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Major Grants

Grants to Texas Nonprofits, Agencies, Schools,
and IHEs for Public Humanities Programming

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Humanities Texas

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

09/15/17 Postmarked by Midnight


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Grants to Texas nonprofit organizations, government agencies, schools, and IHEs for a broad range of humanities programs serving public audiences. Applicants must submit a letter of intent or application draft by August 15. Funding may be requested for a broad range of program formats.

Projects could include lectures, panel discussions, and conferences; teacher institutes and workshops; reading and film discussion groups; site interpretations; the development and fabrication of interpretive exhibits; and the production of films, television and radio programming, and interactive media. However, all funded programs have the following characteristics in common:

-They are firmly grounded in the humanities.
-Humanities scholars play an active role in their conception, design, and execution.
-They are conducted in a spirit of open and informed inquiry.
-They are directed primarily to the general public, both adults and young people, outside of the regular school or college classroom. Programs targeting special audiences such as K-12 teachers, community college faculty, ethnic and community groups, or professional groups are also welcome.

The humanities include but are not limited to the study of history, literature, modern and classical languages; linguistics; jurisprudence; philosophy; comparative religion; ethics; and the history, criticism, and theory of the arts. Social sciences that employ qualitative approaches such as cultural anthropology, archaeology, and political science are considered part of the humanities, as are interdisciplinary areas such as women’s studies, American studies, and the study of folklore and folklife.

In elementary and secondary education, the humanities are found in social studies and English language-arts courses, as well as in advanced courses in history, literature, foreign languages, art or music history, and related subjects.

Projects may also apply humanities perspectives to current political, social, or economic concerns and issues.

Types of Major Grants:

Major Grants for Community Projects:

Major grants for community projects fund comprehensive public programs such as lectures, seminars, and conferences; book and film discussions; interpretive exhibitions and materials; town forums and civic discussions; and teacher workshops. Programs should reflect substantial participation by both humanities scholars and members of the target audience(s).

Major Grants for Media Projects:

Major grants for media projects fund film, radio, television, or interactive programming related to the humanities. Applicants may request funds for any phase of the project, including scripting, development, production, post-production, and in some cases, distribution and free public screenings. Humanities scholars should play an integral role in determining the content and approach of the project.

General Guidelines:

All projects funded by Humanities Texas must be grounded in the humanities and incorporate critical reflection, interpretation, and open discussion. In the case of contemporary public issues, sponsors should draw upon the disciplines of the humanities to understand and interpret the specific political, social, cultural, or economic topics under consideration. For example, a program addressing environmental issues might draw from history, literature, ethics, and jurisprudence. Programs dealing with public policy questions and controversial contemporary issues must provide a balance of viewpoints to avoid advocacy and bias.

Humanities Scholars:

A humanities scholar is an individual with particular training or experience in one or more of the academic disciplines in the humanities. The typical qualifications are an advanced degree (M.A. or Ph.D.) in a humanities field of study. However, individuals without an advanced degree may qualify as humanities scholars because of their accomplishments and/or methods of research, inquiry, and teaching.

The qualifications of a project’s 1) principal Humanities Advisor and 2) participating scholars significantly determine an application’s competitiveness. For example, it is unlikely that Humanities Texas would fund a lecture series on Texas in the twentieth century that does not include any credentialed historians who specialize in twentieth-century Texas.

Humanities Texas encourages applicants to involve a broad and diverse group of scholars in their proposed projects. For major grant applications in particular, it is important that organizations include guidance and perspectives from scholars outside the sponsoring organization. For example, a museum or academic institution seeking a Humanities Texas major grant for a year-long lecture series or major exhibit should include outside scholars and advisors. Major grant applications that draw exclusively on in-house humanities expertise are typically not competitive.

Humanities Texas strongly recommends that you speak with the grants program staff early in your planning process, to ensure the strength and credibility of your project’s humanities personnel.

The mission of the Humanities Texas grants program is to support strong humanities programs aimed at nonacademic audiences. Hence, humanities scholars play essential roles in the projects that Humanities Texas funds, providing broad humanistic perspectives as well as in-depth knowledge. These scholars play many roles, including but not limited to:

-Helping conceive of and design a project
-Helping shape the content of an exhibit or other program
-Making public presentations or participating in panel discussions
-Writing critical and interpretive materials for brochures, script treatments, catalogues, etc.
-Performing specific services for the project director, such as reviewing exhibit text, script treatments,
or copy for catalogues or brochures
-Serving as an outside evaluator of the project

Public Audiences:

Projects should be directed primarily to the general public, both adults and young people, outside of the regular school or college classroom. Programs targeting special audiences such as K-12 teachers, community college faculty, ethnic and community groups, and/or professional groups are also welcome. To ensure that a project is pertinent to its target audience, representatives from that audience should play a role in the project’s conception and design.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 154116

