Frequently Asked Questions About Grants

Who can receive NMHC grants?

Is my project eligible?

What is a Direct Grant?

How are grant decisions made?

What program topics are appropriate?

What if my project does not meet these criteria?

Are there strings attached?

Definitions of essential personnel

When are the grant deadlines?

Who can receive NMHC grants?

NMHC is authorized to award grants to private, non-profit organizations; institutions of higher education; state, local, and federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; and ad hoc groups of persons that form an association to carry out a project. Organizations or groups that apply for funding must constituted for non-profit purposes, but it is not necessary that they be incorporated or have tax-exempt status. Individuals working alone are not eligible to apply for NMHC grants, but may be able to find a private, non-profit organization to serve as a sponsor. Successful applicants have included libraries, museums and historical societies; social civic and professional groups; public and private colleges and universities; public radio stations and independent radio producers; local humanities committees; churches and religious organizations; state and local government agencies; and ad hoc groups formed to conduct a project.

Is my project eligible for an NMHC grant?

Projects funded by NMHC should meet the following guidelines:

1) Involvement of Humanities Scholars

Humanities scholars play central roles in all phases of a project - planning, presentation, and evaluation. They participate as professional scholars drawing upon their academic expertise. Professional humanities scholars have advanced training - usually advanced degrees - in a humanities discipline and are active professionally in the humanities as researchers, teachers, writers, or community scholars.

2) Humanities Content

The humanities are central to activities funded by NMHC. Projects focus on one or more of the humanities disciplines, or on applying the methods of the humanities, such as critical thinking, analysis, and interpretation to current social or public policy issues and concerns. Funded projects might include components which do not involve the humanities, provided they are subordinate to activities which do use the humanities.

3) Balance of Viewpoints

Projects provide a balanced treatment of different viewpoints, especially projects dealing with controversial contemporary issues. Projects are required to avoid advocacy and bias in their overall design.

4) Public Audiences

Projects involve and address out-of-school adults and families as their primary audience. This may, however, include specific audiences such as professional, civic, ethnic, and community groups.

5) Cost Sharing

At least one-half of each project's total cost comes from non-NMHC sources, often as in-kind contributions such as donated services, facilities, goods, and volunteers' time.

What kind of grants are there?

There are two types of grants funded by NMHC:

Mini Grants - NMHC is evaluating the mini-grant program and will not be accepting mini-grant applications this year.  Please apply under the Regular Grant deadlines to seek support and apply for your public humanities programming.  Stay tuned for further developments in our grant program.

Major Grants - More than $2,000 for a public humanities program.

What is a Direct Grant?

Direct Grants make outright awards of NMHC funds. Like all NMHC grants, these grants require that at least half of the project's total cost is obtained from other sources. For Direct Grants, this requirement can be satisfied entirely by in-kind contributions, including facilities, goods, services, and participants' time.

Which topics are appropriate?

The Council welcomes applications on any topic addressed from a humanities perspective. Previously funded projects have dealt with topics ranging from local history and culture to international affairs.


How are grant decisions made?

Decisions to fund grant applications are made by the NMHC Board of Directors. The funding process is a highly competitive one; more proposals are received than NMHC can support. Since the Board reviews only the written application, the materials submitted must clearly and effectively state the applicant's case. In making funding decisions, proposals are evaluated against NMHC guidelines.

In making their decisions, Board members consider the following questions:

Humanities Content: Does the proposed project have substantial humanities content which is central to the activities for which NMHC funding is requested?

Humanities Scholars: Will professional humanities scholars be principal participants in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the project? Is each scholar's specific role clearly explained? Do the proposed scholars have appropriate expertise?

Project Substance: Has a brief, clear statement of the proposed project's activities been presented? Is it clear who will do what, when, where, and why?

Balance: Does the proposed program aim at a balanced presentation and broad public understanding? Does it avoid advocacy, bias, and calls for direct action?

Community Interest: Do the program's schedule, format, participants, and plans for publicity demonstrate the capacity to gain the interest and participation of an adult out-of-school or family audience?

Budget: Is the proposed budget adequate to support the project's activities without being wasteful? Does promised cost share at least equal the amount requested from NMHC? Does the budget clearly explain proposed expenditures and the sources of funds?

Project Income: If the program expects to generate income, is it used to defer the project's costs? Is this use clearly explained in the budget?

What if I have a project that does not meet these criteria?

If you have any questions about whether a project falls within NMHC guidelines, contact the Grants Program Officer at 505/633-7374.

When are the grant application deadlines?

Our annual grant cycle is as follows:

MAJOR GRANTS (over $2,000): February 1 & November 1


Are there strings attached?

If you are funded, you may receive funds with certain conditions attached. You may be asked to revise your budget or provide additional documentation of support, for example. You will also be asked to provide detailed reports during and at the end of your project, including expenditures of grant funds and cost-sharing. You will be asked to keep in your files support for your reports, such as canceled checks, invoices, donor letters, time and attendance records, etc.

Definitions of essential personnel

A change in any of these personnel requires written notification:

Project Director The project director oversees the planning, implementation, completion, and evaluation of project activities and events. The project director bears the primary responsibility for preparing and submitting the reports to NMHC.

Official or Sponsoring Organization A person other than the project director with the authority to represent the sponsoring organization. This person signs the applications with the understanding that he/she is certifying to NMHC that the sponsoring organization is eligible to receive federal funds and will comply with applicable federal law if funds are awarded. The Instructions for Certification included in the Application Packet explains what this involves. Humanities Scholar(s) includes individuals with specialized competence or training in one or more of the humanities disciplines, usually reflected in advanced degrees. NMHC may also recognize as scholars community and tribal elders and historians, cultural specialists, tradition bearers, self-trained humanists, and others who can bring consideration of the humanities to bear on community life.

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