The Lower Mississippi Delta Region is the cradle of rich multi-cultural traditions, brimming with stories and sites that testify to both our nation’s diversity and to its struggles. Helping preserve the region’s historic and cultural treasures is the focus of the Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative (LMDI), a National Park Service grant program. This year, JNPA began administering the program on behalf of the Park Service, and we recently distributed funding to 23 amazing projects!
The Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative was established by Congress in 1994 to support archeological, historical, cultural, and heritage projects in the communities of the Delta Region. The Lower Mississippi Delta Region is comprised of 219 counties across the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.
Each year, the initiative awards Local Heritage Grants of up to $25,000 to not-for-profit organizations to complete projects pertaining to Native American culture and heritage, African-American culture and heritage, public roads and visitor use plans, regional music heritage, museums, HBCUs, archeological sites, and historic buildings and structures. This year we were proud to award 23 grants to organizations representing every state in the region. Many of these organizations are small, emerging, and/or rural, and these grants can make a hug impact in their ability to achieve their mission.
This year’s projects included music festivals, murals, museum exhibits, educational programs for students, historic building renovations, historical markers, and others. One project that has already taken place, Arkansas Peace Week, featured activities to educate the public, promote peace, and raise awareness for local organizations. One such activity was a youth art contest with the theme of “End racism. Build peace.”
JNPA is gratified to be a partner in this worthy project. “We are pleased to partner with the National Park Service in ensuring that communities throughout the Lower Mississippi Delta region have an opportunity to preserve and promote the culture and heritage of this vibrant region,” said David A. Grove, President and CEO of JNPA.
Other LMDI projects will be completed throughout the coming year, and we are excited to see the results! Applications for the 2023 grant cycle will be available next spring. Check the LMDI Local Heritage Grant Program website for updates.