DC Oral History Collaborative Partnership Grants (For New Oral History Projects)

Help us preserve the unique stories of Washington, DC residents! This opportunity provides financial and capacity building resources to community organizations and individuals (“partners”) interested in conducting oral history projects. Potential projects may focus on: neighborhoods, social organizations, political history, labor, faith-based groups, cultural trends, historic events, or other themes that lend themselves to oral history as a tool for research and preservation. Partnership proposals will be reviewed in February, and selected projects will be announced in March.

Selected partners will be required to attend a three-session Oral History training workshop, and will work in conjunction with staff and consultants from the DC Oral History Collaborative throughout the course of their projects.

Award Amount:
Applicants may request up to $6,000 depending on the scope of their projects.

What we are looking for:
Successful applications will propose projects that explore Washington, DC’s life, history and culture through interviews with the people who have lived it. Projects should have a theme, focus, or research question they aim to illuminate, and should commit to interviewing at least five people. The final product for each project will be a set of well documented recordings accompanied by transcripts and any legal forms necessary for inclusion in the DC Oral History Collaborative repository. Click here to download the full RFP.

The deadline for this program has passed.

“How to Apply” Presentation:

About the DC Oral History Collaborative:

The DC Oral History Collaborative is an ambitious city-wide initiative to document and preserve the history of Washington’s residents and communities through the collection of oral histories. The project will survey and publicize existing oral history collections, provide grants and training for scholars and amateur historians to launch new oral history projects, and establish an interactive, accessible platform where the city’s memories can benefit residents and scholars for generations to come. The Collaborative is a partnership of HumanitiesDC, The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and the DC Public Library.

What is Oral History:
“[Oral history is] distinguished from other forms of interviews by its content and extent. Oral history interviews seek an in-depth account of personal experience and reflections, with sufficient time allowed for the narrators give their story the fullness they desire. The content of oral history interviews is grounded in reflections on the past as opposed to commentary on purely contemporary events.”

Qualifying Questions:
1. Does the proposed project have Washington, DC or one of its communities or neighborhoods as its primary geographic focus?
2. Will the proposed project occur within the grant period (March 12, 2019 and September 30, 2019)?
3. Can the project director commit to attending a three-session workshop on oral history on March 12, 19, and 26 from 6-9pm?
4. Will the project interview at least five people?
5. Will the project be able to provide a set of unrestricted interviews with transcripts, release forms, indexes, metadata forms, and narrator photographs to the DC Oral History Collaborative by the end of the grant period?
6. Has the applying organization or individual successfully closed out any previously held HumanitiesDC grants that are beyond their final reporting deadline? Organizations or individuals with delinquent grants of any type from HumanitiesDC are ineligible to apply. Any overdue grant final reports must be submitted AND closed out 15 days prior to the proposal deadline for this RFP.

Additional Requirements:
1. All partnership projects will be supported by a professional oral historian contracted by the DC Oral History Collaborative. This consultant will be responsible for providing support and advice to project directors as well as ensuring that all project work is progressing smoothly.
2. The oral history consultant will schedule several required check-in sessions with partnership project directors over the course of the project period.
3. All partnership projects must participate in joint marketing and communications campaigns in support of the DC Oral History Collaborative during the grant period.

1. No member of, nor delegate to Congress, Mayor, or City Council member, nor officer nor employee of the District, nor officer nor employee of the DC Public Library may benefit financially from a partnership grant.
2. Awardees agree to document all grant expenditures and provide a final report at the end of the project period using forms provided by HumanitiesDC.
3. Awarded applicants will receive 80% of the full amount of the grant upon their signature of the partnership agreement document. The remaining 20% will be paid no later than August 31st, 2019 after successful completion of a standard set of grantee milestones. All grant funds must be expended before September 30, 2019.
4. Any changes to the scope or budget of a partnership project must be communicated to HumanitiesDC in writing and approved by both the Consulting Oral Historian and the Deputy Director of Programs.
5. Awarded applicants will sign grant conditions that constitute a legally binding contract between HumanitiesDC and the applicant’s sponsoring organization or a designated responsible party. The organization or responsible party will be legally obligated to complete the project under the terms of the grant conditions.
6. 100% of awarded grant funds must be applied to direct program costs. This may include salary, consulting fees, and/or honoraria for individuals working on the project, but cannot include indirect costs, overhead, rent, utilities, or administrative fees.
7. All final products collected as part of this partnership grant opportunity will be collected by the DC Oral History Collaborative and made available to the DC Public Library for accession to their Special Collections. Awarded grantees will retain the shared rights with the DCOHC and the DCPL to retain copies, publicly distribute, and publish derivative works based on the materials they collect.

How is this opportunity different from a standard HumanitiesDC grant?
1. Applicants do not have to represent 501(c)3 non-profit organizations. Projects conducted by individuals or for-profit entities must select a responsible party to sign, and be liable for upholding, the grant conditions document.
2. Organizations with open HumanitiesDC grants may still apply for a DCOHC partnership grant. Any oral history project supported through the DCOHC must be clearly distinct from a project already supported by an open HumanitiesDC grant.
3. The DCOHC funding opportunity supports a partnership between the Collaborative and the funded entity. The DCOHC will work with all funded projects, throughout the grant period, to ensure their use of best practices and to facilitate public communications efforts.
4. The DCOHC funding opportunity does not require a “Humanities Scholar” as a separate role. Applications may be strengthened if they show engagement by a humanities professional, but scholars working with the DCOHC will provide advice and support to every project.

How to Apply:
Click here to access HumanitiesDC’s online grants portal.
If you or your organization have applied for funding from HumanitiesDC in the past, please DO NOT create a new applicant profile. Use your organization’s existing login credentials. If you are not sure if you organization has an existing profile, please contact Jasper Collier at jcollier@wdchumanities.org or 202-387-8391.

Note that applicants to this opportunity are not required to represent a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. If you have an EIN number, please enter it in the appropriate field in the registration form. If you do not have an EIN number input 11-11111 as a placeholder.