$3 Million Budgeted for Confinement Site Grants

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

Beginning in late January, the NPS will hold informational meetings for potential grant applicants under the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) program for Fiscal Year 2011, the third year of the grants program.

Program managers also will provide an update at each meeting about recent projects that received funds in the 2010 round of grants. Meetings are scheduled through early February in six cities: Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Omaha, San Francisco, and Seattle. Individual meetings with prospective applicants also may be held in Dumas, Little Rock, and McGehee, Ark.

This year’s deadline for applications is Tuesday, March 1.

Congress assigned a total of $4 million in grant money to the JACS program during its first two years. The president’s budget plan for FY 2011 calls for $3 million more in grants. However, Congress has yet to pass the federal operating budget, or appropriations bill, for FY 2011, so the funds have not been committed to this year’s grant program. The NPS expects to be able to award grants for FY 2011 after Congress passes the appropriations bill.

During its first two years, the JACS program awarded $3,895,000 to eligible groups and entities — non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and state, local and tribal governments — that are working to preserve the confinement sites and their histories.

So far, the program has granted funds to 42 projects that involve 16 states (and the District of Columbia): Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Although many of the projects are tied to single, specific locations, some also range across multiple sites and are conducted from other places and states.

The program, established by Congress in 2006, aims to preserve and interpret the places where Japanese American men, women and children — most of them U.S. citizens — were relocated and held after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. Congress has authorized up to $38 million in grants to be awarded over the life of the program. Funds can be used to identify, research, evaluate, interpret, protect, restore, repair and acquire historic internment sites. The goal is for present and future generations to learn about and gain inspiration from the sites and those who were held in them.

“These projects are helping us understand better a shameful chapter in America’s not-so-distant past,” said Kara Miyagishima, JACS program manager for NPS.  “As stewards of many important places in America’s cultural history, we in the National Park Service are glad to assist groups and communities that want to preserve these sites. Collectively, their efforts can deliver sobering lessons about how vulnerable our freedoms can be — even those protected by the Constitution.”

In 2010, the program’s second year, the NPS awarded 23 grants totaling $2,925,000. Grant amounts can vary widely. In Idaho, the Friends of Minidoka received $17,295 to document and rebuild the historic Honor Roll that once stood near that camp’s entrance, listing all those from Minidoka who served in the U.S. Army. In Park County, Wyo., the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation received $832,879 to finish building 11,000-square-foot Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center at the camp site.

The program encourages applicants to raise project funds from other sources to meet a 1-for-2 “match” with the grant money, which is awarded in a competitive process. Successful grantees must provide $1 in non-federal funds or “in-kind” contributions for every $2 they receive in federal money. For example, the minimum grant, $5,000, would be matched with $2,500 from the recipient. 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 grant awards a year.

More than 50 historical locations are eligible for grant-funded work. They include the 10 War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps that were set up in 1942 in seven states: Amache, Colo.; 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 locations in 16 states, including civilian and military-run assembly, relocation and isolation centers.

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 four are National Historic Landmarks (the Rohwer cemetery, and the Granada, Topaz and Heart Mountain camps).

Grants can be used for a variety of projects, 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 the purchase of non-federal lands at five of the sites (Jerome, Rohwer, Topaz, Heart Mounain, and Honouliuli, Hawaii.

More information, including the program’s latest newsletter (featuring FY 2010 grant awards and FY 2009 completed projects), application materials and a list of the informational meetings and driving directions, is available on the JACS website, http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/hpg/JACS/index.html.

As most of the confinement sites were located in the West and Southwest, three NPS regions — Pacific West, Intermountain and Midwest — and the state of Hawaii have assigned staff to serve as program contacts for more information. They are:

• Pacific West (California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and other states not listed): Tom Leatherman, (925) 943-1531, ext. 122; [email protected]

• Intermountain (Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming): Kara Miyagishima, (303) 969-2885; [email protected]

• Midwest (Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin): Rachel Franklin-Weekley, (402) 661-1928; [email protected].gov

• Hawaii: Frank Hays, (808) 541-2693, ext. 723; [email protected]

Schedule of applicant informational meetings:

Denver, Colo.
Friday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

National Park Service Intermountain Region Office, 12795 W. Alameda Parkway
Contact: Kara Miyagishima, (303) 969-2885 (RSVP recommended)

Dumas, Little Rock, and McGehee, Ark.
Wednesday, Jan. 12-Friday, Jan. 14

Contact Rachel Franklin-Weekley at (402) 661-1928 to set up an appointment in one of these locations

Honolulu
Wednesday, Jan. 26, 6-8 p.m.

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH), 2454 S. Beretania St., 5th floor (Manoa Grand Ballroom)
Contact: Frank Hays, (808) 541-2693, ext. 723
Location phone: (808) 945-7633 (JCCH), (888) 388-3369 (Manoa Grand Ballroom)

Los Angeles
Wednesday, Feb. 2, 6-8 p.m.
Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC), 244 S. San Pedro St., Suite 505
Contact: Tom Leatherman, (925) 943-1531, ext. 122
Location phone: (213) 628-2725 (JACCC)

Omaha, Neb.

National Park Service (NPS) Midwest Regional Office, 601 Riverfront Drive
Contact Rachel Franklin-Weekley at (402) 661-1928 for information on meeting date and time

San Francisco

Saturday, Feb. 5, 2-4 p.m.
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC), 1840 Sutter St., Suite 201
Contact: Tom Leatherman, (925) 943-1531, ext. 122
Location phone: (415) 567-5505 (JCCCNC)

Seattle, Wash.
Thursday, Feb. 3, 6:30-8 p.m.
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, 719 S. King St.
Contact: Tom Leatherman, (925) 943-1531, ext. 122
Location phone: (206) 623-5124 (Wing Luke Museum)

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