Find Nonprofit and Small Business Grants

Advance Search

Only Available for Paid Subscribers
Clear Filters
Search Filters

Project Grant

Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofits and
Agencies for Public Humanities Projects

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

Add to My Calendar 

Mass Humanities

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

05/06/19 Midnight


Request a Grant Writer

Grants of up to $7,500 and grants of up to $15,000 to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations and government agencies for humanities projects serving public audiences. Applicants must submit an LOI prior to submitting a full application. Consideration will be given to projects in a broad range of formats. Qualifying projects are firmly grounded in the humanities and involve at least one humanities scholar.

Mass Humanities grants support projects that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines, primarily to deepen public understanding of current social, political, and economic issues, thereby enhancing and improving civic life.

Mass Humanities encourages collaborations between organizations, interdisciplinary approaches, and capacity building in small organizations. Priority is given to projects that engage audiences with limited contact to humanities programming (Engaging New Audiences for the Humanities) and projects that respond to Mass Humanities’ current theme (Negotiating the Social Contract).

Engaging New Audiences for the Humanities (ENA):
To receive priority, an application must include a detailed and realistic plan for engaging new and larger audiences for humanities programs. Special consideration will be given to projects that involve audiences with limited access to the humanities, which include: young and working adults, incarcerated people, teens, and nursing home residents.

Negotiating the Social Contract (NSC):
Our current theme, Negotiating the Social Contract, gives priority to projects that explore how Americans participate in creating and sustaining basic social and economic relationships that shape our society, both historically and in the present. Most successful projects ask participants to examine contemporary social‐contract negotiations, in the context of a particular issue of interest to a particular community—such as immigration, gun rights/control, or participation in the democratic process.

Mass Humanities Regularly Funds:
-Humanities‐based civic conversations
-Public lectures, conferences, and panel discussions
-Discussion events
-Research and inventory projects for local history organizations
-Museum exhibitions and related programming
-Programming to complement theatrical and artistic productions
-Oral history projects
-Walking tours
-Audio projects
-Film pre‐production and distribution projects
-Interactive websites that function as public humanities programs
-Content‐based professional development workshops for teachers

Standard project formats include but are not limited to:
-Humanities‐Based Civic Conversations
-Public Lectures, Conferences, and Panel Discussions
-Discussion Events
-Walking Tours
-Audio Projects
-Interactive Websites that Function as Public Humanities Programs
-Content‐Based Professional Development Workshops for Teachers

Project formats with additional and/or specific requirements include:

Museum Exhibitions and Related Programming:
Mass Humanities offers Project Grants to support the planning, implementation, and/or promotion of humanities‐based exhibitions. Applicants may plan back‐to‐back proposal submissions for separate phases (planning, implementation, or promotion) of an exhibition project, and if so, each proposal/phase must have distinct goals and products. Project Grants are also made to support humanities‐based programming around other kinds of exhibitions.

Programming to Complement Theatrical and Artistic Productions:
Mass Humanities generally does not fund theatrical and artistic productions—unless the performers and production personnel (actors, stage hands, scriptwriters, etc.) are a primary audience benefitting from the project’s humanities content. However, Project Grants may support humanities‐based programming, often in the form of pre‐ and post‐ performance discussions, to accompany such productions.

Oral History Projects:
An oral history project may be eligible for a Project Grant if a central humanities theme/issue informs the gathering and presenting of information, and if the process of conducting and recording interviews is a major goal of the project. Oral history projects carry a number of additional requirements, including the involvement of oral history specialists.

Film Pre‐Production and Distribution Projects:
Mass Humanities makes a limited number of grants each year to support films that explore humanities themes. Project Grants support the involvement of humanities scholars in film projects, the viability of humanities‐based documentaries, and the distribution and use of such films. As a result, Mass Humanities supports discrete parts of larger film projects, most of which are not considered film “production.”

Film Projects, eligible for up to $15,000, include but are not limited to:
-Pre‐production development that results in initial footage‐ and research‐based products (a trailer, a web page, or other format) to help with fundraising.
-Development of crowdsourcing and/or audience engagement practices for the project.
-Distribution projects that result in the production of promotional and instructional materials.

Film Projects must involve at least one humanities scholar and must result in substantial original material, such as a script development, a trailer or short, or an interactive website.

