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Special Projects Grants

Q: What are 1:1 matching secured funds?

Secured funds are those which are “in-hand”; 1:1 matching funds are required for DAR grant applications when the total project is no more than twice the amount of the grant request.  If the total project exceeds twice the amount of the grant request, the applicant must have secured funds to complete the total project, less the amount of the DAR grant request.    

Example: A project will cost $5,000; a grant application may be written for $2,500, provided the applying entity has secured $2,500 to match the requested grant amount (1:1 matching secured funds). 

Example:  A project will cost $30,000; a grant application may be written for $10,000 provided the applicant has secured funds of $20,000. This requirement also applies to large dollar projects; i.e. a project will cost $1,000,000.  In order for an applicant to request a $10,000 grant, the applicant must have secured funds of $990,000 in order to assure DAR of completion of the total large dollar project. 

Matching funds may include secured funds from individual donors, businesses, non-profit organizations or completed fundraising. Matching funds are acceptable from third parties and multiple donor sources. Matching funds are not required to come from the organization applying for the grant.

In-kind contributions may not be used as matching funds.

Q: We are a 501(c)(3) private foundation; may we submit a grant application?

Grant applications from private foundations are not accepted. Only 501(c)(3) public charities may apply for a Special Projects Grant.

Q: What disqualifies a grant proposal from being judged?

Examples of reasons which may disqualify a grant proposal include:

  • More than ten single sided pages
  • Page one of the IRS public charity 501(c)(3) tax determination letter is not included or name of grant applicant and name on IRS tax determination letter are not the same (proof of “aka” or “dba” is required)
  • Applying entity is not current on its IRS 990/EZ/N tax filing
  • Ineligible project:
    • event, production, drama, camp, admission fee, etc., (projects must support permanent or lasting programs rather than events or short-term projects)
    • building or site improvements/maintenance with no historic preservation significance (i.e., upgrades or updates to electrical or plumbing systems, etc.)
    • renovations to historic buildings for repurposing, partially or fully, to commercial space (must be for historic preservation uses, i.e., museum or exhibit)
  • Failure to list 1:1 matching secured funds
  • Inadequate funds to complete the total project (all phases of a project, if phased)
  • Ineligible expenses included in project budget
  • Time frame to complete the grant project exceeds one year from the grant funding date
  • Project, or phase of project, has begun, or will begin, before announcement of success of grant application (by May 1st)
Q: What types of expenses are not allowed for inclusion in a project budget?

The following are not eligible to be included in a DAR grant application project budget: administrative or operating expenses, travel costs, motor vehicles, mileage, lodging, meals, room rental, beverages or food, endowments, costs relating to fundraising campaigns or politically motivated activities, etc. Annual conferences, trips, camps, workshops, events or productions, etc. are not eligible. Administrative costs such as salaries, postage, office supplies, printing, invitations, marketing/advertising, etc. are ineligible. Security systems, elevators, awnings, landscaping, asbestos removal, septic systems, driveway paving, handicapped ramps, tree removal, inspections, architectural reviews, structural reports, permits, studies, etc. are disallowed.

An applicant’s annual operating budget is not accepted in lieu of a project budget.

Examples of acceptable expenses for a historical building restoration include:

  • A furnace or climate control system essential to maintain the integrity of the building
  • A roof or roof repair which is necessary to protect the building from damage or to restore it to its original historical architecture
  • Restoration or repair of windows to the building’s original historical state 
Q: If we received a grant last year for a phase of a large dollar project and it has been completed, may we apply for grant funding for another phase of the project this year?

There has been a change in this restriction as of 2014.  Grant funding will be awarded to a successful applicant only once during a DAR administration. Example: Grantees awarded funds during the July 2013 – June 2016 national administration are eligible to apply for an additional grant, for another phase of the same project or for a different project, during any year of  a subsequent administration (July 2016 – June 2019, etc.).

Q: Are grant applications accepted throughout the year, up to the December 31 deadline?

Yes, a grant application may be submitted at any time prior to the annual December 31 postmark deadline. However, grant applications are held until the postmark deadline has passed and are sent in a group to the judges. Before an application is finalized, it is strongly recommended that the writer revisit the program’s webpages to learn of any updates or revisions. 

Q: Our non-profit is holding fundraising events this year and next to raise matching funds for a project. Can we apply for a grant this year?

No, all 1:1 matching funds must be currently secured and listed on the grant application. Funds anticipated from FUTURE fundraising, donations, contributions, income, phased pledges, tax credits, etc. do not qualify as secured funds, either for 1:1 matching funds or for funds to complete a total project.

Q: Our project has three phases. Would the 1:1 matching funds need to be secured and expended during the same timeframe as specified in the grant application?

Yes. Matching secured funds must be available and expended during the same period as provided in the grant application.

Q: Our Library is considering having historical records and documents digitalized. Would these expenses qualify for a grant?

Yes, technology expenses are acceptable as tangible projects.

Q: When is a list of the awarded grants posted?

Successful grant applicants are notified by the national chairman by May 1, and furnished with a grant agreement form. By June 1, the national chairman posts the official list of grants awarded, after receiving the signed grant agreement form and proof documentation of matching funds from each awarded grantee. The entity name and brief description of the project are posted.

Q: Are notifications made to grant applicants not approved?

Grant applicants whose proposals are not awarded receive a standard notification via email by May 15. This is a courtesy notification by DAR to allow grant applicants to seek other funding sources for their projects.

Q: We have questions regarding our particular project; may we contact the committee directly?

Questions are encouraged to be emailed to the national chair at any time.  Send your questions to