Your Tax Refund Can Make History. That’s the message that prompted 17,391 Ohioans to contribute a portion of their 2011 state income tax refund to the Ohio Historical Society last year, making $114,000 available for a new competitive matching grants program that helps fund projects by local historical societies and related organizations throughout the state.
During Ohio’s annual Statehood Day observance at the Statehouse in Columbus yesterday, 11 recipients of History Fund Grants made possible by last year’s contributions were announced. They include:
· Clark County Historical Society, Springfield, $15,000 for a project that will enable the society to update and improve the care of its collection of historical artifacts and make them accessible through a digital catalog.
· Cleveland Museum of Natural History, $12,873 to pilot on a wider scale a proven and highly innovative means to quickly and inexpensively document prehistoric Native American archaeological sites in the eastern Lake Erie basin, which, if widely adopted, could lessen the need for full-scale excavations of sites across Ohio and the Midwest.
· Cleveland Restoration Society, $15,000 for the Know Our Heritage educational program, which will document and raise awareness of endangered historic sites in Cleveland’s African American community.
· Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, Dennison, $15,000 for a project that will enable the depot, a WWII-era icon and National Historic Landmark, to alleviate crowded artifact storage conditions at two of its museums and enable both to move to a facility that will ensure long-term preservation of the historical collections.
· Eden Valley Enterprises, Elyria, $15,000 for support of a PBS documentary about Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, an ordinary Ohioan who overcame adversity and became extraordinary through her hikes of the Appalachian Trail in the 1950s and 1960s. Gatewood’s inspiring story will broaden understanding of what the Women’s Movement, fitness and successful aging means.
· Friends of Whitewater Shaker Village, Cincinnati, $15,000 to build ADA-compliant restrooms at this National Register of Historic Places-listed site, the last intact Society of Friends (Shaker) site in Ohio. Restrooms will enable the village to open to the public, the plan of the site’s leaders since 2001.
· Granville Historical Society, Granville, $6,041 for a re-enactment of the first Anti-Slavery Convention in Ohio, held at Granville in 1836. Produced through a partnership of the Granville Historical Society, Denison University and local schools, the event will enable participants to recreate and examine issues that eventually led to the Civil War.
· John & Annie Glenn Museum Foundation, New Concord, $6,600 to construct additional display cases at the foundation-operated National Road/Zane Grey Museum. The additional cases will enable the museum to exhibit loaned private collections of locally-made wares from smaller firms made during the region’s heyday as a pottery-manufacturing center, offering new reasons to visit the museum and encouraging repeat visitation.
· MidPointe Library System, Middletown, $2,160 for digitization of four historic Butler County atlases. The project will make the maps and information in the atlases available digitally through the library system and protect the originals from the damage that comes from frequent handling.
· Pioneer and Historical Society of Muskingum County, Zanesville, $8,000 to repair the roof of the 1809 Stone Academy according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Stone Academy is part of the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
· Union County Historical Society, Marysville, $3,300 to digitize rare color-film footage from 1938 showing everyday life in small-town and rural Ohio, generally not well documented on film -- much less in color. The reels also include footage of the Ohio State Fair, Columbus and Ohio State University football games. The digitized film will be posted on YouTube and distributed to local libraries and schools.
About the History Fund
The History Fund is a competitive matching grants program that is one of four “tax check-off” funds found on Ohio’s income tax forms and entirely funded through Ohio taxpayers’ voluntary contributions.
“The History Fund was developed to support the preservation and sharing of Ohio’s heritage by funding local, regional and statewide history projects, programs and events,” says Ohio Historical Society Executive Director and CEO Burt Logan. “It is proving to be a very popular and worthy program that helps local organizations and historical societies fund the projects that are meaningful to their communities.”
Logan says that the strong demand in this first year of operation underscores the need for the History Fund and support for history projects in Ohio. The Ohio Historical Society received 64 applications totaling $891,000 in requests. The supply of grant monies available was $114,000, thanks to the 17,391 Ohioans who voluntarily contributed to the History Fund in 2012 (tax year 2011).
“We hope the high number of grant applicants will inspire more Ohioans to donate to the History Fund,” says Andy Verhoff, the Ohio Historical Society’s local history coordinator and administrator of the History Fund grant program. “There are so many deserving projects and all of them demonstrate the need for this program, one solely dedicated to supporting history projects.” For information on how to donate to the History Fund through either the tax check-off or a donation, visit www.ohiohistory.org/historyfund.
The History Fund was created as a result of the tax “check-off” for the Ohio Historical Society in the state’s two-year budget, signed into law by Gov. John R. Kasich on June 30, 2011. Legislation allowing for the change in state tax forms was initially brought to the General Assembly by former State Rep. Kathleen Chandler (D-Kent) in 2005. State Rep. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) re-introduced it in 2012 before it was enacted in the state budget.
On previous years’ IT-1040 forms, Ohio residents have had the option of donating to causes such as injured veterans’ relief, wildlife conservation and nature preserves. The History Fund joined these programs on the 2011 Ohio tax form and will be on future tax forms, providing Ohioans with a simple way to help preserve our state’s history.
Tax refunds are not the only way to support the program; the Ohio Historical Society also accepts direct donations designated for the History Fund. All donations are tax-deductible. The Ohio Historical Society serves as the administrative organization for the History Fund and cannot apply for the grant funds. For more information on History Fund grant deadlines and eligibility requirements, visit www.ohiohistory.org/historyfund.
To learn how your 2013 tax refund can make history, visit www.ohiohistory.org/makehistory.