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Grassroots Grants

Grants to North Carolina Nonprofits, Schools, and
Agencies for Small-Scale Humanities Projects

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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North Carolina Humanities Council

Deadline Date:

09/07/18 Midnight


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Grants of up to $2,000 to North Carolina nonprofits, schools, IHEs, and government agencies to support small projects that engage public audiences with the humanities. Funding may be requested for scholar stipends, publicity, travel expenses (including lodging and meals), and other qualifying expenses related to humanities projects of limited scope.

The North Carolina Humanities Council serves as an advocate for lifelong learning and thoughtful dialogue about all facets of human life. The Council facilitates the exploration and celebration of the many voices and stories of North Carolina’s cultures and heritage.

The North Carolina Humanities Council develops among North Carolinians an understanding of and appreciation for the humanities that can transform the way they see themselves and their communities. In support of these goals, the Council is committed to the following:
-An interdisciplinary approach to the humanities
-Discovery and understanding of the humanities--culture, identity, and history
-Respect for individual community members and community values
-Humanities scholarship and scholars to develop humanities perspectives
-Cultural diversity and inclusiveness
-Informed and active citizenship as an outgrowth of new awareness of self and community

North Carolina Humanities Council-sponsored programs must involve humanities scholars, scholarship and the public and are aimed at a wide, community-based audience. Proposals will be evaluated according to how well they fit with the mission and goals of the Council, including the following:
-Community involvement and its reflected diversity
-Strength of scholar(s)
-Potential long-term impact or replicability of the program
-Nature of the topic and intended audience
-Project’s contribution to the Council’s commitment to supporting public humanities programs throughout the state

About Humanities Programs:

An important goal of the humanities is to encourage reflection about values and ideas through interdisciplinary programs. All of us hold beliefs and assumptions which shape the way we see the world, whether it is a contemporary issue or our understanding of an historical event. A humanities program makes us more aware of the connection between our values and the views that we express in public and private life. It also encourages us to understand the values of others and how their views may differ from our own.

A good humanities program makes us think in new ways. It questions without providing pat answers. It presents different points of view about an issue or a topic. A humanities program moves beyond facts and information (what, where, and when) to questions of interpretation and analysis (i.e., “What is the meaning of this story?” or “How can we learn from it?” or “Which version of the story do we chose to believe and why?”). These are the kinds of questions that humanities disciplines ask about any subject. Although the particular focus of how we come to understand human experience may differ from discipline-to-discipline, what is consistent is the necessity of rigorous inquiry and connecting meaning to how we live our lives. Humanities projects incorporate how understanding gained from the study of such disciplines helps us reflect on and give meaning to our “diverse heritage, traditions, histories, and the current conditions of national life.” As the founding legislation of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) states, “Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.”

Humanities disciplines, according to the NEH, include but are not limited “to the study and interpretation of language, both modern and classical; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; and those aspects of the social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods.” Additionally, the NEH defines humanities projects are those that “seek to understand and explain the significance of what people have thought, done, and achieved, both in the past and in our time. These projects explore topics like the philosophy, literature, art, and music that people create; the battles that they fight; the polities and societies in which they live; the social forces that unite and divide them; the work that they do; and the religions in which they believe.”

Humanities Scholars:

A humanities scholar is defined as someone with an advanced degree (at least an M.A.) in a humanities discipline. A wider definition includes lay scholars, such as community elders with special expertise in the life-ways, traditions, and worldviews of particular cultures. North Carolina Humanities Council staff can help you locate humanities scholars who are willing to participate and have experience in public programs. If you have a topic in mind, staff can provide a list of individuals with matching interests and expertise. You may also want to contact a university.

Project Formats:

Some of the projects the North Carolina Humanities Council has funded include reading-and-discussion programs, lectures, conferences, seminars, symposia, media projects (radio, television, film, video, DVD, web), performance activities with discussion (such as plays, staged reading, and original performance initiatives), oral histories, photographic exhibits, museum exhibits, the creation and dissemination of printed materials, and teacher workshops.

Possible projects include:
-Community conversation series in which diverse residents creatively address community challenges, guided by the perspectives of the humanities.
-Permanent or traveling exhibitions available to public audiences.
-Interpretation of historic sites, houses, neighborhoods, and regions, which might include living history presentations, guided tours, exhibitions, and public programs.
-Proposed projects may also include complementary components that deepen an audience’s understanding of a subject. For example, a museum exhibition might be accompanied by a website, mobile app, or discussion programs.

All grant projects must:
-Be grounded in sound humanities scholarship
-Provide analytical interpretation to deepen public understanding of significant humanities questions
-Involve a team of humanities and community scholars who contribute to all phases of the project
-Attract a broad public audience or target a particular group underserved by the humanities
-Offer engaging content approached through an appropriate variety of perspectives
-Encourage dialogue and the exchange of ideas.

