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Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, Tribes,
and IHEs to Strengthen Humanities Programming

Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

09/28/21 11:59 PM Eastern Time


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, IHEs, and tribes to build organizational capacity to offer humanities programming. Interested applicants are advised that required registrations may take up to one month to complete. Grant funds may be used for capital projects or to strengthen and expand digital infrastructure.

The purpose of the Challenge Grants program is to strengthen the institutional base of the humanities by enabling infrastructure development and capacity building. Awards aim to help institutions secure long-term support for their core activities and expand efforts to preserve and create access to outstanding humanities materials. The program funds two distinct types of projects:

  • Capital Projects supports capital projects that strengthen the institutional base of the humanities with grants that support infrastructure development and capacity building to help institutions and organizations secure and sustain their core buildings, sites, collections, and/or humanities activities for the long-term. Grants support the design, purchase, construction, restoration, or renovation of buildings or
    sites of historical, architectural, or cultural significance and facilities that house humanities
    collections or are used for humanities activities.
    • This includes the purchase and installation of related moveable and permanently affixed equipment for exhibiting, maintaining, monitoring, and protecting collections (whether on exhibit or in storage), and for critical building systems, such as electrical, heating ventilation and air conditioning, security, life safety, lighting, utilities, telecommunications, and energy management.  
  • Digital Infrastructure This program supports digital infrastructure projects that
    support the maintenance, modernization, and sustainability of existing digital scholarly
    projects and platforms and benefit users in the long-term. These grants are intended to strengthen mature digital projects and platforms that have been
    developed and in use for several years.  A digital project is considered
    “infrastructure” if it is widely used by a community over the long term.
    • Activities and costs supported under this notice may include, but are not limited to: Integrating digital resources for improved long-term preservation and access; extending the functionality of existing digital platforms to improve sustainability; creating mechanisms for ensuring the longterm functioning of digital resources; developing and modernizing digital architecture; improving data management; acquiring and/or upgrading software and hardware systems and equipment; updating and enhancing existing content; improving the user experience; training and outreach activities; and developing business practices related to project sustainability and associated personnel costs.

For both Capital Projects and Digital Infrastructure, expenditures must be shown to bring long-term benefits to the institution and to the humanities more broadly.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 151055

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Approximately 12-15 grants per deadline (Capital Projects and Digital Infrastructure combined)

Estimated Size of Grant:

Maximum award amount is $750,000

Estimated Total Program Funding:
Approximately $6,500,000 is expected to be available per deadline (Capital Projects and Digital Infrastructure combined).

Term of Contract:

- The period of performance may begin as early as March 1, 2022 and no later than June 1, 2022 (for proposals submitted by the May 18, 2021 deadline).
- The period of performance may begin as early as July 1, 2022 and as late as October 1, 2022 (for proposals submitted by the September 28, 2021 deadline).

Period of performance: Up to five years.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants include U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, accredited public and 501 (c)(3) institutions of higher education, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments.

Applicants must work wholly or in part in the humanities: they must support research, education, preservation, or public programming in the humanities.

Individuals, foreign and for-profit entities are not eligible to apply.

Capital Projects Funding Restrictions:

Digital Infrastructure Funding Restrictions:

Pre-Application Information:

Application due dates are as follows:
- May 18, 2021, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time
- September 28, 2021, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

Timeline for upcoming grant cycle:
- Application available: March 4, 2021
- Optional Draft due: April 6, 2021
- Application due: May 18, 2021
- Expected notification date: December 31, 2021
- Project start date: March 1, 2022-June 1, 2022

Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by email in December 2021 (for proposals submitted for the May 18, 2021 deadline) or April 2022 (for proposals submitted for the September 28, 2021 deadline).

All organizations must submit their applications for NEH funding using Workspace. Before using for the first time, each organization must have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and register with The registration process requires completing information in three separate systems:
1. Dun and Bradstreet (*
2. System for Award Management (SAM) (*
3. (

*Organizations must register with the System for Award Management (SAM) and continue to maintain active SAM registration with current information at all times during which you have an active federal award or an application or plan under consideration by an agency (unless the applicant is an individual or federal agency that is exempted from those requirements). Ensure your and registrations and passwords are current. NEH will not grant deadline extensions for lack of registration. Registration in all systems, including and, may take up to 1 month to complete.

There are four application packages available in Select the appropriate package based upon your project type and deadline:
CAP52021 - Capital Projects (May 18, 2021 deadline)
DIG52021 - Digital Infrastructure (May 18, 2021 deadline)
CAP92021 - Capital Projects (September 28, 2021 deadline)
DIG92021 - Digital Infrastructure (September 28, 2021 deadline)

Program officers will review draft proposals submitted by April 6, 2021 for applications intended for the May 18, 2021 deadline and August 17, 2021 for applications intended for the September 28, 2021 deadline.

Three years of financial statements are not required at the time of application but need to be provided by approved applicants before receiving an award offer from NEH.

For matching requirements, see page 7 of the appropriate RFP in Supporting Documents below.

Fundraising is a critical part of NEH Challenge grant awards: Up to 10 percent of total funds (Challenge matching funds plus certified gifts) may be used for fundraising costs during the period of performance.

Watch the Pre-application Webinar:

View this opportunity on

For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

For additional program resources, see the URL for Full Text below.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Office of Challenge Programs
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20506

For questions about administrative requirements or allowable costs, contact:
Office of Grant Management
202-606-8494 Applicant Support
International Calls: 606-545-5035

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:

20210518-CHA, OMB 3136-0134

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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