Heritage Area awards $25,000 in mini-grants

The Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area (HCCHA) has awarded mini-grants totaling $25,000 to 11 non-profit organizations and local municipalities to assist with projects that enrich heritage resources and events in Dorchester County.

The mini-grants support the efforts of local museums, organizations and municipalities that advance the mission and goals of the Heritage Area. All the projects serve to preserve Dorchester County’s heritage, to market local heritage to visitors and residents, or to improve the economic health of the area.

The HCCHA Board of Directors noted that they are pleased to be able to promote these innovative and creative opportunities with mini-grants grants and collaborate with their heritage partners who are making a difference throughout Dorchester County. The mini-grants are just one way that the HCCHA provides support for projects and events that will encourage or improve heritage tourism.

This year’s grant round was especially competitive with application requests totaling nearly double the available funding. The awardees and projects approved for FY2024 at the Heritage Board’s July 18, 2023 meeting are:

  • Cambridge Main Street – Taste of Cambridge. Funds will also be used to hire local entertainment and for related expenses for performances during the festival on Oct. 7 in downtown Cambridge. ($2,925)
  • Dorchester County Historical Society – Fresh Faces: Brochures to Benefit Our Museum & Society. Funding will support the creation of two new brochures, the first for general audiences and visitors to the museum campus and the second to attract volunteers. ($810)
  • Friends of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge – Eagle Festival. Funding will help with programming fees associated with presentations, displays and exhibits at the annual festival in March 2024 at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. ($2,500)
  • Groove City Black Heritage & Culture Group – Groove City Culture Fest. Funds will support new heritage banners, as well students participating in a six-week African Drum dance/drum program, all part of the annual event on Aug. 19. ($3,500)
  • Harris Malone Cemetery Maintenance Fund – Harris Malone Church. Funds will assist in making the church secure, as well as support a new website and a May 2024 event. ($2,500)
  • Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage – Dorchester County Tour. Funding will support marketing and promotions for the event, which will benefit the Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance. ($1,500)
  • Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians – Nause-Waiwash Annual Native American Festival. Funding will be used for stipends and related expenses for Native American performers and presentations at the annual event in September. ($4,200)
  • Pride of Baltimore – Pride of Baltimore II Visits Historic Cambridge. Funds will support a stop in Cambridge in 2024, which will feature free interpretive programming for visitors, free deck tours and two-hour day sails. ($2,500)
  • Spocott Windmill – Displays and Newsletter. Funds will support new signage detailing the life of Jim Richardson, builder of the current windmill, and Arthur and Sophie Jones, both closely aligned with the windmill, as well as a newsletter. ($1,815)
  • Town of East New Market – East New Market Heritage Tourism Brochure. Funding will support an updated walking tour brochure that highlights a number of historic homes. ($1,500)
  • Town of Vienna – Relocation of Chesapeake Country Mural. Funds will support the removal and relocation of the acclaimed Chesapeake Country Byway Mural because the building where it was originally installed is scheduled to be partially demolished. ($1,250)

The mini-grants are made possible through a Maryland Heritage Areas Association Block Grant to the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area. The heritage-tourism related project grants are available for up to $5,000 and require a one-to-one match. Mini-grant application forms for FY2025 are expected to be available on the visitdorchester.org website in the spring.

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