Funding Alert! Grants for Humanities Connections

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.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants are two- and four-year public or private 501(c)(3) accredited institutions of higher education. This could include community colleges, public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions.

Applicants may choose to collaborate with other postsecondary institutions on these projects, but the project director must be employed by or affiliated with the IHE that serves as lead applicant.

What do these projects look like?

Humanities Connections projects must align with one of two categories:

  1. Planning: projects up to $35,000 with a 12-month project period. Planning projects bring together faculty members from two or more schools or departments (at least one school/department in the humanities and one outside of the humanities) to plan and design a curriculum or initiative. Potential activities include gathering a collaborative team, consulting curriculum design experts or experts on experiential learning, organizing focus groups, performing long-range planning and sustainability activities, and designing new courses or instructional models. Planning activities should culminate in a project that is ready for the Implementation phase.
  2. Implementation: projects up to $150,000 with an 18- to 36-month project period. Implementation projects require interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty in multiple departments at the IHE to develop the content, design, and scope of the curricular program. Potential activities include developing, implementing, assessing, and refining the curriculum (e.g., new courses, modules, pathways, etc.); engaging outside experts to assist with project activities; conducting feasibility studies; and implementing pilot projects for experiential learning. Implementation projects should culminate in a sustainable curricular program or initiative and a white paper that discusses lessons learned.

The funder expects to award 21 total grants (14 for Planning and 7 for Implementation). Proposals are due September 14, 2021, with an option to submit a draft by August 3, 2021. This step is optional, but program officers will review proposals submitted by this date and provide feedback.

What makes a project a good fit?

All projects submitted under this funding opportunity should involve substantive and purposeful integration of two or more fields of study, collaboration between faculty from multiple departments or schools, a proposed curriculum that incorporates experiential learning, and demonstrated long-term sustainability through institutional support.

NEH is particularly seeking projects that advance humanities work in its special interest areas, including its current initiatives, “A More Perfect Union”: NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Commemorating the Nation’s 250th Anniversary; Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War; and Protecting Our Cultural Heritage. NEH also encourages projects in which Native American organizations and communities serve as the lead applicants and/or project partners.

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

  • Read through the Notice of Funding Opportunity for more detail regarding project activities and guidance for preparing a proposal.
  • Check the program page for more information, examples of previously funded proposals, and access to a pre-application webinar (hosted June 30, 2021 but as of this post, not yet available as a recording).
  • Consider whether your collection meets the criteria for any of the special initiatives.
  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have agov profile. You can check your SAM status here:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services 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?

Start planning for next year! The NEH website has a wealth of resources available, including examples of previously funded projects and other upcoming grant opportunities.

How do I learn more about federal grant opportunities?

AGS is excited to offer a new Federal Grants Training Series coming in 2021! The series is designed to support nonprofit professionals before and during their first federal grant. 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.

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