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MDNHA announces new Grants Leadership Academy

MDNHA Board Chair Dr. Stuart Rockoff (right) with MDNHA/National Park Service Liaison Keena Graham (left) at Catfish Row Museum, a previous MDNHA grantee organization.

CLEVELAND, Miss.—The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) is announcing a revamped grants program, with the proposal application portal opening in summer 2022.

Known as the MDNHA Grants Leadership Academy, the retooled federally-funded grants program will feature a maximum grant value of $29,500 per project. Grantee organizations must match their proposed projects at least 1:1 with non-federal in-kind or cash resources.

Lower Mississippi River Foundation, a previous MDNHA grantee, supports stewardship and deep engagement with the Mississippi River.

Grantee organizations chosen for the inaugural 2022 cohort will participate in an intensive three-day training in federal grants management and compliance at Delta State University. Upon completion of the Grants Leadership Academy, organizations will be awarded funds to support the cultural heritage development project proposals that they submitted as part of their Grants Leadership Academy applications.On Wednesday, May 18 at 10:00 AM Central Time, MDNHA will offer a Grants Leadership Academy virtual pre-application information session. This session will cover how to prepare a proposal for the Grants Leadership Academy, the timeline for applications, and other relevant topics. The Zoom session will be free and open to the public. It will be accessible HERE and on the MDNHA website. Information on in-person application information sessions is forthcoming. If you have questions, you can reach the MDNHA team at“The Grants Leadership Academy is an improved approach to grant awarding for us based on developing grants management expertise in the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, executive director of the MDNHA. “The training grantees receive will not only help them in administering our grants, but also teach them how to apply for and administer other federal grants. We will be building capacity in the region, not only through the awarding of federal grant funds, but also through the infusion of knowledge.” In successive years, organizations that have completed the Grants Leadership Academy training previously will be considered for new grants on the merits of their project proposal applications and their organizational standing. Organizations that have not previously completed the Grants Leadership Academy will do so if they are selected as a grant awardee.

Alliance of National Heritage Area Spring Meeting 2022 attendees with Delta Health Center’s Robin Boyles. Delta Health Center is a previous MDNHA grantee organization.

“Every year, we hope to have new organizations completing the Grant Leadership Academy training,” said MDNHA Grants Management Specialist Todd Campbell. “And every year the Delta region will have more organizations with the institutional knowledge to go out and successfully apply for more federal grant opportunities.”Since 2016, MDNHA has awarded over $1 million in funds to organizations throughout the Mississippi Delta towards work focused on everything from music and folk art to civil rights history and the built environment. Grants have included projects such as documentary films, historic preservation projects, museum instillations, and learning opportunities for students. Though the structure of the grants program is evolving, its focus on the arts, history, economic development, and cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta remains intact. To learn more about the MDNHA’s cultural heritage themes, visit the “Culture & Heritage” section of the MDNHA website. The MDNHA includes 18 counties that contain land located in the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi Delta: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington, and Yazoo. The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the congressional legislation. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at mission of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships, and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the MDNHA and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops. For more information, visit