Underrepresented Communities Application Information

Since 2014, the NPS has awarded 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 and districts.

The Historic Preservation Fund is supported by revenue from Federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, providing financial 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

Application packages must be submitted using Grants.gov in response to a notice of funding opportunity number under Assistance Listing (formerly CFDA) 15.904.

What is Not Funded

  • Physical work on historic properties
  • Reconstruction or new construction
  • Moving historic properties, or work on moved properties that are no longer eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places
  • Lobbying or advocacy activities
  • Costs for work already completed, or funded through other federal programs
  • Acquisitions of historic sites or collections
  • Conservation of collections, except as part of gathering oral history documentation
  • Long-term maintenance or curatorial work beyond the grant period
  • Work completed prior to execution of Grant Agreement
  • Cash reserves, endowments, revolving funds, or fundraising costs
  • Administrative and indirect costs beyond 25% of the total project budget

Selection Process

NPS personnel and qualified Federal employees will review all complete proposals using the merit review criteria outlined in the application instructions. Reviewers’ evaluations are based solely on the material provided in the application. Additional materials not specifically required by the application, and materials sent separately from the application, may not be considered. A summary of the review panel comments may be provided to the applicant if requested after the grant process is complete. Matching funds are not required but may be considered as part of the evaluation process.Panel recommendations will be made to the Secretary of the Interior who will select successful applicants and forward to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. NPS will conduct risk assessments on all projects prior to funding.

Open Transcript


The subject of this video is the Underrepresented Communities Grant Program,

Fiscal Year 2023 grant round, from the National Park Service, U.S Department of the Interior.

The video will provide an overview of the Underrepresented Communities Grant Program.

We will discuss eligible applicants, eligible activities and project requirements, Grant amounts and timelines, application requirements and processes, and we'll discuss a few tips and resources.

The purpose of the Underrepresented Communities (or URC) Grant Program is to fund projects that diversify nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Register of Historic Places (or NRHP) is the official list of our nation's historic places worthy of preservation. The National Register was authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966 and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archaeological resources.

For more info visit go.nps.gov/nrhp

The Underrepresented Communities Grant Program supports diversifying the National Register of Historic Places by funding projects that survey, inventory, and designate historic properties associated with underrepresented groups of people.

Recent URC Grant projects have focused on African American, LGBTQ, Asian American, Latinx or Hispanic American, and Tribal historic resources as well as women's history. Applications are not limited to these narratives.

This year, Congress has appropriated 1.25 million dollars for the 2023 URC Grant.

The National Park Service is now accepting applications for the URC Grant Program. Submit applications through grants.gov, Opportunity Number P23AS00473.

Applications are due July 18, 2023.

Funding for the URC Grant Program is provided from the Historic Preservation Fund.

Established in 1976, the Historic Preservation Fund is the funding source for preservation assistance grants to the 50 states, District of Columbia, five territories, and the three freely Associated States of Micronesia, in addition to more than 200 tribes, more than 2,000 local governments, and hundreds of non-profits.

The source of this funding is outer continental shelf oil and gas lease revenue, not tax dollars.

For more info visit go.nps.gov/hpfund

Eligible applicants for the Underrepresented Communities Grant Program include States and Territories, Indian Tribes that meet the definition in 54 USC 300309, Native Hawaiian organizations that meet the definition in 54 USC 300314, Certified Local Governments (a current list of CLGs is found at go.nps.gov/clglist) and, new for 2023, United States tax-exempt non-profit organizations with or without 501c3 designation are eligible to apply for a URC Grant.

A URC Grant can fund historic resource surveys, development of historic contexts, development of Multiple Property Documentation Forms (or MPDF), National Register nominations, and amendments to existing National Register listings.

A few project requirements that are important to note: all survey, inventory, and designation work must be associated with communities that are currently underrepresented in the National Register of Historic Places, and every grant project must include at least one Tribal Register or National Register nomination or amendment associated with the underrepresented community that is the subject of your grant.

Let's talk now about what types of projects are not eligible for URC Grants.

First, physical work on historic properties is not eligible.

Similarly, moving historic properties or work on moved properties, reconstruction, and new construction are all ineligible.

Lobbying or advocacy activities, costs for work already completed, or costs for work funded through other Federal programs are not eligible.

Acquisitions of historic sites or collections, conservation of collections except as part of gathering oral history documentation, and again for the purpose of National Register, nominations long-term maintenance or curatorial work beyond the grant period, work completed prior to the execution of the grant agreement is not eligible, cash reserves endowments revolving funds or fundraising costs. None of these are eligible.

Let's move on to information about the URC Grant.

Details and Dollar Amounts: URC Grant Awards range from fifteen thousand to seventy five thousand dollars.

A non-federal match is not required. No more than 25% of your award may be used for administrative costs.

The National Park Service anticipates 20 to 25 awards for this grant round.

Our timeline for this year's URC Grant round: applications will close on July 18, 2023. Awards are anticipated in January of 2024.

Work can begin only after the grant is awarded and released by the National Park Service. The grant project period is two years from the date of the award.

Next we're going to go through the application process itself.

When you're preparing to apply for a URC Grant the first thing you'll do is go to the grants.gov website.

Register for a user account for yourself or identify the person within your organization who already has a grants.gov account with the appropriate roles. In order to submit an application you have to have a grants.gov account in order to apply for a URC Grant.

