National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Capacity Building for Historically Black Colleges and Universities Archives

FY 2025 Grant Announcement: (Initial)

Through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the National Archives support projects that promote access to America’s historical records to encourage understanding of our democracy, history, and culture.

The following grant application information is for Capacity Building for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Archives

Funding Opportunity Number: HBCU-ARCHIVES-202411

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 89.003

Draft Deadline: August 15, 2024

Final Deadline: November 7, 2024

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2025.

Agency Contact

Before beginning the process, applicants should contact NHPRC Director for Access Programs Anastacia Scott ( who may:

  • Advise the applicant about the review process;
  • Answer questions about what activities are eligible for support;
  • Read and comment on a preliminary draft.

Grant Program Description

The Commission seeks applications from collaborative teams involving Historically Black College and University-based repositories, libraries, research centers, and/or other archival or community-based archival entities serving to build capacity at HBCUs, working together to advance the capacity and effectiveness of HBCU archives to care for their collections and make them discoverable and accessible to the public and to the broader field of researchers, students, and teachers. The collaborative teams should demonstrate a commitment to building meaningful, mutually-beneficial and respectful collaborations by promoting resource sharing and capacity building at all levels.

Collaborative teams also must demonstrate commitment to institutional advancement and capacity-building for small and underserved HBCU archives and repositories, especially those organizations with missions to serve a collective of HBCUs; strengthen the archival ecosystem that supports HBCU collections and history; and/or service similar organizations that preserve collections that document African American or other marginalized histories.

Prospective applicants to the Capacity Building for HBCU Archives program may:

  • share affinities among the scope and subject matter of their collections; and/or
  • provide a service or services to a member-based collective, consortium, or alliance of similar organizations; and/or
  • serve similar types of user communities such as HBCUs.


Competitive proposals will focus on one or more of the following areas:


Education and Training

  • To provide archival training for working professionals and other stakeholders currently working in HBCU libraries and archives that have insufficient archival training but whose essential job duties require archival activities on a regular basis. Such training should equip working professionals with practical archival tools, skills, and best practices to integrate into their daily work and archival processes at their home institution.
  • To provide education and training for HBCU archivists and other stakeholders on current electronic records systems and related tools and best practices for preserving, arranging, processing, and describing these and other born-digital and digitized records collections.
  • To create a “traveling archivist” or similar field-service program that will send professional archivists and librarians to provide high quality assistance on-site.  Library or archival staff at partnering HBCU repositories will receive practical and affordable recommendations they can undertake to improve collection preservation and access. For example, activities can include a site visit to the participating repository and a survey of their collections followed by specific recommendations made by the traveling or visiting archivist. 
  • To provide archival education and training programs, in collaboration with community-based archives or other local cultural memory entities, to cultivate a community of practice that can lead to cost-savings and long-term sustainability for HBCU archives.


Capacity Building

  • To hire consultants to assist archives and libraries at HBCUs to develop basic planning and process documents to enhance eligibility for higher levels of funding. Examples include but are not limited to the development of strategic plans, collection management plans, preservation plans, emergency plans, digital infrastructure plans, sustainability plans, and/or climate action plans.
  • To provide direct assistance to HBCUs for the development of strategic plans and assessment documents to increase the capacity to sustain collections long term. Examples include but are not limited to preservation assessment, self-assessment, and/ or conservation assessment.
  • To develop or expand existing models for collaboration with community-based archives or consortia that support enhanced discovery, online access to, and expanded research use of HBCU archival collections.
  • To assist HBCU archives and their community-based partners in developing programs that leverage their collective professional knowledge, skills, and resources.


Preservation and Digitization Preparation 

  • To purchase or provide essential preservation needs, such as shelving, archival furniture, and related archival equipment or systems for collections management.
  • To purchase or provide essential archival rehousing supplies for collections at HBCUs. This includes but is not limited to protective enclosures and archival boxes and shelving.
  • To purchase or provide digitization equipment and accompanying training.


 ** If you have additional ideas for a possible application – whether involving one of the above suggested areas of focus, or another idea that builds the capacity of HBCU archives to care for and provide discovery and access to their collections – we strongly encourage you to get in touch to discuss your plans before drafting or making your application. All applicants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to submit draft materials for additional comment and feedback. (Drafts are due no later than August 15, 2024.)

Award Information

An HBCU Archives grant is for one year. Awards may range from $150,000 to $250,000 with the possibility of renewal up to two years. The NHPRC expects to make up to six grants in this category for up to $1,000,000.

Applications are due on November 7, 2024. Support for Capacity Building at HBCU Archives Grants begins no earlier than July 1, 2025.

The Commission requires that grant recipients acknowledge NHPRC grant assistance in all publications and other products that result from its support. 



Eligible applicants:

  • US nonprofit organizations including HBCUs, educational institutions serving HBCUs, and/or similar community-based organizations serving HBCUs.
  • Colleges, universities, and other academic institutions actively serving HBCUs.
  • State or local government agencies.

 Applications from and collaborations involving Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are strongly encouraged.


For a comprehensive list of the Commission’s limitations on funding, please see “What we do and do not fund.” Applications that consist entirely of ineligible activities will not be considered.

In order to ensure eligibility, applicants should first review the rules and regulations governing NHPRC grants under the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.


Cost Sharing

Cost sharing is not a requirement for this program.

However, the applicant's financial contribution may be included on the NHPRC Budget form.  Cost share may include both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. Indirect costs must be listed under the applicant’s cost sharing contribution. NHPRC grant recipients are not permitted to use grant funds for indirect costs (as indicated in 2 CFR 2600.101).


Other Requirements

Applicant organizations must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application, maintain SAM registration throughout the application and award process, and include a valid Unique Entity ID in their application. To register or request a Unique Entity ID, go to

Ensure your and registrations and passwords are current. It may take up to one month to register or reactivate your registration with and NHPRC will not grant deadline extensions for lack of registration.


Applicants should submit a draft proposal prior to making a formal application. Draft materials should include, at minimum, the project narrative and budget, and drafts should be sent directly to NHPRC Director for Access Programs Anastacia Scott (, who will review and provide comments on your proposal in time for you to make changes to a final application. The deadline for drafts in this program is August 15, 2024.

Application Information

You must use to submit your Proposal (see the right-hand menu for a direct link to the application for this opportunity). All information necessary to apply is included in this announcement, the Application Instructions, and the forms on If you need the information supplied in an alternative format, please call the NHPRC at 202-357-5010.

In the event that is experiencing technical difficulties that prevent submission, applicants must first attempt to resolve the issue with the Contact Center (800-518-4726). If cannot solve the problem, applicants may request an alternative. To make use of the NHPRC backup system, applicants must contact Jeff de la Concepcion ( no later than 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the deadline with their valid Contact Center trouble-ticket number. Applications that fail to meet deadlines for reasons other than those noted will not be considered for funding.

Preparing Your Application


Using the Application Instructions, fill out Standard Form 424 and the NHPRC Budget Form.

You will also prepare a Project Narrative and Supplementary Materials to attach to your Application Package.


Project Narrative for Capacity Building for HBCU Archives Grants

The Project Narrative is a description of the proposal. It should be no more than 20 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins and page numbers.

Please organize your narrative in sections:

  1. Statement of Purpose: In one or two sentences, please state the project's purpose, the collaborating institutions involved, and the amount you are requesting from NHPRC. For example: The [Institution], working in collaboration with [Institutions/organizations] is seeking a grant of [$ amount] for [what purposes].
  2. Overview: Share your project's overall purpose, the nature of the collaboration, the potential or committed partners for the collaboration, and how it will address capacity building and related archival needs at HBCU archives and libraries. What are the specific capacity and/or other needs your collaborative project seeks to address? How will your collaborative determine or select which (and how many) HBCUs your project may be able to serve, given available resources? How will you and your collaborative partners assess and address your own strengths and challenges in the assignment of your respective roles and responsibilities? Applicants should indicate what role they will play in the structure of the collaboration. Additionally:
    • For applications involving education and training, describe the curriculum to be implemented, plans for promotional outreach and selection of participants, and include more detailed description of curriculum development or training materials in the Supplemental Materials.
    • For applications involving a traveling archivist, please include a job description that outlines the duties and responsibilities of the position in the Supplemental Materials. The goals and activities of the position should be described in the appropriate sections of the Project Narrative.
    • For applications involving preservation and digitization preparation, describe the overall state of holdings for the respective HBCU archives to be served, how the proposed activities will address their respective needs, and how your collaborative will assist and prepare each for their next stage of institutional advancement.
  3. Plan of Work: Describe the plan of work for the grant period. Describe in detail the types of activities you intend to engage in and the relationships among them. Outline each stage of the planned work. Types of activities that are typical for these projects may include promotional outreach; collaborating to share best practices, tools, and techniques among member organizations; assessing archival needs, institutional strengths, and opportunities; and developing plans and management structures for implementing a collaborative project. The activities described in your plan of work should closely align with the expenditures outlined in your budget. Your plan of work should demonstrate how the Collaborative will help build capacity at small, diverse, and under-represented HBCU archives and their partner communities.
  4. Project Products: Describe the purpose, structure, and content of any products you plan to produce. These may include documentation; curriculum, training, and other educational products; websites, manuals; conference presentations; and articles; and/or brochures and pamphlets. The NHPRC expects that products will be freely and publicly available.
  5. Staff Qualifications: For the people or positions outlined in the proposal, provide a narrative explanation of the qualifications of the key staff and other collaborators who will contribute to the success of this project. Demonstrate that the project staff has the skills, background, and experience appropriate to the project. Explain the roles of all staff named in the project budget, both for those already on staff and for those to be hired. Include descriptions of outside project advisors, reviewers, and evaluators. In the Supplementary Materials, provide a résumé of not more than two pages per person for all staff named in the project budget. For those staff or consultants to be hired for the project, provide position descriptions, or call for consultants. List the names, titles, phone numbers, and email addresses of the Project Director and key personnel. Please ensure that the project director listed on this summary is the same person listed in Section 8 (f), of the SF-424. If your institution requires a different contact person on the SF-424, please explain in one sentence.
  6. Performance Objectives: List six to eight measurable objectives which will enable NHPRC staff to assess and measure progress toward project goals through the end of the proposed grant period. In developing your list of objectives, focus on quantifiable results that reflect what you intend to complete by the end of the grant period. For example, how many institutions will form the Collaborative and what specific activities will they be undertaking (and with what frequency)—e.g., how many educational training sessions will take place? How many archivists and/or institutional partners will receive the proposed education and/or training? How many Traveling Archivist consultations or assessments will be completed, and for how many HBCU archives?  How many people will be reached with outreach programming? 


