Humanities Discussions Funding Available

Image of the Liberty Bell to visualize the founding of the United States

There is just a month remaining to apply for the first of two rounds of available 2019-2020 funding through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), “Public Humanities Projects” program. The upcoming application deadline is August 14, 2019.

Potential applicants must review the Notice of Funding Opportunity, which covers project types, funding levels, applicant eligibility, application components, and review criteria, along with other important information. All applications must be submitted through the Workspace. Approximately 16 grants will be awarded through this opportunity.

U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments are eligible to apply. Eligible organizations include institutions of higher education. This program supports projects in three categories: Exhibitions (permanent, temporary, or traveling); interpretive programs at Historic Places; and Humanities Discussions related to “A More Perfect Union:” NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Celebrating the Nation’s 250th Anniversary.

Libraries may be particularly interested in applying through the “Humanities Discussions” category. Proposed programs in this category should engage diverse public audiences with humanities resources such as historic artifacts, artwork, or documents, and should be anchored in perspectives presented by humanities experts as speakers, panelists, or discussion leaders, providing context and analysis of program themes. Projects may include, but are not limited to, symposiums, lecture series, reading and discussion programs, analytical discussions of museum collections or theater/musical performances, lifelong learning programs, or other methods of face-to-face audience engagement or informal education. The proposed series should occur over a period of three months to two years. Public Humanities Projects in any category must involve humanities scholars who contribute to all phases of the project.

The Public Humanities Projects program includes two funding levels: Planning and Implementation. Only Implementation awards are available for the “Humanities Discussions” category and such funding will not exceed $250,000. Planning awards in the other categories are typically funded up to $40,000 and Implementation awards in the other categories are funded within a range of $50,000 to $400,000.

As noted above, Public Humanities Projects proposals in the “Humanities Discussions” category must respond to the NEH area of interest, “A More Perfect Union:” NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Celebrating the Nation’s 250th Anniversary. According to the Notice of Funding Opportunity, this agency-wide initiative will help Americans better understand the world’s oldest constitutional democracy and how our founding ideals are met in a modern, pluralistic society. As our nation approaches its 250th anniversary in 2026, NEH encourages projects that promote a deeper understanding of American history and culture and that advance civics education and knowledge of our core principles of government.

Prospective applicants may contact the NEH program staff at 202-606-8269 or to discuss potential projects and ask any questions about the application.


About Eileen Morales

Throughout my career, I've helped museums and libraries in New York and New Jersey find funding sources for new projects. My favorite projects have utilized new technologies to increase public access to the photographs, diaries, and everyday objects that are not usually on display. My position as Grants Manager at the New Jersey State Library includes outreach to New Jersey libraries involved in the grant-seeking process. Email me at