Funding Alert! Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

National Endowment for the Humanities – Preservation & Access

Attention humanities folks in small or mid-sized institutions! If your organization is seeking funding to help preserve and care for collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, textiles, archeological artifacts, digital materials, and more, you might be interested in this opportunity. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is accepting applications for Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Universities to help institutions improve their capacities to preserve significant humanities collections.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants are any U.S. nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status, public and 501(c)(3) accredited institutions of higher education, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments.

Examples of small and mid-sized institutions include libraries, museums, historical societies, town and county records offices, and colleges. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they care for and have custody of/responsibility for the focus humanities collections; have at least one staff member (paid or unpaid); and make their collections available for education, research, and/or public programming.

What do these projects look like?

Preservation Assistance Grants projects can propose two or more activities from the following categories:

  1. General preservation assessments: engaging a conservator or other preservation specialist to assess and plan for the care of the collection(s);
  2. Consultations with preservation professionals: hiring a consultant to help address a specific preservation issue, need, or problem;
  3. Purchase of storage furniture and preservation supplies: purchasing recommended items such as cabinets, shelving, folders, boxes, dehumidifiers, vacuums, etc.;
  4. Purchase of environmental monitoring equipment: purchasing equipment such as dataloggers or light meters and software, as well as training employees to use the equipment; and
  5. Education and training: attending workshops and training courses to improve staff knowledge and skills in preservation methods and best practices.

Applicants in federally declared disaster areas can also pursue such activities as disaster response, recovery, and mitigation; conservation treatment; purchasing cleaning supplies; and reformatting collections as a preservation methodology.

Grants are available in amounts up to $10,000, with a project period of up to 18 months. There are two deadlines for this grant: January 14, 2021 (for projects beginning as early as September 1, 2021) and January 13, 2022 (for projects beginning as early as September 1, 2022.

NEH expects to award approximately 55 grants per deadline.

What makes a project a good fit?

NEH is particularly seeking projects that advance humanities work in its current special interest area. Applicants may respond to NEH’s “A More Perfect Union”: NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Commemorating the Nation’s 250th Anniversary. Institutions can request up to $15,000 for consultations, planning, and pilot work with professionals to help preserve and promote access to collections that address themes of “A More Perfect Union.”

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? The first round of proposals is due January 14, 2021. To move your application forward, take the following action steps ASAP:

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?

The next round for this funding opportunity is due January 13, 2022, so there’s still plenty of time! 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.

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