Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors: Guidelines & Eligibility

In July 1997, George P. Mitchell made a generous gift to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to establish the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors in honor of his wife. Learn more about Cynthia Woods Mitchell in this story. The purpose of the fund is to assist in the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of historic interiors. Grants from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors generally range from $2,500 to $15,000. The selection process is very competitive.

Application and Review Timeline

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund is an annual opportunity. The next deadline will be March 1, 2024. If the first of the month falls on a weekend, applications will be due on the following Monday. The application will be available about eight weeks before the deadline through the link at the bottom of this page. Applicants will be notified via email on July 1, 2024.

Eligible Applicants

Applicants must be either a public agency, 501(c) (3), or other nonprofit organization to be considered eligible. Individuals and for-profit businesses may apply only if the project for which funding is requested involves a National Historic Landmark. Programs of the National Trust are also eligible to apply for grants from the Mitchell Fund. Applicants that have received previous National Trust financial assistance are eligible provided that all grant requirements are current.

No more than three grants will be awarded in any two-year period to a single grantee. Only one grant will be awarded per organization in any grant round. Only one grant will be awarded for a particular project phase.

Only Organizational Level Preservation Leadership Forum Members, Main Street America Community Members, and Main Street America General Members are eligible to receive funding from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund. Organizations do not need to have an active membership to apply for a grant, but selected grantees will be required to become members prior to the release of funds. Your membership status will be verified by our grants office once award decisions have been made. If you have questions about your membership status, please email

Grant Conditions

Applicants must be capable of matching the grant amount dollar-for-dollar. A cash match is required and can come from private or public sources, or from income earned from registration fees or fundraising activities. Donated materials and services, staff salaries and organizational overhead costs are not eligible sources of a match. Other funding from the National Trust may not be used to match a Mitchell Fund grant. Other conditions include:

  • Grants or matching funds cannot be used directly or indirectly to influence a member of Congress to favor or oppose any legislation or appropriation.
  • Any documents or plans for preservation work that result from the project must conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
  • At least three (3) competitive bids/quotes must be obtained for any procurement of services that exceed $50,000. This provision applies only to portions of the project supported by National Trust grant funds.
  • Consultants must be approved by the National Trust before grant funds are disbursed.
  • Favrot Fund grants cannot be used to pay staff salaries. Board members of the application organization cannot serve as consultants unless appropriate conflict of interest procedures are followed and documented.
  • Grant recipients are required to sign a contract agreeing to the conditions of the program.
  • Grant projects must begin within six months of award date. Failure to begin the project in this timeframe may result in the cancellation of the grant and you will need to reapply for funding.
  • Grant recipients must include appropriate acknowledgment of National Trust financial support in all printed materials generated for the project.
  • Within one year from the grant disbursement date, a final report and financial accounting of the expenditure of the grants must be submitted. An online final report form will be provided. If the project is not completed in accordance with the contract, the grant funds must be returned.
  • Applicants must agree not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, creed, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, mental and physical disabilities, sex (including pregnancy), personal appearance, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, genetic information, matriculation, political affiliation or veteran status.

Eligible Activities

Mitchell Fund grants are awarded for planning activities and education efforts focused on the preservation of historic interiors. Grants may be made for activities and projects such as:

  • Obtaining professional expertise in areas such as architecture, planning, paint analysis, archeology, or graphic design
  • Hiring a preservation architect to create an interior restoration plan
  • Hiring a consultant to develop a conservation plan for an interior's textiles
  • Producing a historic furnishings plan
  • Sponsoring a workshop on the preservation of historic interiors
  • Restoration, rehabilitation, stabilization, and preservation of designated historic interiors, including bricks-and-mortar interior construction

Ineligible Activities

  • Academic research
  • Fundraising-related activities
  • Projects focused on the building's exterior

Eligible Expenses

  • Fees for consultant services
  • Speaker/faculty costs (honoraria, travel, and lodging), room rental for conferences
  • Mailing costs for distribution of materials
  • Web site development
  • Materials and services such as printing, photographs, telephone, and supplies. With the exception of publications projects, these costs may not exceed 10 percent of the project budget.
  • Interior construction or other capital improvement costs

Ineligible Expenses

  • Staff or faculty salaries
  • Organizational overhead costs
  • Catering, food and beverage, entertainment
  • Expenses incurred prior to award date


The selection committee will place particular importance on the likelihood that a grant will make a significant contribution to the preservation, restoration, or interpretation of one or more historic interiors. The committee will also consider:

  • The historic significance of the property to be assisted
  • The extent to which the requested assistance will act as seed money to make a difference in preservation, restoring or interpreting the historic interior, including what other funds might be leveraged by an award
  • The potential of the project to be a catalyst for further positive action to benefit other historic interiors, properties, neighborhoods, or communities
  • The adequacy of plans for the future maintenance of the property or the continuation for the activity for which grant support is requested
  • The need for funding and the urgency of the project
  • The project’s timeline
  • The project’s budget and the applicant’s proven ability to secure a match
  • Evidence of community support for the project
  • The long-term objectives or impact of the project
  • The qualifications of the key personnel, including consultants
  • The demonstrated ability of the applicant to complete preservation projects
  • The potential to replicate the project in other communities

How to Apply

All applicants must complete the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund application form online. You will need the following items as part of your application:

  • Up to six digital images of high quality (300 dpi) with caption and credit information
  • Applicant's Internal Revenue Service determination letter of tax-exempt status. If tax-exempt status has not been fully approved by the IRS, please provide evidence of filing for certification and letter of opinion from an attorney concerning the applicant's tax status (nonprofit organizations)
  • Resume of consultant for project (if the consultant has been chosen)
  • Letter of consent from property owner (if applicant does not own property)
  • Up to two letters of endorsement (optional)
  • Completed Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interios application form, which includes a budget section that outlines proposed expenses and revenue for the project.

National Trust grants staff can provide helpful guidance for the application process. If you have specific questions about your project's eligibility, please contact our grants staff at


Access the application for the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors.

You will be taken to the National Trust grants application system where you will need to create a user profile for your organization. If your organization has applied for a grant previously, you will sign into your existing organization profile. If you have questions please email us.

Please add to your address book to ensure you receive email communications sent from our grants application system about your application.

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