Black Experiences Grant Program Part of Road Ahead’s Centennial Celebration

Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway

Route 66, USA-Historic Route 66 turns 100 years old in 2026, and the party is starting. The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership is helping kick off the Mother RoadRoad’s birthday celebration with the Route 66 Black Experiences Grant Program. The grant program is one of the first in a series of “birthday gifts” to be given to Route 66 in the years leading up to the road’s Centennial.

The Road Ahead was awarded $250,000 by American Express to provide direct grants to help Black owned and/or operated businesses and attractions along Route 66. The funds will also support research and programs that interpret and tell the stories of Black experiences associated with Route 66. The Route 66 Black Experiences Grant Program is part of the Road Ahead’s 100th Anniversary of Route 66 celebration.

Through the Centennial, the Road Ahead aims to help the millions of people who live, work, and travel along Route 66 with projects focused on preservation, promotion, research/education, and the economic development o f Route 66.

Applications for The Black Experiences Grant Program are being accepted through Monday, October 14, 2023, and are available at:

The first round of the Road Ahead’s Black Experiences Grant Program was awarded in 2022. In addition to this round of 2023 grants, the program will also be administered in 2024, 2025, and 2026. A total of $50,000 [10 awards of up to $,5000 each] is being awarded each year through the Route 66 Black Experiences Grant Program.

Established in 2016, with the support of the National Park Service and the World Monuments’ Fund, The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership’s mission is to revitalize and sustain Route 66 as a national and international icon through partnerships focused on promotion, preservation, research and education, and economic development.

Bill Thomas, Chairman
Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership
217 648 5077

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Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway