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The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage), in keeping with its long tradition of supporting the region’s unique cultural heritage, announced the start of the 2021 Partnership Grants Program Cycle.

Over the next year, the twelve grant recipients will be working to implement a diverse range of educational, interpretive, and preservation-minded projects throughout Boston’s North Shore and the Merrimack Valley. 

Essex Heritage is a nonprofit organization that manages the Essex National Heritage Area by developing programs that enhance, preserve, and encourage recreation, education, conservation, and interpretation projects on Boston’s North Shore and the Lower Merrimack River Valley. The Essex National Heritage Area comprises the 34 cities and towns of Essex County.

In addition to the traditional grant categories of Education, Interpretation, and Preservation, this year Essex Heritage is excited to introduce a fourth category, Access and Inclusion.

In the 22-year tenure of the Partnership Grants Program, multiple projects have arisen which have put emphasis on inclusionary programs and renovations, including providing more equitable access to youth for experiencing local natural resources and completing renovations to historic structures which include updating accessibility standards. 

With this category, Essex Heritage hopes to provide more opportunities for organizations that are seeking out projects such as social justice-focused presentations, transportation for youth to access natural and cultural resources within the heritage area, or ADA improvements including wheelchair lifts, ramps, and interpretation aids. 

“We recognize the importance of supporting local organizations and we are proud that we will be able to award twelve partnership grants again this year,” says Annie Harris, Essex Heritage CEO. “Over the life of the program we have provided grants to every community in Essex County—and we know that this seed money greatly impacts the region by leveraging more investments in the Essex National Heritage Area.” 

For more information, visit or call 978-740-0444.