Funding Alert! 2022 Leadership Grants for Museums

Institute of Museum and Library Services

Last month, we looked at an annual Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) opportunity focused on capacity-building for libraries. This month, IMLS opened applications for a similar annual program for museum folks, National Leadership Grants for Museums (NLG-M). This program seeks to address critical needs and improve services among the museum profession at a broad level. IMLS is looking for projects that demonstrate a thorough understanding of the needs and priorities within the museum field, employ innovative approaches and collaborations, and have the potential to make a far-reaching impact in the discipline.

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, page 7.

What are the program details?

NLG-M projects must align with one of three agency-level IMLS goals to advance the museum field:

  1. Empower people of all ages and backgrounds through experiential, cross-disciplinary learning and discovery;
  2. Maximize museum resources to address community needs through partnerships and collaborations; or
  3. Identify new solutions that address high priority and widespread collections care or conservation issues.

In addition to selecting one of the above goals, applicants must choose one of three project types. Note that while applicants may submit more than one application to this funding opportunity, they may not submit the same proposal under more than one of the following categories:

  • Non-research grant: $50,000 – $750,000 with required 1:1 cost share (1-3 year project period); projects address critical needs of the museum field, with the potential to further the profession and museum services.
  • Research grant: $50,000 – $750,000 with no required cost share (1-3 year project period); projects investigate key questions regarding the field, producing findings that have the potential to further the profession and museum services.
  • Rapid prototyping grant: $5,000 – $50,000 with no required cost share (1 year project period); projects include exploratory activities that prototype, pilot, and evaluate an innovation in museum operations and services.

IMLS expects to award a total of 12 grants, with awards ranging from $5,000 to $750,000. Based on previous years, the estimated average amount per award is $453,106.

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, with the exception of rapid prototyping grants, which are limited to one year.

What makes a project a good fit?

Proposals submitted to each of the three project types should have the potential to further the museum profession and the 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.

IMLS also places importance on projects that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. As such, IMLS will seek to fund a variety of projects that serve individuals from diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds; individuals with disabilities; individuals from underserved communities; and those who may have difficulty accessing or using a museum.

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.

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