State, Tribal, Local, Plans & Grants

Underrepresented Community Grants

The National Park Service’s Underrepresented Community Grant Program (URC) works towards diversifying the nominations submitted to the National Register of Historic Places. URC grants are funded by the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), and are administered by the NPS. Projects include surveys and inventories of historic properties associated with communities underrepresented in the National Register, as well as the development of nominations to the National Register for specific sites. Grants are awarded through a competitive process and do not require non-Federal match. Eligible applicants are limited to State Historic Preservation offices, Federally Recognized Tribes, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Certified Local Governments.

Application Information

The National Park Service accepts applications from State Historic Preservation Offices, Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, Federally Recognized Tribes, Alaska Native Groups, Native Hawaiian Organizations as defined by 54 U.S.C. 300300 et seq., and Certified Local Governments for projects that work towards diversifying the nominations submitted to the National Register of Historic Places. Applications for $750,000 in FY2020 funding will be available in the fall of 2020.

Program History

Since 2014, the NPS has awarded almost $3 million in grants to diversify the nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. Grant-supported projects include surveys and inventories of historic properties associated with communities underrepresented in the National Register, as well as the development of nominations to the National Register for specific sites.

The Historic Preservation Fund is supported by revenue from Federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, providing assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars.

What We Fund

This grant program supports the survey, inventory, and designation of historic properties that are associated with communities currently underrepresented in the National Register of Historic Places and among National Historic Landmarks. All funded projects must result in:

  • The submission of a new nomination to the National Register of Historic Places or National Historic Landmark program, or
  • An amendment to an existing National Register or National Historic Landmark nomination to include underrepresented communities

Prior Awards

In Federal fiscal years 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, Congress appropriated $500,000 for grants. On January 5, 2017, the Secretary of the Interior announced selected recipients for the FY16 funding cycle.

Alabama Alabama Historical Commission - $33,361

The Alabama Historically Black Colleges and Universities Survey and Nomination Project would provide a comprehensive survey of extant four-year HBCUs in Alabama. This project has two goals: 1) update existing National Register historic district nominations for five HBCUs in Alabama, and 2) survey and nominate to the National Register of Historic Places four new HBCU campus historic districts in Alabama. The survey will result in updates to five (5) existing National Register nominations and the preparation of four (4) new National Register nominations.

Arizona White Mountain Apache Tribe - $48,526 

The homeland of the White Mountain Apache people in east-central Arizona on the 1.7-million-acre Fort Apache Indian Reservation and was established by an Executive Order (1871). The primary objectives of this grant will achieve the major goal of the Mount Baldy Project-WMAT to nominate and designate Bashzhine Dzil (aka Dzil Ligai Si'an or Mount Baldy) as a White Mountain Apache Tribal traditional cultural property eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and submission of the National Register of Historic Registration Application document to nominate Dził Łigai Si'án/Bashzhine Dzil (Mount Baldy Wilderness Area), to the National Register.

California State of California - $50,000 

Historically, California, because of its location on the Pacific Rim, has always had a substantial number of Asian American and Pacific Islander residents, but resources associated with their history are not well represented in historical resources designation programs and local government surveys, making it difficult to estimate how many resources may exist. The objectives of this project are to increase nominations to the National Register by beginning the process of creating a statewide Multiple Property Documentation Form regarding Asian American and Pacific Islanders in California and to increase the visibility/knowledge of resources associated with the AAPI community within the general public.

Colorado State Historical Society of Colorado- $43,158

The San Luis Valley is celebrated as the location of Colorado’s oldest continuously occupied town, San Luis, established on April 9, 1851. The project will nominate at least four eligible properties to the National Register, thus expanding designations throughout the National Heritage Area, each addressing an aspect of the rich Hispanic heritage of the Valley. Also, intensive field recordation, to include photography, and detailed research in order to prepare draft National Register of Historic Places nominations for at least four properties.

District of Columbia District of Columbia Office of Planning - $50,000

The D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites, three-quarters of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, contains close to 750 landmarks and historic districts. However, only two sites have been listed specifically for their LGBTQ significance. LGBTQ heritage in Washington from the mid-19th century through the 1990s as reflected in the built environment, identifying and evaluating buildings, sites, and gathering places important to the LGBTQ communities is the basis of the context statement and resultant local and National Register nominations. The project will increase public awareness of Washington’s LGBTQ communities, provide a framework for identifying the various communities and resources within Washington, and contribute to and begin to expand the local and national inventory of sites associated with this underrepresented sector of Washington, DC. An added benefit will be the contribution of the local history – unique to Washington – to produce a national historic LGBTQ context.

New York New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation Office - $49,999

The Stonewall designation in New York City was the first and only such National Historic Landmark (NHL) until last year when the Henry Gerber House in Chicago was designated. They remain the only two of the more than 2,500 NHL designations throughout the country. The project’s primary theme is LGBT history from the founding of New York City through the 20th Century. The project will support the nomination of at least two additional sites and/or historic district amendments to the National Register of Historic Places.

Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission - $30,000

Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission’s (PHMC) Bureau for Historic Preservation (now the PA SHPO) and the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) developed a broad, multi‐year initiative to document and highlight the history of African Americans in Pennsylvania. The project will prepare a historic context for African American history in rural and suburban Pennsylvania as a Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF), nominate a property associated to this historic context to the National Register of Historic Places, and, provide education and outreach opportunities about African American history in Pennsylvania to broad and diverse audiences.

