tacoma is expected to introduce a heritage grant program that aims to help non-profit organizations and public...

The City of Tacoma is expected to introduce a heritage grant program that aims to help non-profit organizations and public agencies working on projects related to local history and historic preservation.

Tacoma City Council set aside $50,000 from its contingency fund in June, and the City plans to award matching grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

According to City staff, grant applications will be evaluated based on the level of community impact, quality of proposals, historical importance and significance, ability to proceed with the project, projects that reach underserved audiences and promote underrepresented historical themes, and the organization’s ability to execute the project. Similarly, exhibits, events, and educational activities; documentation and research projects; and training and capacity building programs will be eligible for grant funds.

General operating expenses, acquisition, receptions and fundraisers, debt service and endowments, commercial enterprises, political and religious activities, and support to individuals will not be eligible for grant funds.

The City is expected to announce the grant program and issue a call for applications in mid-December, host an information session in January, and accept applications until the end of February. A panel is expected to review the applications in March and make their recommendations for grant funding to Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. The commission will make its decision on grant funding in April.

Tacoma City Council’s Neighborhoods and Housing Committee was briefed on the program by City staff during a public meeting on Monday at Tacoma City Hall. The staff memo, slide show presentation, and an audio recording of the meeting are available online here and here and here, respectively.

“I’m hoping for a couple different things,” Tacoma Historic Preservation Officer Reuben McKnight told the council committee. “I’m hoping for more exhibits and events, perhaps from some of our heritage groups that don’t do very many of those. I’m also hoping that we’ll have a better dialogue and develop more of a relationship with heritage organizations around the city.”

Heritage organizations in Tacoma and Pierce County have benefited from similar programs.

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual Valerie Sivinski Washington Preserves Fund program has awarded more than $100,000 to more than 100 heritage projects since the program was introduced in 1997 (see “Washington Trust to announce historic preservation grant recipients Dec. 8,” Tacoma Daily Index, Nov. 3, 2015). Nearly two-dozen organizations in Tacoma and Pierce County have been awarded nearly $24,000.

Pierce County’s Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission awards grants using funds provided by a Washington State law enacted a decade ago that directs one dollar of a five-dollar filing fee toward historic preservation and historical programming. Pierce County Council is expected to vote this month to award just over $100,000 to more than a dozen local heritage organizations (see “14 Pierce County groups could share $100K for historic preservation projects,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 27, 2015).

UPDATE | TUES., JAN. 4, 2016 @ 3:40 P.M. — The Tacoma Daily Index reported on this a couple of months ago (see above), but the January 2016 edition of the City of Tacoma’s Past Forward Newsletter makes it official. Here is the announcement regarding Tacoma’s new Heritage Project Grant Program:

We are announcing a new Heritage Project Grant for 2016!

Eligible applicants include non-profits, organized groups, and public and educational institutions. Applicants may apply for anywhere between $1,000 and $20,000 for their project. This is a matching grant with up to $50,000 in total awards being granted.

A public grant information session will be held on January 20th, from 12pm to 1:30pm in Room 16 of the Tacoma Municipal Building North, 728 Saint Helens Street. All potential applicants are strongly encouraged to attend.

The Heritage Project Grant Program is intended to support projects that increase public awareness and access to Tacoma’s history. Funding can be used for exhibitions, workshops, events or educational activities, development and production of interpretive materials, professional services required to research a historical publication or register nomination, documentation of an artifact or historical site, a historic site assessment, conservation materials, and, in some limited cases, capacity building for organizations with heritage as their primary mission. Activities receiving heritage funding may be one-time events or a small number of events that are closely related, or may also be an ongoing program or neighborhood public history project.

Applications are due February 29, 2016. To find out more about the grant or to download an application, visit the Heritage Project Grant Program [Web site] or email LHoogkamer@cityoftacoma.org or call (253) 591-5254.

UPDATE | THURS., JAN. 7, 2016 @ 9:15 A.M. — Here is the official press release from the City of Tacoma:

Historic Preservation Office Announces New Heritage Project Grant
— Information Session Being Held Jan. 20–

The City of Tacoma’s Historic Preservation Office is announcing a new Heritage Project Grant for 2016. Eligible applicants include non-profits, organized groups, public agencies and educational institutions.

The program is intended to support projects that increase public awareness and access to Tacoma’s history. Funding can be used for a number of focuses including exhibitions, workshops, events or educational activities and documentation of an artifact or historical site. Activities receiving heritage funding may be one-time events or a small number of events that are closely related, or may also be an ongoing program or neighborhood public history project. Applicants may apply for anywhere between $1,000 and $20,000 for their project.

“Raising public awareness of our history is a priority for the City of Tacoma,” said Historic Preservation Officer Reuben McKnight. “By providing programmatic support to heritage organizations, we hope to offer more opportunities for everyone to engage with history.”

A grant information session will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from noon to 1:30 p.m., at the Tacoma Municipal Building North (728 St Helens St., Room 16). All potential applicants are encouraged to attend.

Applications are due Monday, Feb. 29. To find out more about the grant or to download an application, visit cityoftacoma.org/HeritageGrant email LHoogkamer@cityoftacoma.org or call (253) 591-5254.

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Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index, an award-winning journalist, and the author of several books. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.

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