Maritime Washington Grant Program: Interpretation Grants FAQs

In this inaugural cycle, the Maritime Washington Grant Program will support projects related to the planning and implementation of interpretation initiatives centered on maritime heritage. We define “maritime heritage” broadly as the history and connection that people have with the marine environment. It includes tangible and intangible resources and encompasses cultural, historical, and natural resources.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t answered here, we encourage you to check out the detailed Program Guide, join Maritime Washington staff for virtual office hours on November 30 (register here), or contact us at [email protected].


How do I apply for a grant?

All applications must be submitted through our online form. Please plan to submit your application in one sitting. We strongly recommend downloading a copy of the application questions and preparing your answers in a separate document in advance of completing this form. Download a copy of the application questions here.

This video provides an overview of the grant program and application form, including tips for completing different sections of the application:

What do you mean when you say “Interpretation”?

“Interpretation” can include everything from exhibits and signage to walking tours and educational programs to webpages and podcasts. Interpretation has been defined in many ways:

Finances, Matching, and Reimbursements

You keep saying this program has a “matching” component—what does that mean?

A grant match means that the grantee must also contribute funds of their own—either cash expenditures or in-kind donations—towards the project. A 1:1 (e.g., one-to-one or 50%) match means that for every grant dollar awarded, the grantee will need to match it with a dollar of their own money or with donated goods, services, or volunteer labor.

Example: If an applicant is planning to implement a $10,000 exhibit installation, they would apply for $5,000 from the Maritime Washington Grant Program and plan to use $5,000 of their own funds.

What is the matching component for this grant program?

Interpretation Implementation Grants have a 1:1 matching component that can be fulfilled through dollars or in-kind donations of labor, materials, or equipment. This includes any time that your staff members (including full-time employees) spend on the project. Applicants may request up to 50% of their overall project expenses. This match must be demonstrated in the grant application. Please note that grantees cannot use federal funding as the source of their matching expenses.

Interpretation Planning Grants do not have a 1:1 match but will require documentation of the staff and volunteer hours spent on the project.

Can my match for this grant program be a retroactive expense?

Yes, retroactive expenses can count towards your match as long as the following conditions are met:

  • The retroactive expense occurred within the same federal fiscal year of the grant cycle. For our current grant cycle (Winter 2023), you can count any project-related expenses that occurred after October 1, 2023.
  • The retroactive expense must be directly related to the proposed project.

What is the process for actually receiving the money? How does reimbursement work?

Interpretation Implementation Grants are reimbursement grants, which means that projects must be financed up front and grant awards are only distributed on a reimbursement basis. Grantees may submit for reimbursement after their scope of work is complete and may also choose to submit one midway reimbursement request following the completion of a progress report. As you are preparing to request a reimbursement, please note:

As you are planning your finances, please allow about six weeks for reimbursements to be processed.

Interpretation Planning Grants are paid directly by Maritime Washington to the selected interpretive planner. Grant awardees will be expected to sign a letter of intent to work with the selected planner (including a payment schedule) as part of the grant contract process. Grantees will be required to submit signed timesheets documenting their own staff and volunteer time spent on the project upon completion.

Can I pay for staff time using Implementation Grant funds?

Yes! Your project budget can and should include staff time, including the time of your paid (including full-time salaried) employees.

Can I use volunteer time to match Implementation Grant funds?

Yes! You can and should include the value of volunteer time in your budget. General volunteer labor is valued at $37.63/hour for the State of Washington by If someone volunteers their professional services towards your project, you can value their time using the hourly rate they would charge a paying client and/or the appropriate professional rate.

Can I use an interpretive planner I’m already working with for the Planning Grant? Do I have to work with one of the planners this grant program has already identified?

Although this technical support is intended to match you with an interpretive planner, we understand that some applicants may already have a specific interpretive planner in mind that they would prefer to work with. If this is the case for you, please reach out to the Grant Administrators to discuss further. Email us at [email protected].

Eligibility and Multiple Applicants

Can an organization submit more than one application?

No, organizations are only allowed to submit one application for this grant cycle.

Can an organization submit one application for a Planning Grant and one application for an Implementation Grant?

No, organizations are only allowed to submit one application for this cycle.

My organization/institution is not near the heritage area, but I want to do an eligible activity. Am I still eligible?

Yes, but only if your project interprets resources and/or events that happened within the heritage area. Please note organizations and institutions that are closer to the National Heritage Area will be prioritized.

My organization/institution currently has a grant open with Maritime Washington National Heritage Area. Can I apply for another?

No, organizations may only have one grant open with Maritime Washington National Heritage Area at a time. You will be able to apply for another grant with us only after your current grant project concludes.

My organization/institution is not an official partner of the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area. Will this affect my application?

No, this grant program is open to everyone regardless of their partnership status. That said, becoming an official partner allows you to connect with additional resources that can support your organization. If you are interested in learning more about the partner network, we encourage you to check it out here.

The mission of the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area is to support a network that strengthens the maritime community and connects people with the stories, experiences, resources, and cultures of our state’s saltwater shores and waterways. The Maritime Washington Grant Program is one of the ways in which we are working to achieve this mission. To learn more about the other ways in which we are working to achieve this mission, please explore our website: