4Culture Grants + Calls

Collections Care

The preservation of our past is vital to our present and our future. Our Collections Care grant helps King County’s archivists, librarians, and historians protect the real, tangible objects that make up history so that the generations of today and tomorrow can continue to learn from them.

Steps to Apply

1 What Collections Care Funds

1 What Collections Care Funds

Our annual Collections Care grant program supports the work of King County non-profit heritage organizations by providing the funds necessary to assess, organize, catalog, clean, repair, photograph, scan, and, ultimately, save, the King County’s cultural material.

You can use this grant for:

    • Care of historic and cultural materials, artifacts, and archival records including the purchase of materials and consumable supplies used for collections care purposes.
    • Developing and/or implementing a collections management policy, improving emergency preparedness plans, instituting and improving security methods for collections.
    • Performing collections needs assessment surveys and implementing recommendations, completing inventories, descriptive catalog, and/or condition surveys, bridging a funding gap to conduct assessments such as Museum Assessment Program, Collections Assessment for Preservation Program, or Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations.
    • Digitization of collections or archives to minimize handling.
    • Training and professional development for staff and/or volunteers in preventive collections management.
    • Fees for conservators, heritage specialists, interns for collections care projects; fees directed to staff, if their work on the project is outside their regular job duties and payment is above-and-beyond their regular compensation structure.

You cannot use this grant for:

    • Major equipment purchases, construction or fabrication projects, general operating support, overhead costs and fees, employee benefits or any regular staff salaries (we offer separate grants for these—please see Cultural Equipment, Cultural Facilities, and Sustained Support).
    • Elements of your project completed before funds are awarded on August 19, 2019.
    • Projects for which fundraising is the primary purpose, direct marketing or advertising costs, or projects that do not focus on King County’s heritage as a foundational element.
    • Restoration of historic structures, the preservation of the built environment, or the stabilization of archaeological sites.
    • The purchase of art and artifacts.
    • Support of collections that are privately held or not regularly accessible to the public.


We fund all of our grants through a competitive process, carefully evaluating each application.

For this particular grant, we’ll look to see how well your project shows the following:

  • Quality and qualifications: how well your project aligns with professional standards and best practices, the qualifications of you and your project team, and how your project meets the goals of your organization’s mission or needs in the community.
  • Feasibility: your organization’s ability to develop and complete your project within 18 months of the award date. This is demonstrated through the qualifications of you and your project team, your budget—including your ability to raise additional funding—and your ability to fund the project on a reimbursement basis. Demonstration that your organization has completed the necessary planning and assessment to care for collections in the long-term.
  • Project impact and public benefit: how your project develops and preserves the historical record in King County, its potential to raise the visibility of heritage collections care and preservation, its ability to preserve heritage resources held in the public trust, your project’s ability to generate broad and/or lasting public benefit.
  • Heritage priorities: how your project preserves endangered heritage resources, addresses neglected aspects of King County heritage, and provides opportunities for youth, underserved communities, and multicultural audiences.

Public Benefit: Why It Matters

Every time a visitor to Washington State stays in a hotel, they pay a Lodging Tax—this is where our funding comes from, and our mission is to put it back into the community. As you work through your application, tell us exactly how your fellow King County residents will be able to enjoy and learn from your work.

2 Are you and your project eligible?

2 Are you and your project eligible?


  • You must be a King County-based nonprofit heritage or arts organization—museum, archive, public agency, community association—that collects and preserves historic artifacts, photographs, documents, and ephemera.
  • This program gives priority to basic collections issues and provides institutions with support to evaluate collections needs and to implement resulting recommendations.
  • We do not fund K-12 schools, school districts, or religious institutions.

Your Project

  • Your request amount should be at least $1,000, but no more than $8,000.
  • Your proposed project must focus primarily on collecting, cataloguing, inventorying, and/or preserving the historical record in King County, i.e. historic and cultural materials, artifacts, and archival records.
  • Your project should demonstrate a public benefit to King County residents and visitors—learn more about that requirement in the “What Collections Care Funds” section of this page.

3 Helping You Succeed

3 Helping You Succeed


Workshops make a huge difference in how competitive your application is—each year, we find that the strongest applications come from people who have attended a workshop. 4Culture Heritage staff are available to answer questions, discuss project details, and review draft applications. You do not need to RSVP to workshops—just show up!

