What are the Humanities?
The humanities are part of the common human experience, connecting us to each other and our communities in a unique way. The humanities not only exist within the "real" world, they define it. A museum exhibit about the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, a spirited philosophical discussion about human existence or interacting with people of different cultures in your hometown are all experiences grounded in the humanities. The humanities keep us in touch with ourselves and with others. They open up the world to us, enriching our human experience. They offer us the opportunity to learn from the past, explore the present, and shape the future. They are about culture, community, and connections. Quite simply, they are about what make us human.
The humanities help us to understand…
Our story’s past: history, anthropology, archaeology;
Our story’s expressions: literature, linguistics, languages, arts history, theory and criticism;
Our story’s values: ethics, philosophy, comparative religion, jurisprudence.
Does my organization have to be located in Washington, DC?
No, your organization does not have to be located in Washington, D.C.; however, the scope of work for a Humanities Council funded project must have a Washington, D.C. focus and must be pertinent to the residents of the district.
Do you grant to individuals?
Unfortunately, no. The Humanities Council of Washington, DC receives its funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the District of the Columbia Government Office of the Mayor, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Hence, our funding is designed be given as “regrants” to organizations who are interested in projects that focus on Washington, D.C. history, culture, and heritage.
If you are an individual and you would like to apply for a Humanities Council grant, you will need to seek out a federally recognized “tax exempt” organization (i.e. 501c3) that will be willing to act as your “sponsoring organization”; in other words, an organization that will allow you to apply for a grant under their tax exempt status.
Our organization is currently a “partner” in a program/project being run by the Humanities Council. Am I still eligible to apply for a grant?
Yes, the Humanities Council’s grants initiative is separate from its programs. If you are an organization working as a “partner” with the Humanities Council, you are still eligible to apply for a grant during one of our grant cycles. Please keep in mind that your participation as a “partner” in one of the Humanities Council’s many programs, symposiums, salon-style discussions, or the “DC Big Read”, does not guarantee that you will receive a grant from the Humanities Council; our criteria for the grants cycles is located on the Humanities Council website, and is discussed at length during each of our many grants assistance workshops.
Is my organization able to apply for more than one Humanities Council grant in the same cycle, even if they are different projects or in different departments?
No, the Humanities Council grants making guidelines do not allow an organization to have multiple grants open at the same time.
The Humanities Council has several grant cycles throughout the year that allow for an organization to apply for a grant as long as their previous grant has been satisfactorily closed at least thirty (30) days preceding the start of a new grant cycle. For example if a Preliminary Application for a major grant is due February 2nd, your organization’s previous grant with the Humanities Council must be satisfactorily closed no later than January 2nd.
What is considered a “humanities” project?
Humanities projects can be presented in various forms. Here are some examples:
- Book Discussion
- Curriculum Development
- Discussion Guide
- Film Discussion
- Film/Video Production
- Historical Dramatization
- Oral Histories/Interviews
- Panel Discussion
- Historic Preservation guides
- Radio Production
- Scholarly Editing/Publishing
- Site Interpretation/Tour
- Teacher’s Institute/Seminar