Network to Freedom Grant Program

White text on a black background centered at top: "Grant Program". Text reads "Application Deadline EXTENDED. Applications will be received until June 19, 2022." Network to Freedom, 400th Commission, and ASALH logos are centered.
Grant Application Now Available. The deadline for submitting grant proposals for this year’s grants has been extended to June 19, 2022 at 11:59 pm EDT.

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Information about the 2022 Grants

Through the generosity of the 400 Years of African American History Commission, and in collaboration with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program is pleased to announce the availability of $100,000 in grant funds for 2022. These competitive grants will range between $1000 and $10,000. Funds can be used for preservation and restoration of buildings associated with the Underground Railroad, for interpretation, and for additional historical research related to previous Network to Freedom listings. New listings that are accepted from the January 15, 2022 round will also be eligible to apply. Preference will be given to those listings that have not previously received Network to Freedom grants and to those with matching funds.

An additional $50,000 is available for competitive grants (up to $5000 each) to support research and preparation of Network to Freedom applications for historic sites, programs, or facilities. These grants are available to the public and do not have to be associated with an existing Network to Freedom member. Applications for listing in the Network to Freedom must be the outcome of the grant and they must be submitted within six months of the date of the award.

Centering the Underground Railroad around enslaved people who self-liberated broadens our understanding of this movement beyond safe houses on the way to Canada. That was just one part of a larger resistance movement against slavery. Projects that highlight lesser known aspects of the Underground Railroad such as the movement south to Spanish Florida, Mexico, or the Caribbean, maroon communities or the involvement of indigenous nations will be awarded bonus points in their evaluation.

The grant application and instructions are available online on the ASALH website. The deadline for submitting grant proposals for this year’s grants has been extended to June 19, 2022 at 11:59 pm EDT. Previously submitted proposals do not need to be re-submitted..

All completed applications should be sent electronically to network_to_freedom@nps.gov with subject line "2022 NTF Grant_[INSERT NTF LISTING NAME]."

If you have any questions, please email us at network_to_freedom@nps.gov.

Information Session

On Thursday, April 21, at 10:30 a.m. CDT / 11:30 a.m. EDT, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) hosted National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Staff and the 400 Years of African American History Commission for an Information Session about the 2022 Grants. Staff cannot read applications in full prior to submission, the ASALH, Network to Freedom, and 400 Years of African American History Commission teams will be available to answer questions about the application itself and/or the application process. View the recording of this session below.

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Duration:
36 minutes, 47 seconds

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) is pleased to host National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Staff and the 400 Years of African American History Commission for an Information Session about the 2022 Grants. While we cannot read your applications in full prior to submission, the ASALH, Network to Freedom, and 400 Years of African American History Commission teams will be available to answer questions about the application itself and/or the application process.

Find application materials

Frequently Asked Questions

The grant application and instructions, made available April 5, 2022, can be found on ASALH's website (linked here). The deadline for submitting grant proposals for this year's grants has been extended to June 19, 2022 at 11:59 pm EDT. Previously submitted proposals do not need to be re-submitted.
All completed applications should be sent electronically to network_to_freedom@nps.gov with subject line "2022 NTF Grant_[INSERT NTF LISTING NAME]."
Yes – only Network to Freedom Members are eligible to apply for grant funding.

The National Park Service supports projects that achieve the goals of preservation, interpretation, and education of Underground Railroad history. Specifically, the projects should support or enhance the Underground Railroad associations for which site, program, or facility was listed in the Network to Freedom. Examples of projects that support these objectives include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Markers or signs identifying the site as being in the Network to Freedom

  • Interpretive markers, brochures, exhibits, websites;

  • Historical research in support of interpretation or publications;

  • Oral history and documenting oral traditions;

  • Educational curricula and lesson plans;

  • Cultural Resource surveys;

  • Archeological surveys;

  • Preservation and restoration of historic buildings, structures, landscapes;

  • Projects to enhance accessibility of sites and programs (including installation of ramps or lifts)

  • National Register documentation and nominations;

  • Workshops and public educational programs;

  • Technical assistance in associated site and/or landscape identification; and

  • Preservation and stabilization of cultural artifacts, collections, and documents.

A committee of reviewers, including National Park Service Network to Freedom regional program managers, other National Park Service staff, and non-National Park Service reviewers will rank applications and make funding recommendations. The following criteria will be used to rank project applications:

  • Need for the Project

  • Work Plan and Time Line for Project Completion

  • Project Outcomes

  • Project Budget

  • Bonus: New Grant Recipients

  • Bonus: Matching Funds

  • Bonus: Projects which highlight the connections between Underground Railroad activism and struggles for access to education, suffrage, and/or public accommodations

If the site/program/facility is accepted to the Network to Freedom, you can absolutely submit a grant application. We recommend you begin thinking about how you might answer the questions on the grant application form until you receive an official notice of your acceptance to the Network.
No. All grant projects must specifically address the Underground Railroad. So a project that looks at little known stories, but does not have a clear connection to the Underground Railroad, is not eligible to apply for funding.

2021 Grants Awarded

The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program has awarded $180,000 in grant funding to 20 Network to Freedom Members. Congratulations to those who were awarded funding - we cannot wait to see how the projects evolve in the next 18 months! To learn more about which Network to Freedom members received grant funding, check out our latest press release below.

The Network to Freedom funds competitively selected projects from member sites, programs, and facilities, when appropriations are available. Funding opportunities will be announced on their website.

Two people stand in front of a run down building and discuss the history of the Underground Railroad

Network to Freedom Grant Recipients

Read our press release discussing the 2021 Network to Freedom Grants awarded to 20 Network to Freedom Members.

Last updated: May 16, 2022