· Program administered by Washington State Archives helps local governments improve records-management processes
OLYMPIA — Nearly $650,000 in state funding is now available to local governments statewide through the Local Records Grant Program.
Administered by Washington State Archives, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, the Local Records Grant Program helps local-government agencies and entities upgrade the technological resources needed to improve their records retention, management, and public records request response processes.
The program was enacted by the state Legislature in 2017 and expanded in 2019, demonstrating Washington’s ongoing commitment to helping resource-strapped local governments preserve their irreplaceable records. Since its inception, the program has awarded over $2.42 million to hundreds of agencies and entities statewide including towns and counties; fire, school, hospital, port, and public-utility districts; transit authorities; and more.
“The Local Records Grant Program ensures local-government agencies and entities have the resources they need to preserve and protect their vital public records,” said State Archivist Steve Excell. “Records management can be painstakingly challenging work, but what our local governments have achieved with the help of these grants is amazing. We are grateful for the opportunity to support their efforts to better manage their records.”
Qualified agencies and entities can apply via an online portal that will be available on the program website beginning June 1. The application deadline is June 30.
During the summer an Archives Oversight Committee, composed of county auditors, county clerks, and representatives from other sectors of local governments, will review the applications and send its recommendations to the Secretary of State. The winners will be announced in late September.
“Without the Local Records Grant Program, the process of digitizing records and launching our district into the ‘paperless’ world would have remained on the to-do wish list for a very long time,” said Anita Tenold, special education administrative coordinator at Ridgefield School District, which was awarded a ‘Digital Imaging’ grant last year. “The grant was the inspiration for us to dig deep and move this from a dream to reality.”
Washington State Archives will host webinars in May to help local-government agencies and entities prepare their grant applications. A recorded version of the webinar and a presentation are also available.
Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington, oversees the Combined Fund Drive for charitable giving by state employees, and administers the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help protect survivors of crime.