An extraordinary system of cultural and historical resources.

Community Enhancement Grants

Looking for Money for Your History Project?

A Closer Look

Need more information?  Contact:

Rosemary McClenahan

Fiscal Officer
Idaho State Historical Society
2205 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, ID  83712
(208) 514-2307 or E-mail

The Idaho State Historical Society Community Grants program might be for you.  We fund exhibits, publications, educational programs, events, and a variety of other projects; we can help you purchase things like archival supplies and computer hardware and software.  Take a look; see if we can help.

Others Can Help with Your History Project

The State Historical Records Advisory Board can assist in preserving and digitizing records. The Governor’s Lewis and Clark Trail Committee provides funds for programs that tell the story of Lewis and Clark or their trail in Idaho. The Idaho Humanities Council gives grants that promote greater awareness, appreciation, and public understanding of history and other humanities disciplines. The Idaho Heritage Trust provides funding and technical assistance to preserve the historic fabric of Idaho.

Grant Guidelines, 2014

Purpose:  The Idaho State Historical Society aids cultural and historical organizations in preserving, interpreting, and protecting the history and culture of Idaho.  ISHS believes the best way to preserve Idaho’s heritage is through strong partnerships, and with its grants program, assists partner organizations in their projects. 

How Much Money Can We Get?  The minimum grant amount is $500; the maximum is $2,500.  All grants must be matched on a dollar for dollar basis, either cash or in-kind.

How Long Do we Have to Spend the Money?  Projects must be completed by May 31 of the fiscal year in which the grant was awarded.  A fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.  You will hear whether or not you received your grant in October, so you will have until the end of the following May to expend your funds.

When Do We Get a Check From ISHS?  These are reimbursable funds; you will pay the bills and then submit an invoice to ISHS to receive your reimbursement.

What are ISHS's Priorities in Determining What to Fund?
  • Operations and administration: Membership recruitment, fundraising, development of board policies and procedures, management assessment, etc. 
  • Collections management:  Storage materials and shelving, equipment for computerization of collections, etc.
  • Public access/interpretation:  Improvements in lighting, exhibit design and construction, exhibit labeling, educational programming, signage, etc.
  • Heritage tours
Can You Provide Some Examples of Acceptable Grant Projects?
  • Exhibits
  • Publications/brochures and website development/maintenance
  • Purchase of supplies and equipment (computers, audio/video/camera equipment, software, conservation materials, archival materials, storage shelving)
  • Educational programs (symposia, curriculum development, teacher workshops, speakers, programs, traveling trunks)
  • Oral/video history projects
  • Design and construction of outdoor interpretive signs, kiosks, and exhibits (must comply, if appropriate, with city, county, state, and/or federal signage regulations, including environmental regulations)
  • Support for assistance (including professional contract assistance) for membership enhancement, fundraising, and developing board policies, and procedures
  • Events (must be historically accurate if depicting a historical event)
  • Non-structural enhancements to buildings to better preserve and/or exhibit materials, such as lighting, security systems, fireproof filing cabinets
  • Projects designed to enhance cultural/heritage tourism
What are Some Projects ISHS Cannot Fund?
  • Land acquisition
  • Building construction, demolition, or removal
  • Long-term leasing of real property
  • Infrastructure needs, such as roads, sewers, sidewalks
What Do You Mean by Matching Funds? 

ISHS requires at least a dollar for dollar match on all grants.  If you receive a grant for $1,000, you have to match it with $1,000.  Match may be in the form of cash or in-kind.  In-kind match usually means the market value of contributed labor, services, or supplies.  For general volunteer work at such things as writing exhibit label copy or administering a grant, you can use the rate of $25 per hour for in-kind match.  If a professional volunteers his/her time to the project doing the type of work that s/he normally does for pay, that professional’s hourly figure can be used.  For example, if an electrician volunteers to install lights in new exhibit cases, you can use his/her regular hourly figure for match.

Who is Eligible to Apply? 

Idaho non-profit organizations whose mission is focused on history, historic preservation, or education, as well as tribal, city, and county governments.  State and federal agencies are not eligible, but may partner with an eligible organization.

Interested?  Download application.