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The Diversity in Local History (DLH) grant program was funded by the Washington State Legislature to offer paid internships that support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives at heritage organizations across the state.

Through a competitive process, the Washington State Historical Society will provide grants up to $15,000 for projects that will partner emerging professionals in the heritage sector with local history museums and historical societies. The project/intern partnerships will enable organizations to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into their practices, and promote a long-term focus on inclusive history practices. The goal of this program is to support efforts to address institutional bias and implement new practices that aim to ensure collections, public programs, and internal policies serve all members of the community and advance inclusive history.

Grants will be distributed on a reimbursement basis only, meaning organizations must have sufficient funds on hand to pay the interns regularly and must provide documentation of that payment before receiving grant dollars. No match is required for this grant.

The Diversity in Local History Grants are open to all heritage organizations in Washington State, regardless of an existing track record of commitment to DEI work. WSHS recognizes that achieving equity is essential to the long-term health of the statewide heritage sector and seeks to support heritage organizations in moving forward with DEI work, from any starting point.

Thank you for your interest in this exciting new program.

Questions? Email our DEI Specialist, Andre Jimenez, at

Timeline and Important Dates

August 26, 2021 Grant application opens
September 16, 2021 Grant workshop (workshop recording, workshop slides)
October 5, 2021 Grant applications due
October 25, 2021 Grants awards announced; intern application opens
November 9, 2021 Internship workshop (register here)
November 29, 2021 Intern applications due
December 2021 Grantee contracting; project/intern pairing
January - June 2022 Project work and monitoring
June 30, 2022 Grant projects completed, final reports submitted

Program Guidelines

The Diversity in Local History grant program will be in two phases:

  1. Heritage organizations will submit applications with their proposed DEI-based projects.
  2. After the applications are reviewed and projects are selected, the internship application will open and intern applicants will be able to rank their interest in the awarded/available projects.

All prospective organization and intern applicants should carefully read the full program guidelines document before applying. The guidelines outline both the organization and intern phases of the application process and details program eligibility, criteria, and stipulations. Applicants are encouraged to view the workshop recording (link in the timeline) for further information about the program and expectations.

Download Guidelines (PDF)

Grant Workshop

Watch the recording of the grant workshop:

(PDF of workshop slides.)


All applications must be submitted through the Heritage Portal. You may create an account as either an organization or an intern. After an account is created, applicants will be able to access, edit, save, and submit their application forms. Check out the workshop recording (link in the timeline) for an application walkthrough!

  • Organization applications were due October 5, 2021 and are now CLOSED.
  • Intern applications will open October 25, 2021 and are due: November 29, 2021

Heritage Portal

(Please be aware that it can take 2-3 business days to create a portal account.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for this program?

Eligible organization applicants include nonprofits, tribal organizations, and local governmental entities in Washington State who have a mission to preserve and interpret history and heritage for the general public.

Eligible intern applicants must be:

a.) currently enrolled at an accredited institution of higher education in Washington State, or
b.) have graduated within the last two years and be currently residing in Washington State.

Both undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply. Prospective interns must have an academic area of focus in a field related to history topics. (See guidelines for more information.)

What kinds of projects will be funded?

Proposals must support the integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into an organization’s operations and promote a long-term focus on inclusive history practices.

Projects may be based in any aspect of a heritage organization’s functions, such as operations, exhibits, archives, or community engagement. Potential eligible project ideas might include:

  • Completing an organizational DEI assessment
  • Creating DEI policies and a public statement of commitment to equitable practices
  • Researching an organization’s history to better understand its relationship to marginalized groups in the past and plan for future inclusivity
  • Adapting current exhibits/programs to be more accessible to all audiences
  • Completing a collections audit to see what stories and histories are missing
  • Consulting with local Tribal nations to learn about and better interpret shared history
  • Beginning or increasing efforts toward researching or collecting stories from underrepresented groups in a community
  • Creating an exhibit or public program that builds on the diverse histories/stories an organization has begun researching and collecting

How much grant funding can an organization ask for?

Grant requests will be based on the number of project hours proposed for the student intern(s). Interns will be paid $18/hour and grant requests must be between 100-500 hours (roughly $1,800-$10,000) for a single intern or 200-800 hours (roughly $3,600-$15,000) for two interns.

Grants are awarded on a reimbursement basis only. Grantees must have sufficient funds on hand to pay interns at least twice per month throughout the project and grant funds will only be dispersed upon the grantee’s submittal of documentation of payment to the intern(s).

No match is required for this grant.

How will the grant applications be reviewed/scored?

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Degree to which the proposed project improves the diversity of the historical narrative of the applicant organization and/or helps bring DEI concepts and practices to applicant operations
  • Degree to which the proposed project will broaden the applicant organization’s audience, contribute to audience diversity, and leverage community engagement
  • Degree to which the proposed project promotes the long-term sustainability and stability of the applicant organization
  • Demonstration of the following:
    • Clearly identified project goals, outcomes, and deliverables
    • Commitment of organization to DEI work and ability of organization to leverage proposed project into future DEI planning and work
    • Adequate personnel, resources, and finances to support the project and intern
    • Realistic scope and timeframe of proposed project
  • Geographic distribution of funds
  • General quality and completeness of application

How do I apply?

All applications must be submitted through the Washington State Historical Society Heritage Portal, accessed at:

  • Organizations must create an organizational profile in the portal. (Multiple individuals may be affiliated with one organization and edit a grant request within the portal.)
  • Intern applicants will create an individual login only.

After a portal account has been registered, that registration will be reviewed; then, users will receive a confirmation email and will be able to set their password and login information. Please note that it can take 2-3 business days to complete the registration process.

Once registration is complete, users will be able to apply for the Diversity in Local History grant through the portal dashboard.