The Society for the Preservation of Maryland Antiquities was one of 23 private, nonprofit historic preservation organizations nationwide awarded challenge grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The grants, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, will help private statewide historic preservation organizations that are threatened by federal budget cuts. Grants are designed to improve these groups' financial stablity by expanding and diversifying their sources of financial support.

The Society for the Preservation of Maryland Antiquities received a $7,500 grant.

"These grants are not property-tied," said Beverly Reece, a spokeswoman for the National Trust. She explained that the restrictions of the one-time grants will help with organizing and fund-raising: "They are designed to increase the capacity of private groups to raise their own money." Each of the grants must be matched dollar-for-dollar.

"Private statewide preservation groups represent the future of the historic preservation movement," said National Trust President Michael L. Ainslie. "In an environment of decreasing public support, these challenge grants will increase the long-term stability of statewide organizations, enabling them to assume a stronger role in preservation of their state's heritage ."

In addition to grants awarded to organizations in Hawaii, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Utah, Florida and Connecticut, historic preservation groups in these states were chosen to enter partnerships with the trust to develop membership, sponsor legislation and develop fund-raising.