Fall 2023 Buckeye Impact Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the Ohio Communities and Organizations Receiving America 250-Ohio Fall 2023 Buckeye Impact Grants!

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As Ohio prepares to celebrate and commemorate America’s 250th anniversary, America 250-Ohio, awarded $398,240 in grants to 23 communities and organizations across 15 Ohio counties as part of the commission’s first funding cycle. More than 70 organizations throughout the state submitted applications for the grants program, which is managed in partnership with Ohio Humanities. Projects funded in this round must be completed between March 1, 2024, and February 28, 2025. Two types of grants were awarded: Buckeye Impact Grants and Trillium Local Activity Grants. 

Buckeye Impact Grant Recipients – Fall 2023 

The Buckeye Impact Grants offer up to $50,000 for projects with a statewide, regional, or significant local impact. These projects may include significant exhibitions, regional commemorative activities, substantial digital and documentary media projects and signature public events. These are the projects that are receiving funding through the Fall 2023 grant round:

Organization: Teaching Cleveland 
Project: On Our Watch 
Community: Cleveland, Ohio 

The project “On Our Watch” is designed to support and distribute the 70-minute documentary film, “A Death in the City: In the Wake of Segregation,” written and directed by Marquette Williams and produced by iFILM216. The film recounts and contextualizes stories told by those who fought for, and those most impacted by, the fight for the desegregation of Cleveland’s public schools in the 1960s. The film title refers to Bruce Klunder, the 26-year-old white Protestant minister who was crushed to death by a bulldozer during a 1964 CORE protest. Everyone involved in that historic moment would have stories to share about how the community pulled together to effect change. Every story brings a message of empowerment to audiences of every age and demographic. We will be writing and designing a study guide to accompany the film and set up a distribution network that will allow organizations, groups, and schools to screen the film using materials and moderators provided by Teaching Cleveland. 

Organization: Jazz Arts Group 
Project: Celebrating Ohio Jazz 
Community: Columbus, Ohio 

The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus proposes to organize and produce a Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra concert tour to 5 Ohio locations throughout summer 2024. The “Celebrating Ohio Jazz” concert will perform the music and tell the stories of famous and not so famous jazz musicians from Ohio, past and present. Education staff will develop engaging collateral materials which will be provided to audiences and venues to deepen the experience and be available to teachers beyond the concert tour and grant period. 

Organization: Preble County Historical Society 
Project: Preble 250 – A historic timeline, plaque program, and history trail 
Community: Preble County, Ohio 

The project, Preble 250, will serve as an important component of Ohio’s America 250 and will share the important points in history that have taken place locally and had effects on regional, state, and national developments along the way. Production of a printed and digital timeline in harmony with a historic plaque program and resulting history trail will highlight and tell stories important to Preble County, Ohio, and the Nation. 

Organization: Green Umbrella 
Project: Cincinnati’s Foodshed: An Art Atlas 
Community: Cincinnati, Ohio 

Cincinnati’s Foodshed: An Art Atlas showcases and celebrates Ohio’s rich agriculture, food history, people, and innovations by sharing stories through infographics, maps, timelines, and art. The project has 3 sections: past, present (2000-today), and future; and 3 deliverables: a coffee table book, art exhibitions/community events, and a public-facing archive. The Atlas team has worked with 160+ collaborators to share over 120 stories (many untold), illustrating the important role Ohioans have played in shaping regional and national food culture. From the First Americans, European Settlers, the Slave Trade, Disassembly Line, Proctor & Gamble, Fleischmann’s, Kroger, and Manischewitz, to redlining, the modern food movement, role of immigrants, our craft beer revolution, to dreaming of future food systems. Major partners include Green Umbrella’s Food Policy Council, Wave Pool, Cincinnati Museum Center, and the University of Cincinnati’s Office for Innovation and Community Partnerships. 

Organization: OhioDance 
Project: OhioDance Virtual Dance Collection 
Community: Columbus, Ohio 

To support the documentation, preservation, and expansion of the OhioDance Virtual Dance Collection®, an archival project of Ohio’s dance history for the public domain. OhioDance proposes to share the OhioDance Virtual Dance Collection®(VDC) as part of America 250-Ohio. OhioDance would offer showings of the documentary film, Ohio: A State of Dance, school residencies, display a traveling exhibit and offer presentations on the detailed dance history of Ohio found in the collection. OhioDance would assist with coordination of dance performances throughout Ohio at a variety of venues in celebration of America 250-Ohio. 

