The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors:
Guidelines & Eligibility

In July 1997, George P. Mitchell made a generous gift to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to establish the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors in honor of his wife.  The purpose of the fund is to assist in the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of historic interiors.

Grants from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors generally range from $2,500 to $15,000.  The selection process is very competitive. The review process is generally completed within three months of the application deadline, and applicants are notified via email once the review process is complete.

The 2022 application deadline is March 1, 2022. Applicants will be notified on July 1, 2022. If the first of the month falls on a weekend, applications will be due on the following Monday. Applications will be available six-eight weeks before the deadline through the link at the bottom of this page. 

Eligible Applicants

Only Organizational Level Forum members or Main Street America members of the National Trust are eligible to apply for funding from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors. To learn more about Forum and to join today, visit our website.

  • Public agencies and nonprofit organizations are eligible. Individuals and for-profit businesses may apply only if the project for which funding is requested involves a National Historic Landmark. 
  • Programs of the National Trust are also eligible to apply for grants from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund.  
  • Applicants that have received previous National Trust financial assistance are eligible provided that all grant requirements are current.
  • Only one grant will be awarded per organization in any grant round.  Only one grant will be awarded for a particular project phase.

Grant Conditions

Applicants must be capable of matching the grant amount dollar-for-dollar.  A cash match is required and can come from private or public sources, or from income earned from registration fees or fundraising activities.  Donated materials and services, staff salaries and organizational overhead costs are not eligible sources of a match.  Other funding from the National Trust may not be used to match a Mitchell Fund grant.

Other conditions include:

  • Grants or matching funds cannot be used directly or indirectly to influence a member of Congress to favor or oppose any legislation or appropriation.
  • Any documents or plans for preservation work that result from the project must conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
  • At least three (3) competitive bids/quotes must be obtained for any procurement of services that exceed $50,000.  This provision applies only to portions of the project supported by National Trust funds.
  • Grant projects must begin within six months of award date. Failure to begin the project in this time frame may result in the cancellation of the grant and you will need to reapply for funding.
  • Grant recipients must include appropriate acknowledgment of National Trust financial support in all printed materials generated for the project.
  • Consultants must be approved by the National Trust before grant funds are disbursed. National Trust Preservation Fund grants cannot be used to pay staff salaries. Board members of the application organization cannot serve as consultants unless appropriate conflict of interest procedures are followed and documented.
  • Grant recipients are required to sign a contract agreeing to the conditions of the program.
  • Within one year from the grant disbursement date, a final report and financial accounting of the expenditure of the grants must be submitted.  If the project is not completed in accordance with the contract, the grant funds must be returned.

Applicants must agree not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, creed, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, mental and physical disabilities, sex (including pregnancy), personal appearance, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, genetic information, matriculation, political affiliation or veteran status.

Eligible Activities

Grants from the Mitchell Fund are awarded for planning activities and education efforts focused on the preservation of historic interiors. Grants may be made for activities and projects such as:

  • Obtaining professional expertise in areas such as architecture, planning, paint analysis, archeology, or graphic design
  • Hiring a preservation architect to create an interior restoration plan
  • Hiring a consultant to develop a conservation plan for an interior's textiles
  • Producing a historic furnishings plan
  • Sponsoring a workshop on the preservation of historic interiors
  • Restoration, rehabilitation, stabilization, and preservation of designated historic interiors, including bricks-and-mortar interior construction

 Ineligible Activities

  • Academic research
  • Fundraising-related activities
  • Projects focused on the building's exterior

Eligible Expenses

  • Fees for consultant services
  • Speaker/faculty costs (honoraria, travel, and lodging), room rental for conferences
  • Mailing costs for distribution of materials
  • Web site development
  • Materials and services such as printing, photographs, telephone, and supplies. With the exception of publications projects, these costs may not exceed 10 percent of the project budget.

Ineligible Expenses

  • Staff or faculty salaries
  • Organizational overhead costs
  • Catering, food and beverage, entertainment
  • Expenses incurred prior to award date


The selection committee will place particular importance on the likelihood that a grant will make a significant contribution to the preservation, restoration, or interpretation of one or more historic interiors. The committee will also consider:

  • The historic significance of the property to be assisted
  • The extent to which the requested assistance will act as seed money to make a difference in preservation, restoring or interpreting the historic interior, including what other funds might be leveraged by an award
  • The potential of the project to be a catalyst for further positive action to benefit other historic interiors, properties, neighborhoods, or communities
  • The adequacy of plans for the future maintenance of the property or the continuation for the activity for which grant support is requested 
  • The need for funding and the urgency of the project
  • The project’s timeline
  • The project’s budget and the applicant’s proven ability to secure a match
  • Evidence of community support for the project
  • The long-term objectives or impact of the project
  • The qualifications of the key personnel, including consultants
  • The demonstrated ability of the applicant to complete preservation projects
  • The potential to replicate the project in other communities

How to Apply

You will need the following items as part of your Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors application:

  • Up to six digital images of high quality (300 dpi) with caption and credit information
  • A list of the applicant's current board of directors (nonprofit organizations)
  • Applicant's Internal Revenue Service determination letter of tax-exempt status. If tax-exempt status has not been fully approved by the IRS, please provide evidence of filing for certification and letter of opinion from an attorney concerning the applicant's tax status (nonprofit organizations)
  • Resume of consultant for project (if the consultant has been chosen)
  • Resume of personnel administrating project
  • Up to two letters of endorsement
  • Letter of consent from property owner  (if applicant does not own property)
  • Completed Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors application form

 National Trust grants staff can provide helpful guidance for the application process. If you have questions about your project's eligibility, please contact our grants staff before submitting an application. 


The application will become available 6-8 weeks ahead of the deadline. Fill out an application for the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors here. (Please note: you will be taken to our grants application system where you will need to create a user profile for your organization. This is a separate login than your National Trust login.) If you have questions please email us.