Grant Eligibility and Guidelines

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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. 

Project Eligibility and Guidelines

Projects funded by NMHC should meet the following guidelines:

1) Involvement of Humanities Scholars

Humanities scholars play central roles in all phases of 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. The best public humanities programs involve participation by both academic and community, or organic scholars. Community scholars include persons grounded (experienced) in the humanities, acknowledged/recognized by their peers and their communities, to include (but not limited to) community historians, cultural specialists, tradition bearers, and others working in a non-academic setting.

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. These 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.


Applicant Eligibility

NMHC is authorized to award grants to private, nonprofit 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 be constituted for nonprofit 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, nonprofit 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 Ad hoc groups formed to conduct a project


NMHC does not make grants to for-profit organizations nor to individuals. NMHC's policies and guidelines exclude grant funding for some projects and activities. These include:

* "bricks and mortar" projects such as construction, renovation, or preservation.

* fine or performing arts, though NMHC often funds programs which interpret the arts.

* equipment purchase, although in some cases NMHC may fund a purchase if it is more economical than rental for a project. In such cases, the equipment reverts to NMHC at the end of the project.

* grantee fundraising events or events intended to make a profit

* curriculum development

* "how to" workshops

* professional development

* broadcast quality film or video projects; NMHC will fund films or videos if they are an integral part of another project, such as a video as part of an exhibit or oral history project

* publication, unless it is directly linked to public programs, such as a gallery guide or interpretive program notes

* classroom presentations

* fellowships or scholarships

* research, except as preparation for a public program

* activities taking place before the funding decision by the NMHC Board of Directors.

* projects that advocate only one point of view or one course of action.

* professional conference events intended solely for those registered at the conference; conference events that are open and accessible to the public may be considered for funding.

Non-allowable Costs

Non-allowable costs in addition to the exclusions mentioned above include:

* costs occurring before or after the grant period.

* costs of meals and refreshments, unless the meals are per diem expenses for scholars or others who must travel from out of town to participate in the project and will have to stay overnight.

* indirect costs expressed as a percentage of other costs to be supported by NMHC funds. That is, if you request $5000 for program expenses, you cannot add a 10% administration fee. However, most of what is normally included under indirect expenses are legitimate project costs: telephone, postage, secretarial support, fiscal support, use of facilities, etc. NMHC funds can be requested for these purposes provided they are itemized and explained; for example, secretarial support for 20 hours at $10/hour.

* administrative costs to cover insurance and retirement/pension contributions must be included in the honorarium figure. NMHC will pay up to $350 in honoraria per speaker for a single public event.

* out of state advertising and publicity costs.

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