The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation – Community-based Archives GrantsAndrew W. Mellon Foundation
Deadline: July 1, 2019

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation invites community-based archives in the United States and its territories to submit proposals to fund one or more of the following areas of need:

  • Operational support for the organization, including general support for staff, space, and utilities.
  • Collections care, including storage, cataloging, description, and preservation.
  • Programming and outreach activities, including collecting new materials, and exhibitions, publications, or other uses of the collections.

Since 2013, the Foundation’s Scholarly Communications program has been making a series of grants to help diversify the body of primary source evidence available to, for example, activists, artists, researchers in humanities fields, community historians, genealogists, teachers, and students. These grants were designed to support and strengthen a body of archival practice, called community-based archiving. Archival studies scholars Andrew Flinn, Mary Stevens, and Elizabeth Shepherd define community as “any manner of people who come together and present themselves as such,” and a community archive as “the product of their attempts to document the history of their commonality.” They further describe community archives as “collections of material gathered primarily by members of a given community and over whose use community members exercise some level of control.”

The Foundation plans to offer a total of $1 million in support of community-based archives in two annual calls for proposals, one in 2019 and the second in 2020. The 2019 Call for Proposals (CFP) is now open and directed towards community-based archives that represent and serve communities marginalized due to oppression based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, class, sexuality, religion, ability, and/or geographic location. For the purposes of this CFP, community-based archives must demonstrate that community members actively participate in their archival processes, making key decisions about what to collect and how.

Awards would range from $25,000 to $100,000, for grants of up to two years in length. Grant terms would begin on January 1, 2020 and would need to be completed by December 31, 2021. In the first round, up to $500,000 would be awarded. The Foundation would then convene the awardees in person and online over the course of the grant term to build a cohort of archives that would help and learn from each other.

Proposals will be evaluated by Foundation staff and outside reviewers. They will be judged on coherence, the evidence of need, and the likely benefits that would accrue for these archives and their communities from the proposed grant.

Click here for eligibility details and application instructions. The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2019.

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