Our Stories, Our Lives

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals of the Heritage Grants Program?

Michigan is a state with many stories.  Some have been told often, and others not at all. The primary goal of the Heritage Grants Program is to fund projects proposed by grassroots groups and cultural organizations that explore local histories of race and cultural identity in Michigan through the authentic voice of groups whose stories and perspectives have often not been adequately represented.  Connected goals include:

  • Support projects that promote racial equality by better understanding Michigan’s multicultural past.
  • Support projects that unpack and explain the history of race in Michigan.
  • Support collaborative projects between organizations that results in the creation of content that could not be realized separately.

By sharing stories about the past, the funded projects should aim to elevate our understanding of Michigan’s diverse population and build empathy for the experiences of others.

What is a cultural identity group?

A cultural identity group refers to a group people who share a sense of belonging based in historical and contemporary experiences. For Heritage Grants, we are particularly interested in projects that involve people of color as the authentic voice of the project.  Successful projects will demonstrate how they will involve a cultural identity group, either as the originator of the project or significant partner.

Cultural identity can grow from elements such as nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, social class, generation, locality, aesthetics, and language.  These identities intersect with each other and might also be a part of larger themes such as the migration experience or the search for a sense of belonging in an urban setting or new location. People typically associate with more than one identity or group as they develop their sense of self. Cultural identity might be chosen or created.

Cultural identities may also be imposed by others who label individuals or groups based on characteristics or behaviors that seem shared. For example, inaccurate identities like racial stereotypes have often been unfairly imposed on groups of people by others. Race has been used to explain human differences and create barriers to equal opportunity. Heritage Grants are intended to support projects that use history and the humanities to promote racial healing and overcome past challenges rooted in cultural identity, while also celebrating differences that contribute to a fuller sense of belonging for all people.

What is heritage?

Heritage refers to the tangible (buildings, landscapes, objects, photographs, books, artworks, etc.) and intangible (stories, music, dance, traditions, folkways, cuisine, etc.) elements of culture from the past or present that helps define who we are as an individual and as part of a group and society.  Heritage is a constellation of traditions and things that give us a sense of belonging to a particular cultural identity group.

What is the Local History Product?

Heritage Grants should result in a local history product on the topic of race and identity. This might be a series of community conversations, an exhibit, oral history, ceremony, documentary, or other medium used to make connections between the past and present. The authentic voice of the identity group(s) should be present in all aspects of the product, from creation to realization, and primarily benefit members of that group.

What is the digital component?

The digital component might be as simple as photographs and captions from a community conversation or as elaborate as a digital exhibit or videos of oral history interviews. Because we anticipate Heritage Grants projects creating new historical content, the MHC will work to preserve and share this information with future generations through our website or a partnership with another organization in Michigan.  The digital component does not necessarily have to represent the entire project, but should be something your organization is comfortable sharing with others.

Please include this information about the specific format(s) you plan to use in your application. If you are uncertain about this information, MHC staff can work with you to determine an appropriate format to use for access and preservation purposes.

If the Grantee would like to host a digital component on their own website after the grant period has ended, they must do so at their own cost.

How should I evaluate my project?

Applicants are invited to propose their own means of evaluation, however MHC does have audience evaluation forms available that organizations can adapt for their project. You can download them here:

Can I fund indirect costs with a Heritage Grant?

Although it is discouraged in most instances, Heritage Grants can fund indirect costs, which should not exceed 15% of the project cost. That said, it is strongly encouraged that applicants direct all costs to the project itself or keep indirect costs at an absolute minimum. The Grant Review Committee will look carefully at the way projects balance these costs.

What is an EIN Number?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is the number used by the Internal Revenue Service to recognize an organization. Your organization’s administrator should have it on file.

What is a DUNS number?

The Data Universal Number System (DUNS) has been adopted by the federal government to track how federal grant money is allocated. DUNS numbers identify your organization and are required by the Michigan Humanities Council for all grant applications. If you do not have a DUNS number you may apply for one at: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/pages/CCRSearch.jsp

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