For the last several months, NCM has collaborated with a team from Grants Plus, the nation’s leading grant firm, to assess the landscape of grant funding opportunities and develop a strategic grant-seeking strategy. These partners work with staff from all departments as specific expertise or insight is needed.
The Museum has identified Federal Grants as a key untapped source that could support activities related to pursuing the American Alliance of Museums accreditation process. In May, Grants Plus created NCM’s first-ever federal application. This funding opportunity, from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is a challenge grant for infrastructure and capacity building that could provide up to $300,000 for an exhibit renovation project. If chosen, NEH will match gifts made to the NCM on a 1:1 ratio up to $150,000 – theoretically making up the entire $300,000. This opportunity is unique, as challenge grants are designed to double the impact of each gift and involve those who already have an established relationship with the Museum. With support from community members like Warren County Judge Executive, Doug Gorman, Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitor Bureau Executive Director, Sherry Murphy, and State Senator, Max Wise, who wrote letters of support for this first proposal. We expect to hear back about the status of our application towards the end of the year.
In the fall, the NCM will apply for an opportunity from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences that offers another six-figure gift with the potential to help us make great strides in our expansion efforts. While cautiously optimistic, we are actively looking for other major gift opportunities to support the expansion of the NCM. Corporate and private foundation opportunities have been identified, and NCM staff are working towards building relationships with those key contacts to secure invitations to submit a proposal.
In terms of upcoming work, Grants Plus will be working hand in hand with Interim Director of Collections, Leah Craig, and the rest of our collections team as we try to not only add valuable pieces to our collection, but also expand and improve the space in which these items are stored and the processes that direct how they are handled.
While our NCM members leave us no room to doubt their commitment to the Museum and its mission, we want to show how we are actively working to increase revenue streams and diversify our income. As we apply for grants moving forward, we not only hope to secure funding to support the NCM’s growth but also build visibility and credibility with individuals and organizations nationwide.