Funding Alert! 2022 Grants for Museums

Institute of Museum and Library Services

Last month, we shared information about an annual Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) opportunity focused on capacity building for museums. This month, we’re looking at some additional open solicitations from IMLS that are closing later this fall. The Museums for America (MFA) program is one such opportunity. MFA provides funding for mission-aligned, project-based efforts for museums of all sizes and disciplines. These projects can vary in type, focus, reach, or scale of societal impact, but they should – in broad terms – advance knowledge and understanding and ensure that the IMLS grant funding benefits society.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants are domestic museums that, using a professional staff, are organized permanently for educational, cultural heritage, or aesthetic purposes and regularly exhibit their objects to the general public through facilities that they own or operate; OR a public or private nonprofit that is responsible for the operation of a museum that fits the above description. Other eligible applicants include an organization or association that engages in activities designed to advance the wellbeing of museums and the museum profession or an institution of higher education, including public and nonprofit universities. For more details on the types of institutions included in the term “museum,” please see the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), pages 5-7.

What are the program details?

As with some other IMLS funding opportunities for fiscal year 2022, MFA projects must align with one of three project categories and agency-level goals (and at least one of their associated objectives, as described in the NOFO) to advance the museum field:

  1. Lifelong Learning: Empower people of all ages and backgrounds through experiential, cross-disciplinary learning and discovery;
  2. Community Engagement: Maximize museum resources to address community needs through partnerships and collaborations; or
  3. Collections Stewardship and Access: Advance the management and care of collections and their associated documentation.

As stated, applicants may define the appropriate project type, scope, target population, and relevant activities for their proposed MFA project. These efforts should improve the applicant institution’s capacity to serve the public through such activities as creating and presenting exhibitions, delivering educational programming, developing digital learning resources, providing professional development for staff, engaging the community in dialogue, engaging in audience-focused studies, and/or performing activities related to collections management, curation, care, and conservation.

IMLS expects to award a total of 115 grants, with awards ranging from $5,000 to $250,000. Based on previous years, the estimated average amount per award is $180,495. Note that IMLS requires a 1:1 cost share from non-federal sources for all MFA awards.

Proposals are due November 15, 2021. All funded projects must begin on September 1, 2022. Projects may be carried out over a period of one to three years.

What makes a project a good fit?

Proposals submitted under the MFA solicitation should have the potential to advance the museum profession and the quality of services offered to the American public. IMLS will evaluate the success of projects based on their effectiveness in achieving the intended results, efficiency in using resources to generate maximum value, and the quality and timeliness of the activities performed.

In addition, MFA projects should identify and support a key goal in the applicant institution’s strategic plan, display a thorough understanding of current subject matter practice and knowledge, and generate quantifiable results for the identified need and specific target population.

What if I am ready to apply? To move your application forward, take the following action steps ASAP:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services (AGS) today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Rosie Brennan, Community Engagement Specialist will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Check out other opportunities to work with IMLS. The agency website provides resources regarding other upcoming grant programs, partnerships, and funding opportunities, as well as examples of previously funded projects. You can also read through our past post about another IMLS opportunity and keep an eye on our blog for more this month.

How do I learn more about federal grant proposal writing, so my application is more likely to be successful?

AGS is excited to offer a new Federal Grants Training Series throughout 2021! The series is designed to support nonprofit leaders and faculty at institutions of higher education before and during the application process. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

AGS blogs, funding alerts, and trainings are aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs