Our Grant Programs
Since its founding in 1980, the Humanities Council of Washington, DC has provided funds for creative and intellectually stimulating projects in the District of Columbia. Currently we offer 2 regular grant cycles per year during which we distribute our major and small/planning grants. Additionally we offer local community historic preservation grants under our DC Community Heritage Project. For Cycle I 2013 we are adding a new Commemoration and Remembrance grant program. Grant categories and details are listed below. All grants applications are now online visit grantapplication.wdchumanities.org to register and begin a new proposal.
- Small Grants - Up to $1500
- Major Grants - $1501-$5000
- Commemoration and Remembrance Grants
- Soul of the City Grants
- Who's a Washingtonian? Grants
These grants may be used for small projects, project components, or preliminary work on a project that requires detailed research, audience evaluation, and planning. Grant funds may be used to pay for the services of hiring a humanities consultant and other costs involved in the preparation of a project plan. Small grants are awarded during Cycles I and II and do not require a preliminary proposal.
Major Grants ($1501-$5000) Current Deadines - Preliminary Proposal: February 2; Final Proposal: March 2
The Major Grant funds projects intended to bring the humanities disciplines to the people of Washington, DC. The program encourages creativity and open interpretation, but projects funded by a major grant must meet all of the requirements listed on the guidelines page. Major Grants are awarded during Cycles I and II and require a Preliminary Application. The preliminary application can be accessed by logging onto the online grants system and completing the registration process. Preliminary applications will be reviewed by the Humanities Council and applicants will receive feedback before being invited to submit a final proposal.
These grants, supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, will be awarded to organizations interested in bringing back long forgotten commemorations, supporting current ceremonies, and starting new traditions. Examples of projects supported may include:
- Organizing a local ceremony or event commemorating an important piece of your community’s past
- Researching the meaning of commemorations in your community such as street names, place names, festivals, statues, public art
- Organizing a local commemoration of an event significant to the entire District of Columbia
These grants will be of immediate benefit to the increasing number of individuals and organizations in the city interested in recognizing important historical occasions and anniversaries. Public anniversaries and historic events often occupy such a powerful place in the public consciousness, that they can be co-opted by corporate and government entities. Small, grassroots grants will help ensure that local public memory is explored and understood by residents on their own terms. Over time, the record of these grants will lucidly illustrate which public memories are most important to the city of Washington. Commemoration and Remembrance grants will be available during Cycle I and will not require a preliminary application.
DCCHP is a partnership between the Humanities Council and the DC Historic Preservation Office. It is designed to provide funding and support to community leaders interested in preserving the history, architecture, and collective memory of their neighborhoods. The DCCHP is local history at a grassroots level, placing control of the narrative in the hands of those who create it. Click here to read more about the DC Community Heritage Project on our blog. DCCHP grants applications are due in May, and projects begin in July.
The Humanities Council will request proposals for grant projects that actively seek to spark dialogue between groups of residents that have historically been isolated from one another either geographically or culturally. Using the humanities disciplines as lenses, these projects will help Washingtonians better understand the ties that bind them such as music, literature, history, religion, and language.
Each "Who's a Washingtonian?" grant proposal must feature the following three components...
1. A clearly articulated effort to link two geographic or cultural groups in the city that rarely come in contact with one another.
2. A clearly defined theme, explored through the humanities disciplines, that the two groups will explore collaboratively.
3. A "civic reflection" component.
Civic reflection discussions have three elements – a group of people, the civic activity they are involved in, and an object (usually a short reading, image or video). We begin by talking about the object in front of us, the thing we share and have in common, and gradually open up into larger questions of civic engagement, social justice, and the work we do in the world.
- From the Center for Civic Reflection (civicreflection.org)
Examples of potential projects may include:
- Two geographically distant neighborhoods may simultaneously create traveling exhibits on their history and culture and trade them with one another upon completion.
- Long time residents and recently arrived residents may produce an oral history project through which they seek to examine one another’s goals, motivations, and cultures.
- Several religious organizations may host an interfaith conference during which they may discuss their perspectives on the challenges currently facing the DC community
- Book clubs from different neighborhoods may create a project wherein they celebrate their mutual appreciation of a particular work or genre
If you represent a prospective grantee organization, the Humanities Council of Washington, DC strongly advises you to carefully review the grant qualifications BEFORE APPLYING to ensure that your project qualifies. We also highly recommend attending one of our grant workshops.
Examples of project types that we have previously funded include: documentary films, oral histories, walking tours, exhibits, lectures, conferences, festivals, and children's programs. Visit the DC Digital Museum for more examples!
Our grants are made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the DC Office of Historic Preservation, and generous private donations.