sagharbor-obgc-funding

Some of the more traditional big money grants like the NHPRC and the Mellon Foundation have descriptions in their guidelines that would discourage or simply refuse a project like the Sag Harbor Old Burying Ground's website. The NHPRC descriptive information focuses extensively on words like archival collections, record groups, and other information that indicates they would probably not welcome a collection of records of a very different nature, like gravestones. Additionally, their mission seems like it is not a true fit to the Old Burying Ground Committee's project.

The Mellon Foundation's reluctance to digitize projects, and their focus on working only with scholarly information on the national level would also make it hard for them to appreciate the Burying Ground Committee's project's more local focus and digital format.

With some restructuring, the IMLS Coming Up Taller program's $10,000 awards to 10 programs could offer a reasonable hope for funding due to the local focus and some of the child-friendly exhibitions, especially if this website partnered with local schools for outreach. However, this would take more interpretive materials, and it would require restructuring the role of children in the process, which makes it likely that other sources are more reliable.

This makes the best source for large scale funding the New York Council for the Humanities grants, which come in both the major and minor categories. Obviously, the $20,000 major grants are much more appealing and substantive, but either type would be ideal for this project.

The IMLS offers several grants that are arguably appropriate. The Conservation Assessment grants offered by the IMLS could be useful if the Omeka metadata included more details on the stone damage. The Save America's Treasures program is run through IMLS, and this program would include artifacts.

The NEH grants would technically allow the Old Burying Ground project, but the NEH has a national focus, and their funders may not feel this digitization project is nationally focused enough to merit their funding.

Local Resources:
The Sag Harbor Old Burying Ground Committee faces a unique position of possibly working with several local donors. The Committee could appeal to local organizations like the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) which does not typically give large grants, but it is known for stepping in to fund raise for special rescue missions and one-time projects.

There are also several wealthy private donors in the area. Dolores Zebrowski has privately patronized the organization for several years, and there are several other wealthy donors willing to step up private funding for specific projects or causes, known best on the community level.

While there are two foundations in Sag Harbor that have substantial sums of money and have an interest in volunteer and community projects, with no reasons to bar this project, they only give to pre-selected groups. It is worth (due to the size of their funds and the small community nature of Sag Harbor) networking to try to work with the Sony and Maurice Schotland Foundation and the Grayling Foundation. The Gardner Cowles III Foundation gives approximately $75,000 in grants every year, and they are also based in Sag Harbor, with a focus on art and education. It would be worth applying to them for funding for the work documenting gravestones with artwork and developing the exhibit sections, particularly the one focusing on gravestone artwork.

The best fit with a private foundation was the Solow Art and Architecture Fund, which has a strong interest in History and Historic Preservation. The Solow Foundation gives several million dollars every year (almost $2 million in giving, but over $4 million distributed…?), and their interest in history, archaeology, and preservation would fit beautifully with the subject matter of this project.

The B. and R. Knapp Foundation focuses more on operating funds than projects, but they support both history and preservation/archaelogy. While they are interested in Jewish History and Culture, the match seems strong enough, along with their giving history that they are worth approaching.

Expanding the search, there are several organizations interested in History in the New York area, including the Hohmann Foundation, which has a history of funding Museums and History, along with Botanical Gardens and Protestant Churches, which combine many elements related to the Burying Ground. They give over a quarter of a million dollars every year and they accept applications, although their giving is primarily based in New York City. Similarly, the Frederick and Sharon Klingenstein Fund works mostly with museums, community, and history, but their geographic focus is New York City. They are worth approaching, and they accept applications. The give almost half a million dollars every year, and their strong interest in history, museums, and art makes them more likely.

The Betts Foundation is also worth approaching, since they focus on a variety of connected organizations like museums, libraries, history, and parks/recreation, and they are interested in Connecticut and New York, making Long Island more likely to merit their attention than the Hohmann Foundation.

Despite their focus on Jewish History, the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation seems to have supported several library and museum projects, and they want applications with clear timelines and similar details to the NEH-style. They also have an interest in preservation and archaeology, along with history, which makes them a better candidate.

A questionable but still good candidate to approach is based in New Jersey, the Jean and Charles Segal Foundation, which is interested in Museums, History, and Community Development, which are deeply linked to this project. They give about $36,000 every year, but the interests seem to fit very well, but both the Segal Foundation and the Long Island based Slade Foundation, have a strong interest in Jewish History, which does not have a strong match to this project. However, the Segal Foundation has given funding to organizations that have little or nothing to do with Jewish History, like a county Mental Health Association.

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