NEH Challenge Grants
IU Internal Deadline: 02/05/2014
Optional Letter of Intent: 3/20/2014
NEH Application Deadline: 5/1/2014
Brief Description: Updated guidelines will be posted at least two months in advance of the deadline listed. In the meantime, please use the guidelines for the previous deadline, to get a sense of what is involved in assembling an application.
NEH challenge grants are capacity-building grants, intended to help institutions and organizations secure long-term improvements in and support for their humanities programs and resources. Through these awards, many organizations and institutions have been able to increase their humanities capacity and secure the permanent support of an endowment. Grants may be used to establish or enhance endowments or spend-down funds that generate expendable earnings to support and enhance ongoing program activities. Challenge grants may also provide capital directly supporting the procurement of long-lasting objects, such as acquisitions for archives and collections, the purchase of equipment, and the construction or renovation of facilities needed for humanities activities. Funds spent directly must be shown to bring long-term benefits to the institution and to the humanities more broadly. Grantee institutions may also expend up to 10 percent of total grant funds (federal funds plus matching funds) to defray costs of fundraising to meet the NEH challenge.
NEH will offer successful applicants a matching grant. The requested grant amount should be appropriate to the humanities needs and the fundraising capacity of the institution. The federal portions of NEH challenge grants have ranged in recent years from $30,000 to $1 million, the maximum amount that may be requested. Requests over $500,000, however, are unlikely to be funded at the requested level, and in recent years the maximum grant has ranged between $425,000 and $500,000. Applicants wishing to apply for a grant of more than $500,000 should consult with NEH staff about the size of their requests. Smaller grants for sharply defined purposes are encouraged.
NEH challenge grants assist institutions in developing sources of support for humanities programs, and fundraising is an integral part of the long-term planning that challenge grants require. Persons raising the funds as well as those who will be directly responsible for the humanities programs should be fully involved in the planning from the outset. Grant recipients must raise, from nonfederal donors, three times the amount of federal funds offered.
With the exception of elementary and secondary schools (public or private) and school districts, any U.S. nonprofit institution (public agency, private nonprofit organization, federally recognized Indian tribal government) working wholly or in part with the humanities may apply for a challenge grant. Affiliated institutions (for example, a university museum) should consult with NEH staff on questions of separate eligibility. Institutions that support research, education, preservation, and public programming in humanities disciplines are eligible to apply for an NEH challenge grant.
Limitation: One per campus
Institutions may apply for only one NEH challenge grant in a calendar year.
To apply for IU Internal competition:
For consideration, submit the following documents electronically to Etta Ward, firstname.lastname@example.org, by February 5, 2014 for internal competition.
1. 1-2 page research statement briefly describing the proposed project, especially its humanities content, and the humanities credentials of the scholars and other staff who would be involved in planning and implementing the project. Also include plans for raising matching funds. Limitation does not include references.
2. A Letter from the Chair or Dean
3. 2-3 page abbreviated CV for the PI
NOTE: Since this program requires a substantial fund raising activity, it is recommended that each Center or unit (department or school) works with the IU Foundation prior to the internal competition.