Grant Writing for Historic Preservation
Authors: Derek Jackson
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Mary Eleanor Wickersham
One of my passions is historic preservation. When I was offered the opportunity to take a grant writing course with Dr. Mary Eleanor Wickersham, I knew immediately that I wanted to focus my grant writing on a local historical site, and I knew exactly which one. Over the past two years, I have volunteered at the Oak Grove Cemetery, helping to clean up the site. The passion of the organization involved with restoring Brunswick’s earliest public cemetery was infectious, so I approached them about working on a grant together.
The following months would be a massive undertaking and a wonderful collaborative effort with the cemetery’s guardian organization – the Oak Grove Cemetery Society (OGCS). I worked closely with the organizations President, Robert Gindhart, and, on occasion, the OGCS board of directors. They were all invaluable in helping me obtain all of the background and technical information necessary for writing an in-depth grant narrative and statement of need.
The ultimate goal of the grant proposal is to gain funding for two projects that are of the greatest need in the cemetery. The first part of the project centers on restoring a section of the original 1858 antebellum perimeter iron fence, which has begun to erode and deteriorate. The other part of this project is making the interior safe by restoring the collapsed brick sarcophagus of Georgia Brown Whitfield and her infant, which currently leaves remains nearly exposed and creates a hazard for guests touring the site. Removing the dangers of broken, rusting fencing and open grave sites in Oak Grove Cemetery is a necessity to the future success of OGCS’s mission to create a site of beauty and tranquility for the City of Brunswick, the community, and guests from across the United States, where they can experience Brunswick’s history and learn about its founding fathers through OGCS’s educational programing and tours.