Call for Proposals for Community-Based Archives

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

View website    Save
Crystal ball icon
Predicted Deadline
The next cycle for this opportunity is predicted based on past data. If you save this grant, we’ll notify you if there are any changes.

Next predicted deadline: Jun 25, 2022 6:00am PDT (Pre proposal)

Later predicted deadlines: Jul 2, 2022 6:00am PDT (Full proposal)

Grant amount: US $50,000 - US $100,000

Fields of work: Historical Records & Archives

Applicant type: Nonprofit, Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Project / Program, Education / Outreach, General Operating Expense

Location of project: United States, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico Show all

Location of residency: United States, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico Show all

990 Snapshot



Note: Applicants must complete a registration request by the pre-proposal deadline.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation invites community-based archives in the United States and its territories to submit applications for its 2021 Call for Proposals to Community-Based Archives.

These grants will provide support to archives in one or more of the following areas of need:

  • Operational costs, including staff, space, and utilities.
  • Collections care, including the acquisition of new materials, physical and digital storage fees, and access and preservation efforts.
  • Programming activities, including events, exhibitions, and publications.
  • Activation and advocacy efforts, including resident community activist/archivist positions, ethical preservation of social media, and increased community use of the archive.

This funding opportunity is overseen by the Foundation's Public Knowledge program.

About this Grant Program

For the purposes of this call, community-based archives are defined as collections of materials gathered, collected, and shared primarily by members of a marginalized community to document their collective histories. These archives play an important role in combating what UCLA Assistant Professor of Archival Studies Michelle Caswell calls the “symbolic annihilation” of marginalized communities from mainstream memory institutions, and are essential to the creation of a more inclusive and polyvocal American story. 

Over the course of two open calls for proposals in direct support of these archives, the Foundation has awarded almost $3 million to over 30 organizations. This year, the Foundation plans to make $1.5 million in grants for a third and final cohort of archives through this program, with preference given to those organizations planning to activate their archive through community-led advocacy and activation efforts.

About the 2021 Call for Proposals

The 2021 Call for Proposals to Community-Based Archives is now open. Through this program, direct support will be provided to community-based archives that represent and serve communities marginalized due to oppression based on race, ethnicity, national origin, class, gender, sexuality, religion, or ability. This year, the Foundation plans to prioritize those applications that are based in community advocacy and archive activation efforts.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Organizations that respond to this Call for Proposals must:
    • Be located within the United States or one of its territories.
    • Have tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) public charity, have an organization with 501(c)(3) public charity status serving as a fiscal sponsor, or be a federally recognized Indian tribe.
    • Have an archive with an annual operating budget of at least $50,000 and no more than $750,000. In-kind donations towards occupancy costs may be used to calculate the total operating budget.
    • Have an established and actively collecting archive that has been in operation for two or more years. This funding cannot be used to create a new archive.


  • The Foundation plans to prioritize those applications that are based in community advocacy and archive activation efforts.


  • Applications from universities or historical societies will not be considered for this call for proposals.
  • Please note that the Foundation does not make grants to individuals or K-12 initiatives.
  • Grant awards cannot be used to:
    • Support lobbying activity or otherwise support attempts to influence local, state, federal, or foreign legislation.
    • Influence the outcome of any election for public office or to carry out any voter registration drives.


This page was last reviewed May 17, 2021 and last updated May 17, 2021