Term of Contract:

Projects submitted for the Fall Cycle may have a start date of January 1. Projects submitted for the Spring Cycle may have a start date of July 1.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Grants are awarded to not-for-profit educational, cultural, and civic organizations. Sponsors must have, or have applied for, tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. Examples of past grant recipients include (but are not limited to):

-Two- and four-year colleges and universities
-Arts and humanities councils and institutes
-Schools and regional service centers
-Churches and religious groups
-State and local governmental entities
-Historical societies
-Public radio stations
-Labor organizations
-Civic and social service organizations
-Chambers of commerce

Projects ineligible for funding:
-Projects not grounded in the humanities.
-Projects proposed by individuals rather than non-Profit organizations.
-Theatrical performances, art exhibitions, or other presentations in the arts or media, unless their primary purpose is to provide a focus for humanistic inquiry.
-Courses for academic credit.
-Capital expenditures for significant institutional expenses such as land and buildings.
-Preservation of objects or archival materials, unless directly related to a public program.
-Publications and scholarly research, unless directly related to a public program.
-Projects that advocate a single point of view, ideology, or specific program of social action.
-Projects aimed primarily at audiences outside of Texas.
-Scholarships and fellowships.
-Fundraisers and profit-making projects.

Common reasons for rejecting proposals:
-Insufficient humanities content
-Inadequate involvement of humanities scholars
-Inadequate involvement of humanities scholars with specialties that align with the project focus
-Involvement of only “in-house” scholars and experts, particularly in large-scale programs
-Program not suited to the particular needs of its target audience
-Program lacks balance in its presentation of contemporary public issues
-Inadequate publicity or promotion plans
-Budget not justified or not reasonable
-Application incomplete or lacking crucial programmatic details
-Application lists activities and participants yet to be confirmed
-Proposed activities scheduled to occur prior to when grant period can begin

Not Funded:
-Indirect costs (overhead)
-Institutional staffing (including the Project Director, Authorizing Official, the Fiscal Agent, or support staff)
-Food, other than necessary travel expenses for program personnel
-Refreshments or entertainment
-Building construction, restoration, or preservation
-Purchase of buildings or property
-Purchase of significant, expensive permanent equipment. Inexpensive program-specific equipment (e.g., digital recorders for an oral history program) is allowable.
-Airfare outside of North America
-Museum acquisitions
-Library acquisitions (except for books and film or print resources used in conjunction with funded programs)
-Books or publications unrelated to Humanities Texas grant projects
-Individual research or writing unless these are integral to programs having a direct public audience
-Creative or performing arts, unless they are used in a supporting role to enhance discussion of issues
-Expenses incurred or paid out before a HTx grant award is made

Pre-Application Information:

Project sponsors must provide at least half of the total cost of any project. To meet this cost-share requirement, the sponsoring organization may contribute 1.) cash and/or 2.) in-kind services and goods, such as the time of volunteers, the time of employees assigned to the project, and use of meeting space.

Projects for which the sponsor has raised, or expects to raise, third-party, non-federal cash contributions (i.e., cash donations made to the project by an individual, a foundation, or a corporation not otherwise linked to the sponsoring organization) may be considered stronger candidates for funding. Humanities Texas may award such projects grants from NEH’s Gifts and Matching Funds program, which must be matched at a 2-to-1 matching rate. In such cases, all additional cost-share (including cash from institutional and third-party gifts) that exceeds the amount being used to obtain the NEH matching funds should be documented in the project budget. Such grants are awarded at the discretion of Humanities Texas and do not require a separate application process. Humanities Texas staff will communicate with applicants regarding their eligibility for such awards.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Humanities Texas prior to submitting an application

Applicants for Major Grants must notify Humanities Texas in writing of their intent to apply at least 30 days prior to the deadline. The letter of intent should briefly summarize the proposed project and its objectives, list the advisors to the project, and estimate the funds that will be requested. Complete instructions for preparing a letter of intent are available online.

Applicants may also submit a draft proposal in lieu of a letter of intent. Humanities Texas staff will respond to letters of intent and draft applications 1) indicating whether projects fall within the mission and guidelines of the Humanities Texas grants program, and 2) when appropriate, providing queries and suggestions to strengthen the application before formal submission.

Fall Cycle:
-Letter of intent/draft application: August 15
-Application deadline: September 15
-Decision date: December 1
-Project start date: January 1

Spring Cycle:
-Letter of intent/draft application: February 15
-Application deadline: March 15
-Decision date: June 1
-Project start date: July 1

Major grant proposals must be postmarked no later than midnight of the application deadline. If the deadline falls on a Sunday, proposals will be accepted with the next day’s postmark.

Contact Information:

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

Humanities Texas
1410 Rio Grande Street
Austin, Texas 78701

P: (512) 440-1991
F: (512) 440-0115

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Texas

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