Original pre‐production and crowdsourcing materials may include but are not limited to: interactive web and social media outreach strategies, using web‐based social tools such as Facebook, YouTube, online film festivals, and other platforms; the production of short films or film excerpts to be made available on a project website or used in discussions; or the development of an interactive or crowdsourcing page of a project website where an outreach plan is already present. Original distribution materials may include but are not limited to: trailers, shorts, interactive websites, subtitles, television broadcasts, public screenings with discussions, festivals, and other products designed for outreach.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 179705

Estimated Size of Grant:

Organizations may request a maximum of $7,500.

Organizations proposing projects that meet the Engaging New Audiences and/or the Negotiating the Social Contract incentives may request a maximum of $15,000.

Filmmakers proposing film projects—with a sponsoring nonprofit organization—may request a maximum of $15,000.

Term of Contract:

Project Grant projects are generally completed within one year.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

All nonprofit and government organizations are eligible to apply. A nonprofit does not need to be a 501(c)(3), but it must have begun the registration process with the IRS or have a fiscal sponsor. If using a fiscal sponsor, the applicant should list the fiscal sponsor as the “sponsoring organization” in the online application system.

Mass Humanities Rarely Funds:
-Theatrical and artistic productions—unless the performers and production personnel (actors, stage hands, scriptwriters, etc.) are a primary audience benefiting from the project’s humanities content
-Preservation of objects or archival materials—unless directly related to a public program
-Scholarly research or writing—unless directly related to a public program
-Scholarships, fellowships, or travel to professional meetings
-Projects that result in academic credit for participants
-Purchase of supplies/equipment (over $250 for a single project)
-Purchase of food/refreshments (over $250 for a single project)
-International travel
-Honoraria/stipends over $500 for single events

Mass Humanities Does Not Fund:
-Projects by individuals
-Websites, or other materials, used to promote the organization
-Capital improvements or operating expenses
-Construction or restoration
-Indirect costs of institutions
-Profit-making or fundraising projects
-Costs of entertainment
-Professional theatrical productions
-Projects that advocate a single point of view, ideology, or specific program of social action
-Projects for which the direct beneficiaries are primarily college students
-Projects aimed primarily at audiences outside Massachusetts
-Honoraria/stipends over $1,000 for single events

Pre-Application Information:

There are three steps to the Mass Humanities online grant application process: an online inquiry form (LOI), a draft, and a final application. You are encouraged to watch the 10-minute applicant tutorial video (, which is a good overview of the online application system.

Step 1: Submit an online Inquiry form (LOI)
The information provided in the LOI helps staff determine if the project is eligible for MH funding in this grant category. If approved, you will receive an email notification and can then access the full application by logging on to the account.

Step 2: Create a Draft
Drafts are required for Project Grant applications. The draft is, essentially, an application without supporting materials.

Step 3: Submit a Full Application
Applications are due by midnight on the deadline date. In fairness to all applicants, all deadlines for
grant applications are firm.

There will be three rounds for Project Grants each year.

November Round:
-Inquiry Form (LOI) Deadline: September 17, 2018
-Draft Deadline: October 9, 2018
-Application Deadline: October 29, 2018
-Approximate Notification: December 17, 2018
-Earliest Funded Event Date: Mid-January 2019

February Round:
-Inquiry Form (LOI) Deadline: December 17, 2018
-Draft Deadline: January 7, 2019
-Application Deadline: January 28, 2019
-Approximate Notification: March 18, 2019
-Earliest Funded Event Date: Mid-April 2019

May Round:
-Inquiry Form (LOI) Deadline: March 25, 2019
-Draft Deadline: April 15, 2019
-Application Deadline: May 6, 2019
-Approximate Notification: June 24, 2019
-Earliest Funded Event Date: Late July 2019

Organizations must demonstrate a cash cost-share that equals or exceeds 10 percent of the MH funds requested, and the total cost-share (cash and in-kind) must equal or exceed the MH funds requested.

What Mass Humanities Does and Does Not Fund:



Applying for a Grant:

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Abbye Meyer
413-584-8440 ext. 102

Melissa Wheaton
413-584-8440 ext. 100

Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities
66 Bridge Street
Northampton, MA 01060

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts