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Community Research Grants

Grants to North Carolina Nonprofits, Schools, Libraries,
and Agencies for Public Humanities Programs

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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North Carolina Humanities Council

Deadline Date:

03/14/19 Midnight


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Grants of up to $2,000 to North Carolina nonprofit organizations and agencies for projects that relate to public humanities. The Fund strongly recommends that applicants arrange a consultation prior to submitting an application. Funding is intended for humanities-based programs such as lectures, conferences, seminars, exhibits, media projects, and teacher workshops.

The Council advocates for lifelong learning and thoughtful dialogue about all facets of human life. The humanities disciplines 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 that have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods.

A public humanities program helps make 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 public humanities program makes us think in new ways by presenting different points of view about an issue or a topic and by asking questions without providing specific answers. 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?”). Although the particular focus of how we understand human experience may differ from discipline to discipline, these questions of interpretation and analysis connect inquiry and meaning to how we live our lives.

Past funded projects have included: reading-and-discussion programs, lectures, conferences, seminars, symposia, exhibits, digital and traditional media projects, discussions following performance activities, oral histories, and teacher workshops.

Humanities Scholars must be involved in both the planning and implementation of North Carolina Humanities Council funded projects.

Possible projects include, but are not limited to:
- 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.

Proposals will be evaluated according to how well they fit with the mission and goals of the Council and by the following areas:
- Humanities merit and intellectual content
- Qualification of project team with (community and humanist advisors)
- Public engagement and audience definition
- Appropriate format and program resources
- Clear goals and measurable outcomes
- Potential long-term impact or replicability of the program
- Defined work plan and budget
- Project’s contribution to the Council’s commitment to supporting public humanities programs throughout the state

All proposals must:
- Be grounded in sound humanities scholarship and be public in nature
- Provide analytical interpretation to deepen public understanding of significant
humanities questions
- Involve a team of humanities scholars and community leaders 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.

Competitive applications strongly demonstrate the following criteria:
- Humanities merit and intellectual content
- Format and program resources
- Clear goals and measurable outcomes
- Public engagement and audience definition
- Qualifications of the project team and humanist advisors
- Defined work plan and budget.

Eligible Expenses:

Project-Specific Services and Products:
- Scholar honoraria for public lectures, facilitating discussions or workshops
- Meetings with scholars and other content advisors, program partners, and
audience representatives
- Development and production of curriculum guides and other materials for
teachers and students
- Development and production of program or discussion guides including
catalogs, exhibition labels, brochures, digital assets, publications, or other
interpretive material
- Exhibition design and fabrication, as well as crating and shipping
- Design of any of the interpretive formats to be used
- Development and construction of interactive program components
- Program publicity expenses
- Venue rentals for public presentations
- Evaluation of the project's impact

Project-Specific Implementation Planning:
- Planning and conducting project-specific training for docents, discussion
coordinators, or other interpretive leaders
- Research into the humanistic topic
- Travel to archives, collections, sites, or other resources.

Activities funded by North Carolina Humanities Council grants should be free or low cost and open to the public. The Council encourages programs that engage adults and life-long learning.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184851

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $2,000.

Term of Contract:

Projects can begin no sooner than eight weeks from the submission deadline.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The sponsoring organization must be a nonprofit organization operating in North Carolina or a non-profit sponsor whose project focus is of interest to North Carolinians. All applicants must have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and current DUNs number registered to their entity. Successful applicants have included libraries, 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.

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.

The North Carolina Humanities Council does not make grants to individuals. 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.

Ineligible grant expenses:
The Council CANNOT provide support for non-humanities centered projects, including:
- Support projects that center on the creative or performing arts (theater, dance,
music, or visual arts) unless the arts set the stage for a humanities program.
- Support self-help or problem-solving endeavors
- Develop dramatic adaptations of literary works
- Support projects that center on health and social services unless they set the stage for a humanities program.
- The Council CANNOT provide support to projects that seek to persuade the public, including, projects that seek to persuade participants of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view, or projects that advocate a particular program of social action
- The Council does not provide support for organizational or operational activities, including: Purchase organizational non-expendable items, such as equipment, buildings, art, artifacts, etc. above an immaterial value threshold of $500.
- Pay salaries to individuals who are administering the grant or supporting the project as part of a salaried job
- Pay for professional development or for new staff hires
- Pay for general operations, renovation, restoration, rehabilitation, or construction, strategic planning or feasibility studies
- Pay for indirect or overhead costs for a project
- The Council does not provide support for publishing or academic research activities, including:
- Pay for projects primarily devoted to research rather than interpretation for the
general public
- Pay for preservation, cataloging, or archiving projects that do not include significant interpretive components
- Pay to develop print or digital publications (including encyclopedias) that are not an integral part of the larger project for which funding is requested

Additionally, the Council CANNOT provide support for the following activities:
- Pay for expenses for travel or venues in foreign countries
- Pay for food costs, except for the meals of program presenters or consultants
- 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
- Support for obscene, libelous, indecent, or defamatory content (including hate
speech, personal attacks, or material constituting harassment).
- Support 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.

Council grant funds used to pay a speaker/scholar/presenter cannot exceed $400 per individual, per project component. For example, if a scholar gives two lectures during the course of a project they can be paid a maximum of $400 for each component, for a total of $800 for the project.

The North Carolina Humanities Council cannot fund projects which center on the creative or performing arts (theatre, dance, music, or visual arts) unless the arts set the stage for a humanities program.

The North Carolina Humanities Council cannot fund projects that advocate social or political action as public funds cannot be used to advocate personal/political points of view.

Pre-Application Information:

The North Carolina Humanities Council never provides more than 50% of the resources needed for a project. Project sponsors and all persons and organizations connected with a project must match Council grant monies with in-kind and/or cash contributions 2-to-1 to the amount of outright funds requested (i.e. if you request $2,000 you must match at least $4,000).

While staff is always available for questions, a full staff review of an applicant's draft proposal is only available upon request until 2 weeks prior to a submission deadline.

The submission deadline is March 14, 2019, midnight.

Decisions are typically announced a month following the submission deadline.

To be eligible for funding consideration, applicants can only submit proposals for projects that begin no sooner than eight weeks from the submission deadline. The Council does not provide retroactive funding.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.

DUNS website:


Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

To schedule a phone consultation with Council staff:

For questions, please email:

North Carolina Humanities Council
320 E. 9th Street, Suite 414
Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 687-1520
Fax: (704) 687-1550

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: North Carolina