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Indiana Historical Society Will Provide $2.5M to Local Historical Organizations through Heritage Support Grants

January 30, 2020

Program provides financial resources, fundraising education and coaching

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) is pleased to announce the continuation of its Heritage Support Grants program, an initiative launched in 2015 and made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The program will award $2.5 million to local historical organizations during the next five years.

The program, aimed at Indiana’s local, county and regional historical societies, museums and sites, recognizes the critical role these organizations play in upholding the state’s heritage. IHS estimates more than 900 Indiana organizations hold collections totaling more than 20 million historical objects and 424,000 linear feet of historical documents.

“We recognize most of the state’s heritage is in the care of local, county and regional historical societies, museums and sites,” said IHS President and CEO Jody Blankenship. “We also realize many of these smaller organizations face challenges, such as access to resources, funding and training. The Heritage Support Grants program offers not just financial resources, but also fundraising education workshops, tailored coaching, and opportunities to experience serving on award selection panels.”

During its first five years, the program offered 11 grant opportunities and awarded more than $2.6 million through 173 awards to 100 different organizations, which are located in 57 of Indiana’s 92 counties. The funding education opportunities served 417 staff and volunteers with 40 workshops covering grant writing, building a case for support, annual funds and fundraising events.

Following its initial run, the Heritage Support Grants program was awarded the Association of Midwest Museum’s (AMM) Best Practices Award in 2019. IHS also worked with a professional evaluator to review the program — resulting in ways to make the program better that have been incorporated into the next five-year run.

Specific funding priorities for upcoming grant opportunities include the following: collections stewardship; diversity, equity, access and inclusion; sustainability; and planning. Eligible organizations must be incorporated as nonprofits in the state of Indiana with history as a significant component of their missions and annual budgets of less than $300,000. Guidelines and applications are available on the IHS website at

Summary of Proposal submissions for the first cycle of Project grants, which range from $5,000 to $50,000, are due by March 3, 2020. Upcoming proposal deadlines for Mini grants, which range from $500 to $4,999, are June 2, 2020, and Sept. 1, 2020.

“The impact of this program is tremendous,” Blankenship said. “The program allows participants to feel more comfortable in writing grants, asking for funding and articulating a case for support for their organizations and programs. This program is innovative within the field, and we hope to continue it for years to come.”

For more information, visit or call IHS at (317) 232-1882.

About the Indiana Historical Society (IHS)

Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor experiences called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups; publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; produces and hosts art exhibitions, museum theater and outside performance groups; and provides youth, adult and family programs. IHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.


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