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Media Projects: Development Grants

Grants to USA Nonprofits, IHEs, and Agencies to Develop Humanities
Television, Film, Radio, and Podcast Documentary Programs

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National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) - Division of Public Programs

Deadline Date:

01/08/20 11:59 PM ET


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Grants of up to $75,000 to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribal governments, and higher education institutions for the development of humanities-related media projects. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take up to six weeks to complete. Funding is intended for film, television, radio, and podcast development.

The Media Projects: Development Grants program supports the collaboration of media producers and scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare documentary film, television, radio, and podcast projects that engage public audiences with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. Awards should result in a script (for documentary film or television programs) or a detailed treatment (for radio programs or podcasts) and may also yield a plan for outreach and public engagement. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship.

The Division of Public Programs encourages media projects that promote a deeper understanding of American history and culture and advance civic education. The Division of Public Programs also supports media projects that examine international themes and subjects in the humanities.

Film and television development projects may be a single film or a series addressing significant figures, events, or ideas. Programs may be intended for regional or national distribution, via traditional carriage or online distribution. This Media Projects: Development Grants program does not fund development of single short films. Proposed films must be longer than thirty minutes. Series of multiple films may be any length.

Radio and podcast development projects may involve single programs, limited series, or segments within an ongoing series. They may be intended for regional or national distribution.

All projects applying to the Media Projects program should:

  • Build on sound humanities scholarship
  • Deepen public understanding of significant humanities questions
  • Approach a subject analytically, presenting a variety of perspectives
  • Involve humanities scholars in all phases of development and production
  • Involve appropriate media professionals
  • Employ appealing and accessible program formats that will actively engage the general public in learning

Media Projects: Development Grants may support activities such as:

  • Meetings with scholars
  • Research and preliminary interviews (including scholarly research and development of humanities themes)
  • Preparation of program treatments and/or scripts
  • Production of a work-in-progress or trailer;
  • Creation of partnerships for outreach activities and public engagement

For information on NIH areas of interest, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178021

Number of Grants:

Estimated Number and Type of Award(s): 5 grants

Estimated Size of Grant:

Most awards are made for up to $40,000, with a maximum of $75,000 for complex projects that will reach national audiences.

Term of Contract:

Awards are usually made for a period of performance of six to twelve months. Projects should begin on September 1, 2020.


  • 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 organizations are encouraged to partner with independent producers. Under this arrangement, the lead applicant submits the application on behalf of the partnership. The lead applicant must not function solely as a fiscal agent, but should make substantive contributions to the success of the project. If the application is funded, the lead applicant is considered the recipient of record and assumes all programmatic, financial, and legal responsibilities associated with the award.

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

Media Projects: Development Grants may not be used for:
- Development of a single short film (under 30 minutes)
- Fictional films, including dramatic adaptations of literary works
- Projects that will satisfy requirements for educational degrees or formal professional training
- Projects intended primarily for students in formal learning environments (though projects may include components that can be used in classrooms)
- General operations, renovation, restoration, rehabilitation, or construction of station or production facilities
- Preservation or cataloging of materials and collections
- Promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view
- Advocacy for a particular program of social or political action
- Support of specific public policies or legislation
- Lobbying
- Projects that fall outside of the humanities; the creation or performance of art; creative writing, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and empirically based social science research or policy studies

NEH funds may not be used to support obscene, libelous, indecent, or defamatory content (including hate speech, personal attacks, or material constituting harassment).

Pre-Application Information:

- Before the January 8, 2020 deadline: Contact Division of Public Programs program officers with questions and for advice (optional)
- November 29, 2019: Submit draft application by this date (optional)
- December 2, 2019: Applicants that have not registered in, the System for Award Management (SAM), and should begin the process no later than this date
- December 20, Applicants that have registered in SAM and should verify their registrations by this date
- January 8, 2020: Applications must be submitted through and validated by by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on this date
- January 8, 2020: If applicable, DVD samples must arrive at NEH on or before this date
- March-April 2020: Peer review panels take place
- July 2020: Meeting of the National Council on the Humanities, followed by funding decisions
- August 2020: Applicants are notified of the funding decisions
- August 2020: Institutional grants administrators and project directors of successful applications receive award documents by e-mail from the NEH Office of Grant Management
- September 1, 2020: Successful applicants may begin work on their projects

The Division of Public Programs accepts applications for the two Media Projects programs (Development and Production) at two deadlines a year: in January and August.

Applicants will be notified of the decision by e-mail in August 2020.

If after reading this document you have questions about this program, contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Public Programs.

The registration process requires completing information in three separate systems:
1. Dun and Bradstreet
2. System for Award Management (SAM)
In order to apply through, the applicant organization must first have or obtain a valid Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S®) number, and register (or have an active registration) in the System for Award Management (SAM). Note: If you are registering in for the first time, you must provide an original, signed notarized letter stating that you are the authorized Entity Administrator for the entity associated with the D-UN-S® number. The initial SAM registration can take up to six weeks.

Organizations must maintain active SAM registration with current information at all times during which they have an active federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a federal agency. You must therefore review and update your information at least annually after the initial registration, and more frequently if required by changes in information.

Applicant organizations with a valid D-U-N-S® number and an active SAM registration must then register with Visit for complete registration information. The initial registration process can take up to two weeks.

The Media Projects funding opportunity has two application packages available in Media Production Development applicants should select application package TD12020.

View this opportunity on

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

Contact Information:

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

For questions, assistance, or to submit a draft proposal:

Division of Public Programs
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20506

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

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