Telling the Full History Preservation Fund Guidelines

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Telling the Full History Preservation Fund is a one-time grant program to interpret and preserve historic places of importance to underrepresented communities across states and territories of the United States. This program is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ American Rescue Plan Humanities Grantmaking for Organizations and, as such, is subject to federal rules for award selection and reporting.

The application period for the Telling the Full History Preservation Fund is closed. You can read the full list of grantees here.

Grants from this program will be awarded at the $25,000 and $50,000 levels through an open and competitive application process. This program will provide financial support to eligible organizations to preserve and interpret historic places across the nation that illuminate narratives of underrepresented groups of people. Underrepresented groups include, but are not limited to, women, immigrants, Asian Americans, Black Americans, Latinx Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and LGBTQ communities.

This program has two overarching goals: (1) to support the core activities of humanities-based organizations as they recover from the pandemic and (2) to support organizations or projects that use historic places as catalysts for a more just and equitable society. Along with grant funding, National Trust staff will provide technical assistance to grantees. We anticipate awarding 60-80 grants through this one-time grant program. Grants from the Telling the Full History Preservation Fund may be used to fund up to 100% of the proposed project.

Importantly, applicants must demonstrate that their organization or agency has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Information on these adverse impacts will be collected through the application process. Adverse impacts can include impacts on revenue, spending, staffing, visitation, and other key metrics that demonstrate a need for support through this grant fund.

Grants will be awarded in four categories:

  • Research, planning, and implementation of public interpretive programs that utilize diverse historic places to tell the full history of the United States and Indigenous peoples;
  • Research and documentation to enable local, state, and federal landmark designations to recognize historic places of importance to underrepresented communities;
  • Architectural design and planning to advance preservation and activation of historic buildings and landscapes that tell the full history of the United States and Indigenous peoples;
  • Implementation of training workshops to support underrepresented groups in preserving and/or interpreting historic places that tell the full history of the United States and Indigenous peoples.

Funded projects can include elements of the four categories listed above. For example, a project could include both architectural designs and interpretive planning for a historic place.

Through this grant program, the National Trust is seeking to support humanities-based projects that focus on the preservation, interpretation, and activation of historic places important to underrepresented communities. The National Trust intends that grant-funded projects will help accomplish some or all of the following objectives of the National Endowment for the Humanities:

  • To reflect upon our nation’s quest for a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society;
  • Tell unvarnished stories with themes related to justice and equity; and,
  • Strengthen Americans’ knowledge of the principles of our constitutional governance and democracy

Application Deadline

Applications will be accepted starting Monday, November 1, 2021. Completed applications for the program must be submitted through the National Trust’s online application system by Wednesday, December 15, 2021, by 11:59 pm applicant’s local time. All applications must be submitted through our online application system.

Eligible Applicants

Applicants must be a humanities-based organization, program, or agency or must have the humanities as a major focus of work. Historic preservation is considered humanities-based work. Additionally, applicants must be one of the following:

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. A broad-range of humanities-based 501(c)(3) organizations are eligible to apply, including state and local preservation organizations, historic sites, museums, historical societies, and genealogical associations.
  • Accredited public or 501(c)(3) college or university. Examples include academic programs in historic preservation, public history, and cultural studies of underrepresented groups.
  • State or local governmental agency. State or local agencies include boards, commissions, departments, offices, agencies, public bodies, or political subdivisions of the state or of a county or municipality. Examples include state historic preservation offices, city and county preservation offices and planning departments, state and local commissions focused on different aspects of heritage, and publicly owned historic sites and museums.
  • Federally recognized Native American tribal government or Tribal Historic Preservation Office. Federally recognized Native American tribal governments are American Indian or Alaska Native tribal entities that are recognized as having a government-to-government relationship with the United States.

Fiscal agents are not eligible applicants for this grant fund. Grants will only be awarded to applicants that are directly undertaking the grant-funded work.

Ineligible Applicants

The following may not apply to this program:

  • Organizations that received American Rescue Plan funds directly from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Organization program. A list of grantees from this program can be found on
  • Nonprofit organizations that have not obtained 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service. Other nonprofit types, or those whose 501(c)(3) status is pending, also are not eligible.
  • Organizations and institutions proposing to engage in activities outside the humanities (e.g., the creation or performance of art).
  • Members of the National Trust’s Board of Trustees, an officer or staff member of the National Trust, or a member of this grant program’s external Selection Committee may not apply. (Former trustees, officers, and staff may apply if a full year has passed since the person's service in that capacity has ended.)
  • Federal agencies.
  • Humanities Councils (56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils and interim partners).
  • For-profit entities.
  • Foreign entities.
  • Any organization or person who has been debarred or suspended by any federal department or agency.
  • Any organization who is delinquent on repayment of federal debt.

Additional Eligibility Requirements and Information

  • Grant-funded projects must focus on the humanities and applicants must be able to demonstrate past success in implementing humanities-based projects or programs.
  • Applicants that have received previous National Trust financial assistance are eligible provided that all current grant requirements are being met.
  • Organizations may only submit one application to this fund.
This program is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ American Rescue Plan Humanities Grantmaking for Organizations. Grantees will be required to meet certain terms and conditions required by this federal program, including reporting, auditing, and period of performance requirements.

Application and Review Timeline

  • November 1, 2021: Application period opens. All applications are to be submitted through the National Trust’s online grant application system.
  • December 15, 2021: Applications due by 11:59 pm applicant’s local time.
  • March 1, 2022: Notification sent via email to all applicants stating if their application was selected or not selected.
  • April 1, 2022-March 31, 2023: Grantee period of performance. The period of performance is the period of time during which the grantee is expected to complete the grant-funded activities and incur and expend approved funds.
  • July 29, 2023: Final reports due from awarded grantees.

Grant Conditions

The following grant conditions apply:

  • This is a place-based grant program. If the applicant does not own the historic place that is the focus of the grant-funded project, then the applicant must have a letter of consent from the property owner stating that the grantee has permission to undertake the grant-funded project.
  • Grants 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.
  • Grant recipients must include appropriate acknowledgement of National Trust financial support in all printed materials generated for the project. Acknowledgement language will be provided to selected grantees.
  • Grant recipients are required to sign a contract agreeing to the conditions of the program.
  • Following the period of performance, a final report and financial accounting of the expenditure of the grants must be submitted by the grantee. If the project is not completed in accordance with the contract, including completing the grant funded work by March 21, 2023, the grant funds must be returned to the National Trust.
  • Grant recipients must agree not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or sexual orientation. This obligation also extends to disabled veterans, Vietnam-era veterans, and handicapped persons.
  • Grants are subject to 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards and the General Terms and Conditions for Awards to Organizations (for grants and cooperative agreements issued December 26, 2014 or later).

Eligible Activities and Expenses

Grants from the Telling the Full History Preservation Fund may be used for activities and projects such as:

  • Supporting existing staff who are directly working on the proposed project (i.e., grant funds can be used to pay salaries and benefits for staff working on the grant-funded project).
  • Hiring new staff to work on the proposed project (salaries and benefits).
  • Obtaining the services of consultants with expertise directly related to the proposed project.
  • Eligible costs associated with an in-person or virtual training (i.e. consultant fees, material costs).
  • Designing and implementing innovative preservation education and interpretative programs.
  • Designing, producing, and marketing printed materials or other media communications.
  • Pursuant to federal requirements, indirect costs of the grant-funded project may be included in the grant-funded budget. Indirect costs may be charged based on an organization’s approved federally negotiated indirect cost rate. If the applicant does not have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate, they may charge up to 10% of their grant-funded program costs for indirect costs.

Ineligible Activities and Expenses

Grants will not be awarded for the following:

  • Overlapping project costs that are covered by any other pending or approved application(s) for federal funding and/or approved federal awards, or to meet cost sharing or matching requirements of any other federally financed program in either the current or a prior period. Organizations may seek federal funding for complementary aspects of the same overall project.
  • Projects that fall outside of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences. Grants will not be awarded for: creation or performance of art; creative writing, autobiographies, memoirs, or creative nonfiction; or, quantitative social science research or policy studies.
  • Pre-award costs incurred more than 90 days before the grant’s period of performance which will begin April 1, 2022.
  • Awardees may not re-grant or pass through any funds received from the National Trust’s Telling the Full History Preservation Fund.
  • Cancellation costs.
  • Equipment costs in excess of 20% of total project costs. Single items valued at $5,000 or more are considered equipment. Items valued at less than $5,000 should be listed as supplies in your budget.
  • Catering, entertainment, food and beverage costs.
  • Travel costs (both foreign and domestic) are not eligible for this grant program.
  • Volunteer reimbursements.
  • New construction, purchase of real property, major alteration, and renovation of existing buildings.
  • Collections acquisition.
  • The preservation, organization, or description of materials that are not regularly accessible for research, education, or public programming.
  • Promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view.
  • Advocacy of a particular program of social or political action.
  • Support of specific public policies or legislation.
  • Lobbying.
  • For any eligible American organization located overseas, support of non-U.S. citizens.


Through an open and competitive process, the National Trust, at the recommendation of an external Selection Committee, will award grant recipients by considering, among other factors, the following criteria:

  • Impacts of pandemic on applicant and the applicant’s efforts to offset the impacts
  • Applicant’s record of achievement in the humanities
  • Degree to which the historic places and narratives fit within the National Endowment for the Humanities’ A More Perfect Union: Exploring America’s Story and Commemorating its 250th Anniversary initiative, including:
  • Does the project tell the story of our quest to become a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society? 
  • Does the project address issues of racial justice or gender equality and the evolution of the American landscape? 
  • Will the project utilize innovative approaches to preserving a piece of our nation’s historical record? 
  • Will the project strengthen Americans’ knowledge of our principles of constitutional governance and democracy? 
  • Does the project address the experiences of Native Americans and other under-represented communities?
  • Applicant’s track record engaging members of their own diverse communities and members of underrepresented communities
  • Degree to which the applicant plans to engage the local community, stakeholders, and descendants
  • Organizational capacity and likelihood the project will be completed as described in the application
  • Feasibility of timeline and budget
  • Grants will be awarded in all four identified project categories. Grant-funded projects may entail work that combines more than one project category.
  • Grant will be awarded to projects representing a broad range of historic places and narratives in all regions of the United States and territories.

How to Apply

An application must be submitted using the National Trust’s online grant application system. When completing the application form, the applicant will need the following items:

  • Once you've logged into our online application system, the first step to applying is a quick 5 question eligibility quiz.
  • Your organization’s Employee Identification Number (EIN). The EIN is a unique number that identifies the organization to the Internal Revenue Service, and you will be asked for this information when creating an organizational profile in our application system.
  • Your organization’s Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number, which is a unique nine-character number used to identify your organization. The federal government uses the DUNS number to track how federal money is allocated. This number is separate from your EIN. If you do not have a DUNS number, you can learn more about how to obtain one here. DUNS numbers can generally be obtained in two business days.
  • Narrative information to include:
    • The impacts of the pandemic on the applicant’s organization
    • Details on the historic place(s) that will be the focus of the grant-funded project
    • Explanation of how this work will positively affect and underrepresented community or communities.
    • Details on the grant-funded project’s goals, proposed implementation, and anticipated outcomes.
    • A completed project budget using the provided budget template.
    • Resumes of team members or consultants responsible for project implementation. Individual resumes should not exceed two pages each.
    • A limited amount of supporting materials that add to the narrative and further demonstrate the feasibility of the project.
    • Up to three photos of the historic place(s).

Program Overview


National Trust staff cannot review and comment on draft applications. However, we welcome questions that may arise during the application process. Please email us at with questions.

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