North Carolina Humanities Council funds may be used for:
-Meetings with scholars and other content advisers, program partners, and audience representatives
-Research into the topic
-Travel to archives, collections, sites, or other resources
-Development and production of program or discussion guides, exhibition labels, brochures, digital assets, publications, or other interpretive material
-Design of any of the interpretive formats to be used
-Planning and presentation of public programs and publicity materials
-Evaluation of the project’s impact
-Planning and conducting project-specific training for docents, discussion coordinators, or other interpretive leaders
-Development and production of curriculum guides and other materials for teachers and students
-Exhibition design and fabrication, as well as crating and shipping
-Development and construction of interactive program components
-Publication costs for complementary materials, including catalogs and curriculum guides
-Publicity expenses All activities funded by North Carolina Humanities Council grants must be free and open to the public.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 164046

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grassroots Grants provide up to $2,000.

The stipend payment to a speaker, scholar, or presenter for a single presentation in a program cannot exceed $400 in North Carolina Humanities Council funds.

Term of Contract:

Funding is for projects that begin no less than eight weeks after the submission date of the award.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The sponsoring group must be a nonprofit organization operating in North Carolina or a nonprofit sponsor whose project focus is of interest to North Carolinians.

The North Carolina Humanities Council does not give grants to individuals nor does it grant scholarships or fellowships.

Individuals with a project idea may want to consult with a nonprofit organization to determine whether this group shares their interests and will serve as the project sponsor.

While the North Carolina Humanities Council welcomes applications that involve educational institutions, the proposed project must reach a broader community of citizens. The Council encourages programs that engage adults and life-long learning.

Successful applicants have included libraries, schools, museums, religious institutions, universities, colleges, community colleges, tribal organizations, civic clubs, home-extension units, arts councils, city and county governments, community-based organizations, and ad hoc groups created for the sole purpose of carrying out a project.

North Carolina Humanities Council grant funds cannot be used to:
a. Purchase equipment, buildings, or other non-expendable items, such as art, artifacts or equipment
b. Create encyclopedias, or projects for preservation, cataloging, or archiving that do not include significant interpretive components
c. Develop print or digital publications that are not an integral part of the larger project for which funding is requested d. Pay salaries to individuals who are administering the grant as part of a salaried job e. Pay for professional development or for new staff hires
f. Pay for projects intended primarily for students in formal learning environments or that satisfy requirements for educational degrees or formal professional training (though projects may include components that can be used in classrooms)
g. Pay for projects primarily devoted to research rather than interpretation for the general public
h. Develop dramatic adaptations of literary works
i. Cover expenses for venues in foreign countries
j. Pay for general operations, renovation, restoration, rehabilitation, or construction, strategic planning or feasibility studies
k. Pay for projects that seek to persuade participants of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view
l. Pay for projects that advocate a particular program of social action
m. Cover indirect costs
n. Support obscene, libelous, indecent, or defamatory content (including hate speech, personal attacks, or material constituting harassment).
o. Cover food costs, except for the meals of program presenters or consultants.
p. In addition, grant funds cannot be used for popular entertainment for diversion, liquor, or social activities. In conjunction with project activities, applicants may provide refreshments and/or lunches and dinners for their audiences through local cash contributions.

Pre-Application Information:

Project sponsors and all persons and organizations connected with a project must match North Carolina Humanities Council grant monies with in-kind and/or cash contributions 2-to-1 to the amount of North Carolina Humanities Council outright funds requested (i.e. if you request $2,000 you must match at least $4,000).

While expenses incurred prior to the grant award are not reimbursable from North Carolina Humanities Council funds, these expenses may be used as part of the sponsor’s match when accurate documentation of in-kind services has been maintained. A North Carolina Humanities Council “in-kind contributions” documentation form will be sent to the project director upon approval of the proposal.

Grassroots grant applications must be submitted using the online application system by the first day of the month to be considered for funding during that month’s funding cycle.

Applicants are required to submit proposals for projects which begin no less than eight weeks after the first of the month submission deadline.

Grant awards are usually made no later than the end of the month. For example, a proposal submitted on September 1 will receive a funding decision by October 1 for a project that begins no earlier than November 1.

Three Grassroots grants cycles are offered this year with the following deadlines. Projects should not begin less than eight weeks from the submission deadline:

-Jan 29, 2018 midnight
-April 13, 2018 midnight
-Sept 7, 2018 midnight

Application Instructions and FAQs:

Application Video Tutorial:

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

North Carolina Humanities Council
320 East 9th Street, Suite 414
Charlotte, NC 28202

P: (704) 687-1520
F: (704) 687-1550

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: North Carolina

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