History Bank

For nearly a decade, I’ve been trying to keep Chattanooga’s history top-of-mind while preserving photographs and historical objects through projects like Picnooga, noogahistory.com, and as a founder of the Chattanooga Historical Society. With all these projects, the biggest day-to-day challenge has been soliciting financial support. Through crowdfunding and other means, I’ve raised over $250,000 towards Chattanooga’s history. That might sound impressive, but it wasn’t easy. Finding funding for local history projects in Chattanooga is challenging. Moving forward, I hope to make it easier for others.

It’s time to pivot my attention from collecting, preservation, and story-telling to help incubate fledgling local history projects into reality. Utilizing crowd and public funding, I’m hoping to create a network of giving that will encourage and help elevate local storytelling by funding projects with a diversified point of view. I’ve found great support from the public, and a little commitment will go a long way in creating opportunities for dozens of history projects instead of feeding resources into just one.

Here’s how it works:

The History Bank will award a project microgrant through a network of contributors monthly.

A grantee can be an individual, nonprofit, or community group based in Hamilton County, Tennessee. They’ll need to apply at least a month before the next award to qualify for the grant. Applicants must show a well-thought-out plan for their project with a beginning and final expected result. Also, how many people will it reach, and what’s the measured impact on the community?

The kind of projects we’re looking for:

Some examples might be a walking tour, collections digitization, classroom material, an art installation, a short documentary, or a small exhibit. There are no parameters outside of connecting others with Chattanooga’s history.

Here’s how grants are funded and how a project is awarded a grant:

The Bank will seek at least ten individuals to give $50 or more a month for a year. Their commitment will provide at least a $500-a-month grant to fund local projects with a local historical focus.

Those who give will be on the board of awards. Their vote will decide the monthly winner.

If you are interested in making a $50-a-month commitment in 2023, email me at noogahistory@gmail.com.

Or visit https://www.plumfund.com/community-crowdfunding/historybank to help get this project kickstarted for as little as a one-time gift of $5.

David Moon