Organization: Cleveland Restoration Society 
Project: Preserving and Sharing the Stories of Cleveland’s Historic Black Churches 
Community: Cleveland, Ohio 

Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS) is leading a community effort to document, preserve, and share the stories of Cleveland’s historic Black churches, highlighting their significance to African American cultural heritage and to larger American contemporary culture. The grant will enable CRS to engage history scholar Dr. Aaron G. Fountain, Jr., who played a leading role in the creation of the CRS-led Cleveland Civil Rights Trail website, funded in part by Ohio Humanities. Over the one-year project period, Dr. Fountain will interview 12 church leaders and members who bore witness to events significant to Cleveland’s African American cultural heritage and history; research and write an overarching narrative (approximately 8,000 words) about the history of the Black Church in Cleveland and place it in a national context; and produce a 30-minute video featuring archival footage and selections from the oral history interviews, with a live Q&A following its public premiere. 

Organization: Great Circle Alliance 
Project: Recovering Ohio’s Indigenous Voices 
Community: Licking County, Ohio 

“Recovering Ohio’s Indigenous Voices” creates an event for the general public to engage with invited artists from Ohio’s Removed Tribes. Selected through a competitive application process, the returning artists will tour Ohio and offer their responses to the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks as well as present and discuss their oeuvres reflecting indigenous values and worldview. This event is intended to enhance the visibility of contemporary indigenous artists from the Removed Tribes and raise awareness of a Native American presence in Ohio—a state where tribal communities once flourished but struggle today to attain visibility and agency. By engaging key partners in outreach, the project establishes a community foundation for Part Two, an artist residency culminating in an exhibition in 2026 of the invited artists’ responses to the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks and the inception of a permanent collection of contemporary indigenous art in Licking County. 

Organization: ArtWorks Cincinnati 
Project: Tuskegee Airmen Mural & Traveling Exhibition 
Community: Cincinnati, Ohio 

A two-part mural project, the Tuskegee Airmen Traveling Exhibition and Heilbrun-Leahr Mural will celebrate the 58 Tuskegee airmen from Ohio through both a permanent mural and a traveling exhibit throughout Ohio. The project will draw attention to the inspiring story of John Leahr, who was a black, World War II pilot and Tuskegee airman, and Herb Heilbrun, who was a white, World War II pilot, who formed a friendship late in life after realizing they had been in the same 3rd grade classroom in the Cincinnati neighborhood of North Avondale and had then served in the war together but never met due to segregation and racism in the military. This important and seldom told story will be shared through innovative and compelling public exhibitions created by local, emerging Ohio artists who come from a diversity of backgrounds. Their unique points of view will lend authenticity to the story shared – and amplify the respective communities’ sense of pride. 

Organization: The City of Sandusky 
Project: “Freedom’s Echo: Sandusky’s Underground Railroad Legacy” Celebrating Ohio’s Contribution to Freedom and Liberty 
Community: Sandusky, Ohio 

This is a dynamic, multi-agency initiative commemorating the 250th anniversary of the United States. Collaborating with partners such as the Erie County Historical Society, Sandusky Library, and Shores & Islands Ohio, we will illuminate Sandusky’s pivotal role in the Underground Railroad through an interactive walking tour, enriched with wayfinding signage and audio narratives. This transformative project, aligning with AM250-OH goals, bridges historical preservation and modern technology. It aims to engage diverse audiences, including tourists, students, and history enthusiasts, fostering pride in Ohio’s enduring impact on freedom and equality. The project’s success will be measured by economic tourism impact, walking tour participation, and enhanced community awareness. We envision this project having a lasting impact, instilling pride and appreciation for Sandusky’s, and Ohio’s, integral contribution to the nation’s historical narrative. 

Organization: Capitol Square Foundation 
Project: The Founding of the State of Ohio booklet 
Community: Columbus, Ohio 

The Founding of the State of Ohio booklet will be a high-quality publication about the history of and the people involved in the founding of the State of Ohio. This piece will cover Ohio’s early history, starting with Lord Dunmore’s War and ending at Ohio’s statehood in 1803. The goal of the project is to raise awareness of Ohio’s place in U.S. history during the American Revolution, and to highlight the many figures who played crucial roles in Ohio as a frontier, territory, and state. Historians and museums educators at the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board will provide the content and include various perspectives on Ohio’s pre-state history. The publication will be available, for free, to the thousands of visitors who come to the Ohio Statehouse each year. 

