Call for Proposals | Community-Based Archives

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.

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. 

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.

Applications will be due by Friday, July 2, 2021 at 9:00am ET. They will then be evaluated by a panel that includes Foundation staff, external reviewers, and members of the 2019 cohort. All applicants will be notified of the status of their submission by Friday, September 3, 2021. If selected, additional information and materials will be requested in a final proposal to be reviewed and approved by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Awards will range from $50,000 to $100,000 for grants of two years in length. Grant periods would begin January 1, 2022 and end on December 31, 2023. The Foundation plans to convene representatives from the awarded archives both in person and online over the course of the grant term to build a cohort of organizations that would help and learn from each other.

All interested applicants must first complete a registration request by June 25, 2021 at 9:00am ET. After Foundation staff have processed the registration request, eligible applicants will gain access to the application form in the Foundation’s Fluxx grantee portal.  On the form, applicants will be asked to provide information about their organization and its archival collections, as well as the following documents in support of the project:

  • A project proposal of 1000-1500 words
  • Biographical sketches/CVs for the organization’s executive director and the project lead(s)
  • A recent Form 990 or IRS determination letter
  • Annual operating budgets for 2019 and 2020 
  • A board list

Visit our applicant resources for further details on how to apply.  If you would like to sign up for email alerts, or if you have any questions about this CFP, please contact program staff at