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You want me to write about what? How can I write about progress when the right data wasn’t collected to measure progress? Grant professionals are frequently faced with the reality of gaps in data in pre-award, and post-award. We are asked to respond to sections which require a discussion of national, regional, and local data to justify need; as well as sections requesting data-supported rationale for the proposed intervention, and finally a proposed series of measurable objectives indicated by an improvement over baseline. Sometimes there is something to work with. Oftentimes we are asked to work magic!

National Science Foundation Attention researchers and practitioners in informal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields! The National Science Foundation (NSF) is now accepting proposals to its Advancing Informal Stem Learning (AISL) program. The AISL program supports projects that advance new approaches and understanding, broaden access and engagement, advance research and assessment, and engage the public of all ages in informal STEM learning experiences and issues. Proposals for this program are due January 18, 2022.

Institute of Museum and Library Services Last week, we highlighted a grant program that funds capacity-building work for libraries. This week, we are looking at an opportunity that specifically supports workforce development and training for libraries and museums. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently opened applications for its Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program. Projects may fall into one of five categories (described below) and should align with one of IMLS’s three goals for this program: 1) recruit, train, develop, and retain a diverse workforce of library and archives professionals; 2) develop faculty, library, and archives leaders through institutional capacity-building work; or 3) enhance the training and professional development of these professionals in accordance with community needs.

Institute of Museum and Library Services Is your library seeking funding for capacity-building work that has the potential to make a broad national impact? The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently opened applications for its National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG-L) program. NLG-L projects investigate and address critical issues that affect the library and archives fields, with the overall goal of advancing these professions and increasing the impact of their services for the American public. Projects may fall into one of four categories (described below) and should culminate in the development of new models, tools, research, services, practices, and/or alliances that can be disseminated, scaled, adapted, and/or applied among libraries across the country.

Funding Alert! American Rescue Plan Grants Has the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on your arts organization? The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently opened applications for its American Rescue Plans grant program. This opportunity allocates the NEA’s portion of funding from the American Rescue Plan legislation to organizations and jobs in the arts sector that have been affected by the pandemic. These are one-time grants intended to support day-to-day general operating expenses for eligible organizations.

National Endowment for the Humanities Attention institutions of higher education! If your college or university is seeking funding to develop innovative curricula or programs that foster collaboration between the humanities and other disciplines, then you might be interested in this opportunity. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is accepting applications for its Humanities Connections program to expand the role of humanities within institutions of higher education (IHEs) and develop new learning opportunities for students. Through these projects, faculty and students alike will benefit from meaningful, multidisciplinary collaborations that expand the role of the humanities in undergraduate education and cultivate integrative educational experiences.

As grant professionals, we all know that using strong, relevant data from reliable sources to support our case for funding is essential to a quality, competitive application. Although this is true across all types of applications, it is especially relevant when applying for federal grants. While stories bring our programs to life for a reviewer, used artfully data provides the foundation that makes it possible to build a captivating (and winning) case for support. I’m going to provide you with some resources you can use to make finding - and citing - that crucial piece of data easier next time you need it.

National Science Foundation Attention institutions of higher education! The National Science Foundation (NSF) is now accepting proposals to its Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce). Noyce provides funding to recruit, prepare, and retain elementary and secondary teachers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, as well as to research the retention and effectiveness of such teachers in school districts with high needs. Proposals for this program are due August 31, 2021.

National Endowment for the Arts Is your community looking for project-based funding to support activities that further the arts? The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently opened applications for its Our Town grant program. Our Town is NEA’s “creative placemaking” grant program, through which arts, cultural, and design activities strengthen and advance local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Ultimately, Our Town projects pave the way for systems-level changes that promote the sustainable integration of arts, culture, and design into the fabric of community life.