Supplementary Materials

Prepare up to 20 pages of Supplementary Materials to your Narrative, such as:

  • Résumés of named staff members. Please use only institutional addresses and phone numbers. No more than two pages per staff member (required).
  • Position descriptions for staff to be hired with grant funds (required, if applicable).
  • Detailed work plan charts that supplement the plan of work described in the Narrative.
  • Detailed curriculum and/or training and participant selection plans (required for applicants in this category).
  • Letters of commitment (required for all collaborative partners). Letters of commitment should outline each collaborative partner’s understanding of their intended contributions to and responsibilities for the success of the overall project.

** If any of these materials are available online, please provide the URLs.


Project Budget

You must submit a budget on the NHPRC Budget Form available on the Application Instructions page. You may include with your application a narrative budget supplement for budget categories that require further detail. Provide specific budget figures, rounding to the nearest dollar.


Submission Dates and Times

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with staff and to submit draft materials for feedback before making their final application, but drafts are not required. Draft materials should be sent by email to Director for Access Programs Anastacia Scott ( and should include a narrative and budget.

  • Draft Deadline: August 15, 2024
  • Final Deadline: Applications must be submitted electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time November 7, 2024.

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2025.

Application Review

The NHPRC staff will acknowledge receipt of the application soon after we receive it. The following evaluation criteria and weights will be used by peer review panels and NHPRC staff:

  1. Quality and extent of the potential impact in increasing the capacity of small, diverse, and under-represented archives and repositories at HBCUs. (30 percent)
  2. Ability to complete the proposed plan, judged by the qualifications of the staff and reasonableness of the work plan and budget. (30 percent)
  3. Quality and extent of the proposed collaboration, including its ability to enhance, build upon, and include the capacities of all participants, and to further the planning, development, and implementation of the proposed activities. (25 percent)
  4. Effectiveness of the outreach and dissemination plans for the project's results. (15 percent)

Review Process

After submitting a proposal, do not discuss the pending application with any Member of the Commission. Commission members must ensure fair and equitable treatment of all applications and do not discuss proposals with individual applicants.

Peer Review Panel: We will ask 4-5 external peer reviewers to evaluate the proposal.

The Commission: Based on reviews and staff evaluations, Commission members deliberate on proposals and make funding recommendations to the Archivist of the United States who, as Commission Chairman, has final statutory authority and selects award recipients. Throughout this process, all members of the Commission and its staff follow conflict-of-interest rules to assure fair and equal treatment of every application.

Award Administration Information



Grants are contingent upon available appropriated funds. In some cases, the Commission will adjust grant amounts depending upon the number of recommended proposals and total budget. The Commission may recommend that the Archivist approve the proposal and extend an offer of a grant with applicable terms and conditions, or it may recommend rejection of the proposal.

Commission staff will notify applicants of the Archivist’s decision within two weeks following the meeting and will provide anonymous copies of reviewer comments to all applicants.

Successful applicants will receive an informal offer of award and be required to verify their acceptance of general terms and conditions and complete a statement on their Financial Capability and Accounting Systems.

Once these are received, reviewed and accepted, the NHPRC will issue an official award notice.


Administrative Requirements

In order to ensure that you can manage a grant, applicants should review the Federal grant administration rules and regulations governing grants from the NHPRC listed in the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.



Award recipients will report on their performance in narrative reports every six months and submit financial reports once a year.