Apply for a Grant from AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate

Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Research Grant


At Mars, we believe the rich history of chocolate runs in parallel with the stories of trial and triumph that mark the landscape of our nation and the globe. The Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Grant enables the creation of immersive experiences, research projects, and publications that bring these stories and important cultural moments to life. It’s through the translation of these stories that we can see history through a collective lens and preserve them for future generations.


We invite you to join us on our QUEST for learning!

Launched in 2013, the Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Grant has a special emphasis on uncovering and sharing chocolate’s role in global history as well as its influence on heritage and culture. Grant funds will be awarded for project(s) that investigate and/or educate on the history of chocolate and/or the chocolate making process as well as the anticipated audience reach. The scholarship process is competitive, and the awards will be made based on merit as judged by a panel of experts. The educational impact will be at the forefront of this decision process as will attention to equity, inclusion, and diversity in the proposal. 

A minimum of $50,000 in grant funds will be awarded. The winners of the Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Grant will be announced at the Annual Meeting of the Heritage Chocolate Society, to be held on February 27-28, 2024 in Washington, DC. Feedback on grant applications will be provided when the selection process is completed.



Mars, Incorporated has spent over 100 years making some of our nation’s most beloved chocolate confections including M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, 3 MUSKETEERS®, and DOVE® Chocolate. Mars has a rich heritage in chocolate making, an expertise in the field of cocoa science and sustainability, and a deep understanding of chocolate making throughout history. With its origins in ancient Mesoamerica, chocolate has spread across the world, changing the way people experience food. Inspiring creativity, a catalyst for making family traditions, and the foundation for all manner of entertainment, chocolate’s unique story are woven through the pages of history in a distinct way.

In 2003, Mars undertook an extensive global research initiative to uncover the true history of chocolate. Mars participated with a multidisciplinary team of more than 100 experts from around the globe who accessed hundreds of archives, libraries, museums, and private collections to write a book revealing chocolate’s origin and history in the Americas. “CHOCOLATE: History, Culture, and Heritage,” (Wiley, 2009) have contributions from 45 authors, including researchers, culinary chefs, food scientists, and historians from leading historic institutions.

Out of this research project, the AMERICAN HERITAGE Chocolate brand was developed in 2006 by Mars Wrigley to help educate consumers about the history of our multicultural nation through the engaging story of one of our most beloved foods…chocolate! With a flavor profile drawn directly from the archives of chocolate’s historic past, AMERICAN HERITAGE Chocolate provides an inspiring, versatile way to make, bake, drink, explore, play, share and show love.

In 2015, Mars launched “Great Moments in Chocolate History,” a book published in partnership with National Geographic. The book brings chocolate’s story to life through detailed information and extraordinary images based on decade’s worth of research by Mars and an uncommon collaboration of history experts and food historians.

Designed to further the Mars mission of education, an educator’s guide – Global Stories Where Chocolate Sparked Discovery, Innovation, and Imagination – was developed in 2018 with National Geographic. The educator’s guide teaches global history through the lens of chocolate for students in grades 4-8.

Mars has always strived to uncover and share the fascinating trials and triumphs of chocolate’s history and how it parallels the challenges society faces today. Mars does this through focused educational presentations, member events, joint symposiums, public presentations and hands-on chocolate history demonstrations using AMERICAN HERITAGE Chocolate and Mars Core chocolate brands with historic site partners throughout North America.

For the last 20 years, Mars has sponsored an annual meeting with its historic site partners called The Heritage Chocolate Society (HCS). At these meetings, honest and lively discussions are encouraged about new research, cultural impact, and the current challenges facing these partners. Mars provides best in class speakers and experts to challenge the current paradigms and encourages historic site partners to openly engage with their visitors on the truth of chocolate’s past while providing resources and tools to help them address the challenging reality of its history given the cultural climate.

The Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Grant has awarded 44 grants totaling over $470,000 to historical, educational, civic, and community organizations since its inception.  Previous recipients from across North America include:

AK: Henderson State University

AZ: We Make History

FL: Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County

IN: Ball State University

MA: Boston University, The Old North Church

MI: Michigan State University Extension

NC: Old Salem Museums & Gardens

NY: Fort Ticonderoga, New-York Historical Society, Genesee Country Village & Museum

PA: The Betsy Ross House, Heinz History Center

VA: Stratford Hall, Historic Alexandria, Virginia Museum of History and Culture

Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Museum of American History

WI: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Canada: Friends of Lower Fort Garry, Fortress Louisbourg Association

How to Apply?

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You must be a not-for-profit organization or Non-profit 501(c)(3)/individual. researcher/an organization not operating primarily to make a profit.
  • You must be present at the meeting of the Heritage Chocolate Society (HCS) either in-person or digitally to receive your grant.
  • Grants must be executed prior to the following HCS meeting.
  • Grant winners are required to present their results, either in-person or digitally, at the following HCS meeting.
  • All publications must be approved by Mars, Incorporated prior to being produced.

Application Closed

The application window for the Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Grant is now closed. We thank all applicants for their submissions and look forward to announcing the winners at the annual meeting of the Heritage Chocolate Society.

Winner Requirements

Winners are required to attend the annual meeting of the Heritage Chocolate Society on February2 7-28, 2024, in Washington, DC to receive their award. Winners will be asked to submit a 4–5-minute video of their grant results to be presented at the Heritage Chocolate Society meeting the following year in 2025 (exact date to be determined).

Drafts of any publications (articles, news releases, blogs, etc.) resulting from the grant must be submitted to a Mars, Incorporated liaison for review prior to publication.

For any publication resulting from the Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Grant, the use of Mars trademarks, imagery, or reprint of a Mars publication must have written approval from a representative of Mars, Incorporated.