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NPS Budgets $3 Million for JA Confinement Site Grants

By October 27, 2014No Comments

By P.C. Staff

DENVER — The National Park Service is now accepting applications for grants to preserve and interpret the U.S. confinement sites and other locations where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned during World War II.

This year’s deadline for applications is Nov. 12.

“The imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II is a shameful chapter in our nation’s history that we must never forget,” NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “These grants support projects that are vivid reminders of the continuing need to guard the constitutional rights of all Americans against injustice, prejudice and fear.”

This is the seventh year in the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, which Congress established in 2006. In the previous six years, Congress awarded more than $15.3 million in grants to 128 projects in or involving 19 states and the District of Columbia. The president’s budget for fiscal year 2015 seeks $3 million for the next round of program grants.

Japanese American Confinement Sites grants are awarded to eligible groups and entities — nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and state, local and tribal governments — for work to preserve confinement sites and their histories.

The program aims to preserve and explain the places where Japanese American men, women and children — most of them U.S. citizens — were incarcerated after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. Congress has authorized that up to $38 million in grants can be awarded over the life of the program, with funds appropriated annually.

Grant money can be used to identify, research, evaluate, interpret, protect restore, repair and acquire historic confinement sites. The goal is for present and future generations to learn of and gain inspiration from the sites and the people who were held in them.

For fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013-Sept. 30, 2014), the NPS distributed 21 grants totaling more than $2.9 million. Grant-winning projects over the past six years have been undertaken in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington state, Washington, D.C. and Wyoming. Although many projects are tied to single, specific locations, some range across multiple sites and are conducted form other places and states.

The program requires applicants to raise project funds from other sources to “match” the grant money, which is awarded after a competitive review of project proposals. Successful grantees must match $1 in nonfederal funds or “in-kind” contributions to every $2 they receive in federal money. Matching funds can be raised and spent during the grant period and do not have to be “in the bank” when a group applies for a grant. Applicants also can receive up to two grants a year.

More than 50 historic locations are eligible for grant-funded work. They include the 10 War Relocation Authority (WRA) centers that were set up in 1942 in seven states: Granada (Amache), Co.; Gila River and Poston, Ariz.; Heart Mountain, Wyo.; Jerome and Rohwer, Ark.; Manzanar and Tule Lake, Calif.; Minidoka, Idaho; and Topaz, Utah. Also eligible are more than 40 other sites in 16 states, including “assembly centers” and U.S. Army and Department of Justice detention and internment facilities.

Of the 10 WRA sites, three are now units of the National Park Service (Manzanar National Historic Site, Minidoka Internment National Monument and Tule Lake National Monument) and five are National Historic Landmarks (the Rohwer cemetery, and the Granada (Amache), Poston, Topaz and Heart Mountain sites).

Grants can be for a variety of uses, including design and construction of interpretive centers, trails, wayside exhibits and other facilities; oral histories and site-history research; school curriculums on internment history; and purchase of nonfederal land at five of the sites (Jerome and Rohwer, Ark.; Honouliuli, Hawaii; Topaz, Utah; and Heart Mountain, Wyo.)

For more information, including 2015 application materials and lists of the program’s most recent awards for 2014 is available on the grant program website at

Originally published on October 3, 2014