Texas City of Socorro - $19,800

Rio Vista was the largest recruitment center for the Bracero Program, a program that brought skilled Mexican migrant workers to the U.S. between 1942 and 1962. This important program played a significant role in national labor, agricultural, and immigration history, yet it remains an underrepresented and mostly untold story in American history. The grant funds will be used to research, document, and nominate the Rio Vista Farm Historic District as a National Historic Landmark (NHL). 

Virginia Virginia Department of Historic Resources - $50,000

Between 1917 and 1932, more than 360 Rosenwald schools were built in rural areas across Virginia. During a time of racial segregation and rampant public under-funding of African- American schools, Rosenwald schools afforded educational opportunity to African-American children throughout Virginia and the South. Grant funds will help document the current condition of a representative group of schools in the Piedmont region, which encompasses a broad swath of central Virginia. Completion of this phase will provide a foundation for a larger, three-part effort to survey all remaining Rosenwald schools throughout the Commonwealth and to develop appropriate solutions for adaptive use and commemoration to restore as many of these buildings as possible to active community use.

Washington Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation - $49,992

The Sinkaiuse, or Moses Columbia Tribe, is one of twelve constituent tribes of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation [CCT], located in eastern Washington State. Native American tribes such as the Moses Columbia are among America’s historically underrepresented communities. The grant funds will a) increase representation of historic resources deemed significant by members of the Moses Columbia Tribe on the NRHP; and b) promote an awareness of and respect for Moses Columbia history within the Moses Coulee region of Washington State.

Washington State of Washington Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation - $50,000

Grant funds will inventory and nominate historic properties with the experience of Washington’s Hispanic and Latino communities. They will also examine the experience through historic context development, survey and inventory of associated properties, and nomination of properties to the National Register in the city of Seattle and the greater urbanized Puget Sound region.

Wisconsin Wisconsin Historical Society - $25,164

Milwaukee is by far Wisconsin’s most populous city and is home to the largest African-American population in the state. African-Americans have resided in Milwaukee since the 1830s. In 1890, a quarter of all Wisconsin African-Americans lived in the city, but by 1930 over 70% of the state’s total African-American population of 10,739 resided in Milwaukee. Through this project, the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) will increase awareness and recognition of historic African-American resources in the City of Milwaukee by nominating four properties to the National Register of Historic Places and by presenting the findings of the nomination research at an outreach event in Milwaukee.

In 2015, Congress appropriated $500,000 for Underrepresented Community Grants grants open to SHPOs, THPOs, Federally recognized tribes, Alaska Native Organizations, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Certified Local Governments. On November 6, 2015 selected projects were announced in a press release following remarks by the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, at the PastForward conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The projects selected for funding in Federal fiscal year 2015 are:

  • Alaska: Organized Village of Kake Nomination Project -- $33,153 to support the preparation of National Register nominations for two historic properties associated with Native Alaskan (Tlingit) history in Kake
  • California: City of Los Angeles Asian American Historic Context Project -- $72,000 to develop historic contexts and survey materials associated with the city’s Japanese, Filipino, Thai, Korean, and Chinese American populations
  • California: City of San Francisco Civil Rights Project -- $55,000 to support the preparation of three National Register nominations and a citywide inventory for properties associated with the advancement of civil rights for African-American, Asian-American, Latino American, LGBTQ populations, and women
  • Maryland: Calvert County Piscataway Indian Archaeology Multiple Property Nomination Project -- $47,000 to prepare National Register nominations for six sites associated with Piscataway Indian Native American settlement in rural Maryland
  • Minnesota: Fort Snelling Historic District National Historic Landmark Update Project -- $60,000 to update the Fort Snelling Historic District, National Historic Landmark designation to recognize the contributions of African-American, Native American, Japanese, and women’s history
  • Montana: Butte, Montana Ethnic Atlas and National Register Nomination Project -- $56,000 to inventory and map the ethnic heritage of the Butte-Anaconda National Historic Landmark, recognizing important enclaves of African-American, Chinese, and Arabic-speaking (Lebanese) peoples and develop two new National Register nominations
  • New York: New York City Casitas Survey and Nomination Project -- $46,000 to complete intensive level survey of New York City’s Puerto Rican casitas with a model traditional cultural property nomination for one site
  • North Carolina: African-American Resources in North Carolina Nomination Project -- $70,000 to prepare 10 National Register of Historic Places nominations for resources in three categories: Rosenwald schools, African-American resources in the city of Durham, and African-American cemeteries in Raleigh
  • Virginia: African-American contribution to Spotsylvania County Heritage -- $3,847 to increase the number of listings on the National Register of Historic Places as a continuation of a previous award grant
  • Wisconsin: Wolf River Archaeological District National Register Nomination Project -- $57,000 to develop inventory and National Register nomination for prehistoric and historic resources along Wolf River corridor
The FY2015 Grant Application Guidelines are available for reference. Questions about the availability of future funding or other issues related to this grant program may be submitted by email.
In Fiscal Year 2014, $500,000 in matching grants were competitively awarded to State Historic Preservation Offices to help fund 13 projects across the country. The grant projects will increase the number of listings in the National Register of Historic Places associated with communities currently underrepresented, including communities including African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and LGBT Americans. 

Grant-supported projects include surveys and inventories of historic properties associated with underrepresented communities, as well as the development of nominations to the National Register for specific sites.  

Projects receiving grants include inventories of African American heritage sites in Montana, Pueblo Nations in New Mexico, LGBT sites in New York City, Latino properties in Washington’s Yakima Valley and Asian American sites in Utah. Nominations to the National Register of Historic Places will be prepared for LGBT sites in Kentucky, African American Civil Rights resources in Baltimore and sites associated with Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans in Boston. A complete list of the grants awarded in 2014 can be found here. The NPS awarded additional grants in FY 2015.