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Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

Heritage Area program will give out $350,000 in 2006

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The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area has announced its 2006 Heritage Grants Program, which will provide and leverage funding for innovative projects that preserve and promote the heritage of Western North Carolina.

This year’s grant cycle will focus on projects identified and included in local heritage development plans prepared by volunteer Heritage Councils in the Cherokee Qualla Boundary and in each of the 25 counties that comprise the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.

“We’ve seen a lot of great project ideas come from local community planning,” says BRNHA Executive Director Penn Dameron. “We are keen to help move these project ideas forward, especially those that will have a regional or multi-county impact.”

The current grant cycle will also focus on the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s core cultural themes of craft, music, agriculture, and Cherokee heritage — distinctive cultural legacies that formed the basis of the region’s National Heritage Area designation.

“Preserving and promoting the unique heritage of the North Carolina mountains will help revitalize our towns and communities,” says Janice Brumit, BRNHA Board Chair.

The total pool of funding for the 2006 grant cycle is $350,000. Grant awards will range between $1,000 and $50,000; applicants must provide at least an equal match. Nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and units of state, local, and federally-recognized tribal governments are eligible to apply. Projects must be located in the 25-county region of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area or the Cherokee Qualla Boundary. Funds for the BRNHA grants program are provided by the federal government through the National Park Service.

The deadline for grant applications is Oct. 2, 2006. Applicants are required to attend one of five grant information sessions scheduled around the region in late June and July. Complete information on the 2006 Heritage Grants Program can be found on the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Web site, www.blueridgeheritage.com.

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, designated by Congress and the president in November 2003, works to protect, preserve, interpret, and develop the unique natural, historical, and cultural resources of Western North Carolina for the benefit of present and future generations, and in so doing to stimulate improved economic opportunity in the region.

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