Organization: International Women’s Air and Space Museum 
Project: Sharing the Stories of Women in Air & Space Through Educational Programming 
Community: Cleveland, Ohio 

Women’s stories are often left out of our school curriculum or are a fleeting mention. However, women’s lasting impact permeates every facet of our collective history. The International Women’s Air & Space Museum (IWASM) will develop in-classroom resources for teachers about the lasting impact of women in air and space history. Through teacher focus groups and workshops, teachers will inform how resources created will best supplement what teachers in grades 7-12 are already doing. This statewide engagement with primary and secondary sources will align with state and national education standards. Women’s air and space history is fundamental to Ohio’s more than 120-year aviation and aerospace legacy. Lesser-known roles of Katharine Wright, Cleveland’s own NACA site as far back as 1915 (the predecessor to NASA), the Curtiss-Wright Cadettes, and so many more are integral to understanding where we’ve come and where we will go in the future as a state and a nation. 

Organization: Marion Voices Folklife + Oral History 
Project: North-Central Ohio Cultural Heritage Assets Mapping Project (CHAMP) 
Community: Marion, Ohio 

The North-Central Ohio Cultural Heritage Assets Mapping Project will be the first major project to bridge Marion Voices’ six years of work documenting, interpreting, & amplifying cultural heritage in Marion County with a survey of cultural heritage assets & resources in our surrounding 10-county North Central Ohio area. The project will lap the second half of an already-planned Marion County cultural heritage assets mapping project — consisting of half-day participatory cultural heritage assets mapping sessions across the county, & culminating in a series of zines & a digital directory — by expanding the project process to Hardin, Wyandot, Crawford, Richland, Ashland, Morrow, Hancock, Seneca, Huron, & Knox Counties through strategic sessions with cultural heritage organizations & leaders, county folklife surveys, county reports, & development of a new regional website & directory building critical infrastructure for folklife & cultural heritage in a region of Ohio rich in tradition. 

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Organization: Midstory

Project: With|Standing: a multipart film series highlighting the stories and lives behind the buildings, landmarks and architectural sites of Ohio, examined through a lens of the built structures’ evolution, innovation and reinvention through time. 

Community: Toledo, Ohio 

Architectural sites, as testaments of the evolution of identity, beauty and function, are laden with powerful social narratives. Our project highlights Ohio architecture, landmarks & buildings that have withstood the test of time and been repurposed and adaptively reused throughout their histories. By telling the stories of buildings’ pasts—in industry, immigration & social change—alongside their presents—mobilized in creative & innovative ways—we not only celebrate Ohio’s history but also envision our future in a new American era. We will capture stories of transformation and reconciliation at select architectural sites across Ohio’s diverse communities through a six-part multimedia story series. The series will feature six 5- to 10-minute films with accompanying web stories providing interactive context, including text, graphics (diagrams, archival images, architectural drawings) and data visualizations. A public event will exhibit the project through physical and digital means.

About the America 250-Ohio Grants Program 

The Ohio Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial (also known as America 250-Ohio or AM250-OH) grant program is a vehicle to provide funds for non-profit, educational, and local governmental organizations to support educational and commemorative programming about the two-hundred-fiftieth anniversary of the independence and founding of the United States.  

The purpose of this grant program is to draw attention to the achievements, struggles, honors, innovations, and significance of all people in Ohio since before its founding to the present day as described in Ohio Revised Code 149.309 and Resolution 2023 – 09 adopted by the Ohio Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial.    

By supporting projects that align with these priorities, AM250-OH will elevate our country and state’s history and all its unique stories. These grants will seek to build capacity for educational and commemorative activities at museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, cultural centers, and educational institutions, benefitting more communities while amplifying the untold stories of all Americans, especially Ohioans.  

The AM250-OH Commission has identified the following themes for Ohio’s Celebration and Commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the U.S.    

  • Celebrations and Signature Events: Impacting Tourism and Economic Development   
  • Ohio Originals: Highlighting Points of Pride & Unity   
  • Engaging Youth and Lifelong Learners: Education & Scholarship   
  • Inclusive Statewide Engagement: Museums, Arts & Culture   
  • Telling Ohio Stories: Highlighting stories of Ohioans past and present     

Next Grant Funding Round Now Open 

The winter 2024 funding cycle is now open with applications due March 15, 2024. During this round, the America 250-Ohio Commission will award approximately $600,000 in grant funding. The period of performance for winter 2024 recipients will be June 15, 2024, through May 31, 2025. Eligible parties must be non-profits registered within the State of Ohio, educational, and local governmental organizations located in Ohio. Individual artists, authors, or performers must apply through a non-profit fiscal agent/sponsor. For more information on eligibility, project guidance and information on applying for a grant, visit America250-Ohio.org/grants/. 


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