WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Marianas Visitors Authority, Northern Marianas Humanities Council, and CNMI Museum of History and Culture have been awarded some $95,000 in Technical Assistance Program grants by the Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs.
“This is great news for our community at a time when we continue to face economic difficulties,” said Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP). “The grants will directly support our all-important tourism industry and help preserve culturally and historically significant materials and artifacts, which are of value to all of us and very much of interest to our visitors.”
Sablan expressed his appreciation to Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Anthony M. Babauta for recognizing the significance of the three grant proposals to the economic development of the Commonwealth and for signing off on the awards.
Only recently have local non-profits been able to apply for TAP grants directly. Previously, the technical assistance projects have needed the blessing of the Commonwealth government.
Over the past year, Sablan has encouraged a number of local organizations to submit TAP grant applications through the Internet-based system and has communicated his support for the projects to Babauta.
“I congratulate Perry Tenorio and Marian Aldan-Pierce and the MVA staff, David J. Attao, Scott Russell and everyone at the Humanities Council, and Robert Hunter and the Museum crew for their successful efforts,” Sablan said. “Everyone deserves recognition.”
The Marianas Visitors Authority was awarded $74,842 for a variety of efforts both in the CNMI and abroad to bolster tourism. The funds will help MVA establish beautification projects on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. The grant will also support a MY WAVE Tourism Summit for students, a “Tourism Tuesday” newspaper column to raise community awareness of the importance of tourism, and allow MVA to participate in the annual Japan Association of Travel Agents Travel Fair.
The Northern Marianas Humanities Council was granted $10,000 to support its efforts to establish a Garapan Heritage Trail. Currently, the Council is identifying and mapping historically significant sites in the Garapan area, compiling and translating significant facts, and developing a related website. The TAP grant will fund the printing of maps in five languages, which will allow tourists to take self-guided tours of the historical sites in Garapan the Humanities Council has identified.
The Northern Mariana Islands Museum of History and Culture received nearly $9,777, which will allow representatives from the Museum, the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, and the CNMI Archives to attend the American Association of State and Local History's “Connecting to Collections” conference and workshops. This will improve management of collections, further facilitate collaborative efforts between the three entities in the development of a shared database of historic and culturally relevant materials in the NMI, and enhance the professional capacity of these institutions.
“Federal grant dollars are increasingly scare and competition is great,” Sablan observed. “Assistant Secretary Babauta's decision to fund these grant applications is a win for our entire community and testimony to the efforts and skills of the people at MVA, the Humanities Council, and the Museum.”
The OIA Technical Assistance program continues to be a vital component of overall federal financial support for the NMI, allowing important projects undertaken by local community groups to move forward even though local funding is unavailable.
Sablan has put an emphasis on building local capacity to acquire federal grants. Earlier this year he sponsored a weeklong grants workshop attended by over 100 local grant writers and managers in partnership with the Northern Marianas College and the Department of the Interior.
The congressional office in the Northern Marianas has become a hub for information about grant opportunities. And Sablan's weekly e-Kilili newsletter and congressional website (http://sablan.house.gov/serving-you/grants-jobs) post grant funding opportunities available to individuals and community groups in the NMI.
To subscribe to the free weekly e-Kilili go to http://sablan.house.gov/contact-me/newsletter. (PR)