Tutorial Video

Watch this step-by-step application tutorial video to assist you through the process of creating an account, starting your application, and saving it for later.


In 2018, this program had 39 applicants and funded 22 of them, roughly 2/5 of the total amount requested. Keep in mind that this is a much smaller funding program than our Projects grant—the average award last year was $4,719. We encourage the review panel to fully fund quality projects but partial funding is also awarded.

View last year’s applicants on our Past Grants page. Read through a sample successful application from last year.

You can also read through the application questions before getting started:

  • Project Description: Explain the proposed activity. What is the need, challenge, or opportunity your collection or archive faces and how do you plan to address it? Why is the proposed project a priority to your organization at this time? How does this project align with your current collections management plan or priorities? If your project involves digitization, please specify how you will manage and preserve the digital files.
  • Project Impact and Public Benefit: Provide an overview of the collection(s) involved and its historical significance to your community and King County. Who will benefit from the proposed project and have they been involved in planning the project? Describe your goals for the above identified project participants. How will your project raise the visibility of King County heritage? How will the public benefit from or access the results of your project?
  • Relevant Expertise / Experience / Accomplishments: Describe who will plan, implement, and manage your project. Does the identified project team (staff, project partners, consultants, and volunteers) possess the knowledge, experience, and skills necessary to complete the work successfully? Cite similar project-based work that has been successfully managed and/or administered by the project team. How do your choices of collections care methods, equipment, and supplies demonstrate an understanding of best practices and professional standards?
  • Project Implementation: Provide a work plan that addresses phases for planning, fundraising, execution, publicity, and evaluation. Within each phase, describe responsible personnel, major milestones, tasks, outputs, and deadlines. When and in what sequence will the activities take place? Remember, projects funded through this program must be completed within 18 months of the award date.


We’re here to help! Please contact us if you have a question about this program, or if you would like have your application draft reviewed by a 4Culture staff member. Please note that requests for draft reviews must be submitted at least 2 weeks before the application deadline.

Chieko Phillips

Megumi Nagata

4 After You Submit

4 After You Submit


This grant has been cancelled for 2020 to support our COVID-19 response efforts. Most 4Culture grants take approximately three months from application deadline to when we announce our funding decisions. You can start your project—or the portion of your project described in your application—no earlier than August 19, 2019, and you must complete it by January 1, 2021, or within 18 months of the award date.

Panel Process

We make all of our funding decisions through a panel process, in which a group of peers working in the heritage field assesses your application. 4Culture staff recruits 5-7 panelists with considerations for racial equity, diversity of geographical location, organization size, and experience in the field. 4Culture staff facilitates the panel process, but does not vote or try to influence the outcome. There will be no in-person interviews for this grant program. If you would like information about the panel process or how to be on a 4Culture Heritage panel, please contact Chieko Phillips.

Contracts and Payment

If we select your project for funding, 4Culture Heritage staff will work with you to create a contract outlining the scope of your project and a payment schedule.

Requirements and Appeals

Learn about what will be required if you are awarded a grant, and about the process for appeal of a 4Culture decision.

5 Apply

5 Apply

Once you’ve started your application, you can save after each step and sign out—your application will be saved as a draft that you can continue to work on up to the deadline. Once you hit “Submit,” your application is final. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions during the process.

What We Require

In addition to the Narrative Questions, we will not consider your application without the materials listed here. We strongly recommend assembling them before you login and begin your application, and encourage you to call or email us with any questions as you work on these materials.

New For 2019 – Demographic Information in your Account Profile

Your organization profile in our portal must provide demographic information for your board and staff for the current year. We use this information to help us understand how well we are doing in our efforts to reach all communities in King County.

Project budget in your Application

Use our Budget Form, which is embedded in the application.

Board List in your Application

This is required for organizations only, not for public agencies. Organizations must submit a list of board members, including their service dates, term limits, and brief background information.

Optional Materials in your Application

Optional support materials might include: resumes of project personnel, letters of support, first five pages of collections management policy, relevant inventories, condition reports, assessment reports (5 pages maximum), portion of strategic plan showing collections priorities (5 pages maximum) to help illustrate your proposal.