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Major Grants

Grants to South Dakota Nonprofits, Agencies,
and Institutions for Humanities Projects

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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South Dakota Humanities Council (SDHC)

Deadline Date:

10/15/18 - Deadline for requests over $1,000; requests of $1,000 or less may be submitted at any time.


Request a Grant Writer

Grants of up to $2,500 and grants of up to $7,000 to South Dakota nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and institutions to support humanities projects. Funding may be requested for both research and discussion-oriented activities. Projects must take place within the state.

Mission: The South Dakota Humanities Council celebrates literature, promotes civil conversation, and tells the stories that define the state.

Vision: The SDHC will lead statewide advocacy for the humanities, working with other partners to foster literary and civic engagement.

Strategic Priorities:
-Expand the community of readers and writers through literary events throughout South Dakota
-Engage communities in thoughtful conversation about the state’s cultural and historical landscape
-Diversify revenue sources

Defining the Humanities:

"The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life." (From:
--National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended

All grant proposals must meet the following requirements:
-The project must take place in South Dakota.
-The project must directly advance the mission of the South Dakota Humanities Council and promote the humanities in American public life
-The topic must relate to a humanities discipline. The humanities are fields of study concerned with people, their values, and the human experience.
-The project must include active participation of a humanities scholar. This is a person trained in one of the humanities disciplines, earning an M.A. or Ph.D., or an individual whose career and personal history shows commitment to the humanities.

Not required, but encouraged, are programs that:
-Are free, open to the public, and attract a diverse audience.
-Promote reading and develop reading skills.
-Offer programs in underserved geographic locations. The SDHC seeks to have a balanced approach to dispersing funds – please contact the SDHC office for a list of underserved counties.
-Are new projects or are submitted by organizations that have not previously received SDHC funding. Projects that have received previous funding may be considered but should have an expectation of declining financial resources for repeat applications.
-Involve scholars of the Lakota, Dakota, or Nakota nations. These groups make up the largest minority in South Dakota.

2018 Initiative:

The initiative for 2018 will be “Democracy and the Informed Citizen.” The SDHC’s 2018 programming may revolve around this topic and feature a second round of programming based on the work of Pulitzer Prize winning authors – especially journalists.


"Since the nation’s founding, the humanities have been seen as essential for educating citizens to understand their history, think creatively, and form reasoned judgments and decisions. The Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires programs that took place throughout 2016 allowed participants to draw on the humanities to address some of the most challenging questions we face as a society, including immigration, race relations, freedom of speech, civil rights, the environment, and the impact of war.

The Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative will pursue three main goals:

1) Deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the intimate connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry, including the following:

-A healthy democracy requires an informed citizenry.
-The humanities and journalism play a vital role in fostering an informed citizenry.
-Informed citizens are media literate.

2) Increase media literacy by engaging the public in discussions with Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists in journalism, other respected journalists, and scholars about reliable and unreliable sources of information.

3) Explore obstacles to sustaining high-quality journalism, especially local journalism, and potential solutions. ”

-From the Federation of State Humanities Councils

Potential programs include:
-Community conversations on news, or the history or future of news
-A community book discussion based on a text that examines important current events – democracy, immigration, justice, communications or context
-A symposium or conference meant to foster news literacy
-A public lecture on the role of humanities in public discourse, information literacy, or civil discourse on current events

As with all grant funded projects through the South Dakota Humanities Council, programs should be informed by humanities materials and scholarship. Projects may not advocate for a specific political view or agenda and the conversations should actively engage South Dakotans in sharing ideas and information.

Grant Categories/Requirements:

Humanities Discussion Programs:
Engage the general public and scholar in a discussion of the humanities. Formats include conferences, festivals, lectures and/or presentations. The focus of the program should examine the topic from the perspective of the humanities. Discussion programs can also contain a media element; for example, potential projects include documentary films, radio and television productions, exhibits, website and social media projects, mobile web applications and humanities-related books or e-books. These projects encourage discussion in the humanities and utilize unique forms of media to advance the humanities. If a media program is approved, a contract covering copyright, distribution, credits, and disclaimers signed by the grantee is required.

Research Programs:
Encourage scholarly research in the humanities, especially topics relevant to South Dakota culture and heritage. Applicants must include a plan for a minimum of three public presentations of the research.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177645

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Discussion requests cannot exceed $7,000.

Research requests cannot exceed $2,500.

Requests of $1,000 or less will be considered on a rolling basis.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Any nonprofit organization, institution, or public organization interested in promoting the humanities may apply.

The sponsoring organization must have a tax-exempt status letter (such as the 501(c)3 form) and a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number with the Central Contract Registration.

The sponsoring organization must not have any current open grants with SDHC.

Not Funded:
-Courses, scholarships, cash awards, or fellowships
-Performances in the creative or performing arts that do not have a humanities component
-Lobbying efforts or activities that advocate a particular political/social party, agenda, or ideology
-Capital projects including equipment, land,
-Programs that are being held to make a profit
-Meals, snacks, decorations
-Expenses incurred prior to getting the award
-Endowment or fundraising solicitations
-Proposals that do not follow SDHC guidelines
-Generally, no supplies or equipment can be purchased renovation, or staffing costs with grant funds

Pre-Application Information:

Third-party cash and in-kind contributions must match the amount requested from SDHC.

Applicants who wish to have their proposal reviewed by the SDHC staff must do so two weeks prior to submission.

Grants requested for $1,000 or below can be approved on a rolling basis.

If the award amount is above $1,000, grants will be reviewed at the November or April board meeting. Requests exceeding $1,000 are due February 28 and October 15 annually.

All Grants must be submitted a minimum of six weeks before the program start date.

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Kyle Schaefer, SDHC Program Officer

South Dakota Humanities Council
1215 Trail Ridge Road, Suite A
Brookings, SD 57006

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: South Dakota