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The Pomeroy Fund for NYS History End of Year Report

December 21, 2020 12:23 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the Museum Association of New York formed a new partnership and created the Pomeroy Fund for NYS History to support the state’s smallest history-related organizations. In three grant rounds, the Pomeroy Fund for NYS History funded 69 organizations across New York State $147,808.72.

“MANY was able to quickly assess the urgent needs of the history community and was an invaluable resource during this difficult time,” said Deryn Pomery, Director of Strategic Initiatives of the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. “We were impressed with how they mobilized and advocated for the museum community and assisted us in the grant review process.”

Grant applications were reviewed by a panel that included MANY Board, MANY staff, and Pomeroy Foundation staff. Eligible organizations did not need to be members of MANY to apply. 

Total Amount of Funds Dispersed by Grant Round

Total Number of Grants by REDC 

Total Amount of Funds by REDC

Round 1

In Round 1, 31 organizations with budget sizes of $100,000 or less were awarded grants ranging between $1,000 and $2,000, totalling $50,808.72. More than 170 organizations applied totaling almost $300,000 in requests. Funds were used to purchase computer hardware or software, gain internet access or expand bandwidth, pay for utilities, and secure facilities and collections. 

The Fulton County Historical Society (FCHS), was awarded $1,558. Since closure at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, FCHS began to think more carefully and creatively about virtual programming, experimenting with online programming, and social media use to improve their digital presence and expand their reach. FCHS used the funds to purchase a laptop computer and to update the museums’ hardware and software in order to develop more online programming. 

Round 1 Grantees

Anderson Falls Heritage Society

Black Rock Historical Society

Brentwood Historical Society

Broome County Historical Society

Clinton County Historical Association

Darwin R. Barker Library and Museum Association

Fulton County Historical Society

Gates Historical Society

Hastings Historical Society

Historic Red Hook

Historical Society of the Tonawandas, Inc.

Historical Society of Woodstock

Howland Stone Store Museum

Interlaken Historical Society

Java Historical Society

Lodi Historical Society

Macedon Historical Society

Mastic Peninsula Historical Society

Montgomery County Historical Society

National Bottle Museum

Nunda Historical Society

Oswego County Historical Society

Peekskill Museum, Inc.

Preservation Association of the Southern Tier

Schoharie Colonial Heritage Association

The Warsaw Historical Society and Gates House Museum

Town of Madison Historical Society

Town of New Scotland Historical Association

West Bloomfield Historical Society

Wappingers Historical Society Inc.

Yaphank Historical Society

Round One of Grants by REDC

Round One Grant Amount by REDC

Round Two

The Pomeroy Fund expanded eligibility in Round Two to organizations with an annual budget size of $150,000 or less but organizations needed to be open to the public no fewer than 250 hours, including program delivery hours. Organizations that received funding in the 1st round were not eligible. Grants were made on a sliding scale between $1,000 and $5,000 based on budget size. The Pomeroy Fund received 112 applications requesting $367,000. 18 organizations were awarded a total of $50,000.

Applicants shared details regarding their public programming both onsite and virtual, identified the wide range of audiences served, and the ways in which they engage their communities through unique and distinct partnerships. 

The Livingston County Historical Society used its $4,000 grant to support general operating expenses including salary for the only paid staff person. This staff person was essential in creating a safe reopening plan for the museum. 

The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF), an all volunteer organization, used its $1,000 grant to cover the cost of internet services and its email service to its members and supporters. The grant helped the NAHOF maintain and expand their virtual reach to their local, state, and national supporters and promoted the organization to develop more online programs. 

Based on a follow up survey administered by MANY that assessed rounds one and two, when asked to specifically name items purchased with grant funding, 35% of awarded organizations mentioned computers and related hardware such as printers. 22% mentioned software like Microsoft Office or Past Perfect. Others mentioned using funds for general operating expenses like utilities and staff salaries. When asked what impact the grant had on staff, organization, and/or community, 34% mentioned increased community engagement and connecting with their community virtually, 20% mentioned increased access to collections through digitization, and 10% mentioned building security. 

Round Two Grantees

Beacon Historical Society

City Island Historical Society

Constable Hall Association, Inc.

Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance

Friends of City Reliquary, Inc.

Friends of Mills at Staatsburgh

Greece Historical Society

Livingston County Historical Society

National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum

North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association

Phelps Mansion Museum

Sodus Bay Historical Society

The Coney Island History Project Inc.

The Historical Society of the Town of Chester

The Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society

Waterville Historical Society

Webster Museum and Historical Society

West Seneca Historical Society and Museum

Round Two Number of Grants by REDC

Round Two Grant Amounts by REDC

Round Three

In July, a 3rd round of funding was announced to provide an additional $50,000 in grants in a continuation of rapid response to history-related organizations. 21 organizations were selected to raise up to $6,000 for a 2:1 match by the Pomeroy Fund. Each submitted proposals that outlined plans for reopening, identifying multiple funding sources, creative ways to grow donors, and collaborative partnerships to find new avenues of support. 

These participating organizations had until October 1 to raise funds in order to receive the match. 

The Irish American Heritage Museum engaged their membership through their newsletter and social media channels. Their Board took an active role in raising the matching funds and was challenged to raise $1,500, half of the needed funds. The museum had 40 donors total and raised $6,355, $355 more than goal. 

In Western NY, the Steel Plant Museum had 65 individual donors raising $5,013. The grant helped the museum stay open, with  funding dedicated to monthly rent and curator’s salary. 

In a follow up survey, 30% said they used the funds to support operating expenses and staff salaries and 30% purchased and installed COVID safety measures including sanitation stations, wipes, gloves, masks, safety signage, plexi dividers, touchless amenities for bathrooms, and air filter upgrades.

Round Three Grantees

Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station Society

Bundy Museum of History and Art

Canal Society of New York State, Inc.

Chenango County Historical Society & Museum

Cincinnatus Area Heritage Society

Cobblestone Society

Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society

East Bloomfield Historical Society

Freeport Historical Society

Gates Historical Society

Half-Shire Historical Society

Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands

Irish American Heritage Museum

John Brown Lives

Robert Jenkins House and Museum

Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry

Slate Valley Museum Foundation

Sodus Bay Historical Society

The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation

The Steel Plant Museum of Western New York

Round Three Number of Grants by REDC

Round Three Grant Amount by REDC

Throughout each grant round, the high response by the history-related organizations in New York State demonstrates how deeply museums have been affected by the pandemic and how much support will be needed moving forward. MANY thanks the Pomeroy Foundation for their rapid response to aid our historical societies and history museums. 

“We are very proud of our work with MANY, and through our partnership, were able to provide much needed emergency funding for 69 small history-related organizations struggling during the pandemic,” said Deryn Pomeroy.

The Museum Association of New York helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities.

Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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