Once you're in grants.gov, you can review and download the notice of funding opportunity (also known as NOFO) and related application documents and forms.

Sam.gov is also an important part of grant application prep.

You need to ensure that your organization's registration in sam.gov is current.

Renewal or new registration can take several weeks so please start early, and grants cannot be awarded or modified if SAM registration is lapsed.

When preparing to apply, you need to know your organization's unique entity identifier (or UEI). This combination of letters and numbers replaced the DUNS number in Spring of 2022.

The UEI is available at sam.gov. If you run into issues with grants.gov or sam.gov, contact their help desks for assistance. National Park Service staff cannot assist with login or technical issues for these sites.

Once you've got grants.gov and sam.gov done, you can review the NOFO and application materials from grants.gov and familiarize yourself with all of the forms and the criteria for evaluation.

Make sure when you're in grants.gov you click on the related documents tab to make sure you don't miss any info or application forms that you need to complete your Grant application.

Let's talk about application materials.

Your application must include all of the items that are listed in the notice of funding opportunities.

Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.

Your application materials that are located in the manage workspace tab on grants.gov include the SF 424 (Application for Financial Assistance), the SF 424A (Budget Information for Non-construction Programs) the SF 424B (Assurance for Non-construction Programs), the Project Abstract Summary form, and the Attachment Form.

The application materials that are located in the related documents tab on grants.gov include the Project Description Worksheet (this is where your narratives and timeline go), the Budget Justification Worksheet, the Project Images Worksheet, the Indirect Cost Statement and letters of support, and letters of owner consent which may be applicable to your project.

In your Project Description Worksheet you will explain how your project meets each of the evaluation criteria.

There are four and they are weighted equally at 25 points each. Significance, Need, Urgency and Threat, Feasibility, and Sustainability.

Within your Project Narrative, project descriptions must address each of the evaluation criteria separately. Applications will be reviewed against this rubric as part of the merit evaluation process.

The Park Service will evaluate and consider only those applications that separately address each of the four criteria for evaluation.

In your Project Narrative, each criterion is limited to 6,000 characters including spaces.

Likewise, a separate project timeline is also limited to 6,000 characters including spaces.

No additional sections will be reviewed. A Project Description Worksheet is included under the related documents tab on grants.gov

The Project Description Worksheet is the narrative description of the resource, what you're planning to do to it, and why you need to do it, as well as who will be doing the work.

The Project Description Worksheet contains each of the four evaluation criteria, as well as a space for your project timeline.

Within the Project Description Worksheet, ensure that you respond to all of the points of each criteria. Be clear and concise, be specific with your program tasks, relate your narrative to your budget worksheet, and make sure that you include time for reviews of your submitted materials in your project timeline.

We've discussed the Project Description Worksheet. Let's move on to the Budget Worksheet.

Let's discuss the three main cost categories on your Budget Worksheet. Program costs are costs required to achieve the purpose of the grant and accomplish the tasks in the Statement of Work. This includes things like preparing RFPs and reviewing proposals, consultant and contractor management, survey and nomination work, project specific tasks. Program costs should be 75% to 100% of your budget.

Administrative costs on the other hand are costs that are required to administer the grant. Things like reporting, contract management, and payment. Administrative and indirect costs combined may be no more than 25% of your grant.

Indirect costs cannot be directly attributed to the grant - things like utilities and payroll. Indirect costs are calculated as a percentage of eligible costs. You may elect not to claim any indirect costs. If you do, however, an indirect cost rate letter is needed.

Indirect cost rates are determined three ways: Your organization can negotiate an indirect cost rate with the Department of the Interior; You may have a negotiated indirect cost rate with another Federal agency (in both cases you need to submit an indirect cost rate letter); or you may take the de minimis, which is 10% of the modified total direct costs. A reminder that your indirect costs come out of the grant budget - this is not in addition to your award this is part of your award - and that administrative and indirect costs combined may be no more than 25% of your grant.

A few websites to find more helpful information: For tips and an FAQ, go.nps.gov/apptips. For an application checklist to show you everything you need to have for a successful application, visit go.nps.gov/urc-checklist. To look at sample applications, visit go.nps.gov/hpfapply.

Some good advice for a successful URC Grant application: Give yourself plenty of time. Make sure that your narratives demonstrate your understanding of the program and explain how your project is relevant to program objectives. Be sure that your narratives address the criteria for evaluation. Use the fillable Project Description Worksheet and don't exceed the character limit. Ask someone unfamiliar with the project to read your application and give you feedback.

A little more advice for a successful application: Ensure that your budget supports the work outlined in your narratives. Your budget and your narrative should work together. Check that your Budget Worksheet matches your SF 424 form, and that you do not exceed the limits for administrative and indirect costs. Gather all of your completed materials before logging into grants.gov to submit your application and expect glitches and system outages.

Plan to submit your application well before the July 18th deadline.

If you have questions you may email us at stlpg@nps.gov, and for more information visit go.nps.gov/urc

URC applications for Fiscal Year 2023 are open now! Submit applications through grants.gov using Opportunity Number P23AS00473.

Applications are due July 18, 2023.

The Underrepresented Communities Grant is part of the Cultural Resources Partnerships and Science Directorate - State, Tribal, Local Plans and Grants Division of the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior.

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16 minutes, 45 seconds

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.

Last updated: April 24, 2023