Riders on the Great Allegheny Passage, one of the projects funded by the Mini-Grant program in 2022.
About the Mini-Grant Program
Rivers of Steel’s Mini-Grant Program assists heritage-related sites and organizations as well as municipalities within the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area to develop new and innovative programs, partnerships, exhibits, tours, and other initiatives. Funded projects support heritage tourism, enhance preservation efforts, involve the stewardship of natural resources, encourage outdoor recreation, and include collaborative partnerships. Through these efforts, Rivers of Steel seeks to identify, conserve, promote, and interpret the industrial and cultural heritage that defines southwestern Pennsylvania.
Community Spotlight Stories
Mini-Grant recipients are featured in Rivers of Steel’s Community Spotlight series. These articles features the efforts Rivers of Steel’s partner organizations, along with collaborative partnerships, that reflect the diversity and vibrancy of the communities within the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.
Note: The Community Spotlight series is not limitied to Mini-Grant partners. It also highlights Rivers of Steel’s partners from other community-based and creative placemaking initiatives.
Mini-Grant Funding—2023 – 2024
Rivers of Steel is currently not accepting applications for its Mini-Grant Program, which assists heritage-related sites and organizations, as well as municipalities, within the borders of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. The Mini-Grants may be used to develop new and innovative programs, partnerships, exhibits, tours, and other initiatives that are consistent with the mission and vision outlined in Rivers of Steel’s Management Action Plan. The Mini-Grant program is funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, via DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program, the Heritage Areas Program Fund, and the Environmental Stewardship Fund.
Proposals that increase heritage tourism, enhance preservation efforts, involve the stewardship of natural resources, encourage outdoor recreation and/or include collaborative partnerships are strongly encouraged. Please review the following schedule.
Request for Proposals: The application window is now closed.
If you are not ready to apply, but would like to be notified of upcoming funding opportunities, sign up here to be notified about future application windows.
Application Deadline: Wednesday, November 15, 2023 by 5:00 p.m. EDT
Grant Awards Announced: Award recipients will be notified by February 2024.
Rivers of Steel works to conserve the industrial and cultural heritage that defines southwestern Pennsylvania. Through its Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area program, Rivers of Steel champions the region’s natural, cultural, educational, recreational, and industrial resources as key components for preserving the region’s heritage, focusing on developing a sense of place, as well as contributing to the economic vibrancy of the region’s citizens and communities.
Applications are ranked using the following criteria: 1) a detailed and complete project narrative, 2) budget, 3) alignment for heritage tourism development, 4) and project outcomes.
The past three grant cycles, special consideration has been given to organizations that are black- and/or minority-led organizations or organizations that primarily serve BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) audiences and communities. Rivers of Steel reiterates our long-held belief in diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion and strengthens our commitment to fighting systemic racism and discrimination against people of color amidst the nationwide call for ending racism.
Nonprofit organizations with a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status, local governments, and educational institutions are all eligible for the Mini-Grant Program. All projects must be within or across Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington, or Westmoreland Counties and have a significant connection to the mission of Rivers of Steel. Grant requests for a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $25,000 will be considered. Applicants must match (at a 1:1 ratio) these grant funds with additional funding and/or pre-approved eligible non-cash (in-kind / volunteer) services.
About Rivers of Steel
Founded on the principles of heritage development, community partnership, and a reverence for the region’s natural and shared resources, Rivers of Steel strengthens the economic and cultural fabric of western Pennsylvania by fostering dynamic initiatives and transformative experiences.
Rivers of Steel showcases the artistry and innovation of our region’s industrial and cultural heritage through its historical and 21st-century attractions―offering unique experiences via tours, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and more. Behind the scenes, Rivers of Steel supports economic revitalization—working at the grassroots level to deepen community partnerships, promote heritage tourism, and preserve local recreational and cultural resources for future generations.
About the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
This eight-county region is one of 62 designated National Heritage Areas designated by the U.S. Congress and one of 12 Pennsylvania State Heritage Areas. A National Heritage Area is a place of national significance to America. For Rivers of Steel, Congress recognized the industrial and cultural heritage of southwestern Pennsylvania. Through a public-private partnership with the National Park Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Rivers of Steel supports heritage conservation, heritage tourism, and outdoor recreation as a means to foster economic redevelopment and enhance cultural engagement.