It’s safe to say Tom Hand has a love of American history. It’s led the self-effacing Ford Field & River Club resident to serve on various boards and commissions and trusts over the years.
It also inspired Hand, a West Point alumnus and Army veteran, to begin writing a weekly column for this newspaper called “American Corner.” That enterprise turned into a website, complete with educational videos on various aspects of U.S. history starring Hand himself as various important figures from America’s past.
But Hand wanted to do more.
And so he is. Welcome to the American Corner Grant Program, in which Hand through his organization is giving away $250,000 in grants in 2022 to historical groups working to tell America’s story. “I came up with this idea about a year ago as I was trying to find a way to remind Americans of their nation’s incredible past,” Hand said. “I had created my website, Americana Corner, for this purpose, but felt I could do more.”
He reasoned that there are educational groups out there striving to “tell the great American story but lack the funds to do so,” Hand added. “I thought by helping them with funding to achieve their goals, I could also achieve mine. In any event, I have been blessed with the resources to help and a very supportive wife in Char, so I thought I would give this idea a try.”
Hand said eligible organizations should be focused on American history from 1607 to 1876. They have to be recognized as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit by the IRS and can’t be partisan or political. Grants will be awarded in amounts between $5,000 and $10,000 and organizations can only submit one grant request a year. There are two categories of grants – those to help “restore and/or improve a site, object, or display focused on American history from 1607 to 1876 that will enhance the visitor experience; and/ or educator visitors about the site and its role in American history.”
There are other requirements and criteria organizations have to meet, and the deadline to apply is Jan. 31. Potential applicants can go to www. americanacorner.com/ grants to learn more.
In the meantime, Hand signs off each of his Bryan County News columns with a Latin phrase asking that a reader’s motto be, Ducit Amor Patriae,” or “Love of country leads me.”
That phrase something he’s serious about.
“Because of our efforts, we further hope that the ‘love of country,’ the ‘Amor Patriae,’ will be rekindled in the hearts of American,” he said.