Because Humanities Nebraska (HN) exists to help people explore what connects us and makes us human, we offer grants to nonprofit organizations and government entities to support projects related to the public humanities. This webpage contains information and links to help guide you through the application process, and HN grants staff are available to help you, too.
We highly recommend that you contact the HN grants staff when you are developing an application. We are more than happy to answer your questions and give you advice. We can also log in to view your draft application in the system and provide specific feedback if you give us enough lead time before grant due dates.
- If you have never applied to HN before, or if you are new to grant writing, we especially want to work with you to help make this process as easy as possible.
- If you have successfully applied to HN before, we still encourage you to contact HN staff. We can help you fine-tune your application to better fit our guidelines.
Humanities Nebraska Grants Staff
- Katie Bradshaw, Grants Management & Outreach Specialist, email or (402) 474-2131 ext 114 (regular hours: 9-4 Central, Tu, Wed, Th)
- Barbara Grant, Office and Grants Coordinator, email or (402) 474-2131 ext. 102
- Erika Hamilton, Director of Literary Programs, email or (402) 474-2131 ext. 104
- Kristi Hayek Carley, Program Manager, email or (402) 474-2131 ext. 108
- Mary Yager, Associate Director, email or (402) 474-2131 ext. 103
What makes a successful HN grant application?
The following basic elements are generally required for a successful application. More details are provided in the FAQ sections below. When you have questions, contact HN staff!
- Applicant is a non-profit according to the State of Nebraska and the IRS and has 501(c)(3) or other 501(c) status, or is a federal, state, county, local, or tribal government entity – including public schools and libraries – that doesn’t have any past-due HN grant reports still pending.
- Humanities are central to the portion of the applicant’s project HN is being asked to fund, and the program encourages interaction, thought, and discussion over ideas, topics, and questions.
- At least one subject expert (“humanist”) is involved in planning and/or implementing the project, and their role and expertise are clearly described.
- The project takes place in Nebraska and/or has direct significance to Nebraska, and Nebraskans are a primary target audience.
- The project does not involve advocacy for a particular viewpoint and is free of bias and includes a balance of views.
- A public program that is free or has a nominal fee (not a fundraiser).
- A project budget showing at least a 1:1 match between HN grant funds and cash or in-kind budget items.
- Adequate plans to promote and evaluate the project.
- Reasonable timeline and proportional budget.
Types of Grants, Deadlines, and Matching Funds
All three types of HN program grants — mini, major, and media — have the same basic requirements. The main differences are (1) the amount of money requested and (2) the deadlines, with larger grants and grants for “media” projects (creation of websites, podcasts, radio programs, films, etc.) requiring some additional information and review time.
|GRANT TYPE||REQUEST||GRANT DEADLINE||PROJECT BEGINS ON OR AFTER||MATCHING FUNDS|
|50th Anniversary Educator Grant||$1,000|
Sept 1, 2023
|Oct 1, 2023||Not required.|
|Mini Grant||$2,000 or less||Jan 1|
|Cash or in-kind expenses* equal to or greater than the request; a 1:1 match. (Applicant must provide at least half the total project cost.)|
|Major Grant||More than $2,000.|
While there is no maximum request, awards are typically $10,000 or less.
|Cash or in-kind expenses* equal to or greater than the request; a 1:1 match. (Applicant must provide at least half the total project cost.) At least 10% of the match must be cash.|
|Media Grant||More than $2,000.|
While there is no maximum request, few grants larger than $15,000 have been awarded.
|Cash or in-kind expenses* equal to or greater than the request; a 1:1 match. (Applicant must provide at least half the total project cost.) At least 10% of the match must be cash.|
Grant applications must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on the due date. If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the grant is due the next business day.
Items in a project budget that will be paid for with HN grant funds cannot be incurred before the “project begins on or after” date (see the table above).
*See the FAQs for an explanation of cash versus in-kind expenses.
Any project that involves production of film, television or radio, or creation of digital projects such as websites, DVDs or podcasts, is considered to be a media project and should be applied for using the Media Application. (Under certain circumstances funding for pre-production aspects of media projects is available through the Mini Grant process – contact HN staff to discuss your project.)
Digital products may be components of a larger project or a project in its own right. Projects relying heavily or solely on a digital format should have strong humanities content, be based on sound scholarship, and offer users an interactive and engaging experience. These projects could be humanities-based Internet presentations such as online exhibitions that might be interactive and could include open dialogue moderated by humanities scholars. Projects must be humanities based. HN will not fund organizational websites or promotional websites or CD/DVDs.
Media grant applications are sent to outside reviewers who have media expertise. Each reviewer will assess the technical merits of the project and the capability of the project team to deliver the proposed results. The applicant will receive a copy of each reviewer’s assessment and will be given the opportunity to submit a formal response to the technical review. The media grant application, technical reviewer’s comments and the applicant response will then be included for review during the following Major Grants round. The applicant will be notified regarding funding within three months of the media grant submission deadline.
Out-of-state applicants must submit a $150 processing fee to subsidize the cost of the technical review process. Pay this fee now:
HN Grants FAQ
|YES, ELIGIBLE||NO, NOT ELIGIBLE|
Typically, the humanist is a college or university professor in a humanities discipline. If a non-academic humanist is chosen for a project, the applicant must provide sufficient background information on the individual to demonstrate that he or she will capably represent the humanities. If there is more than one scholar involved, there must be an explanation for each scholar.
For major grants, a resume of no more than two pages and a letter (from the project director or scholar) explaining the scholar’s involvement in the project (e.g. guest lecturer, topic and title of lecture) must be included.
|YES, ELIGIBLE||POSSIBLY ELIGIBLE: CONTACT HN TO ASK||NO, NOT ELIGIBLE|
*See “A note about creative and performing arts projects” below.
**Some exceptions can be made for humanities-based occupational training for professions that serve the public (e.g., doctors, teachers, law enforcement officers).
To get a sense of the types of programming HN helps to fund, see the lists of organizations and programs that have received HN recent grant awards in the menu on the left side of this page.
|YES, POTENITALLY ELIGIBLE for HN funds||NO, NOT ELIGIBLE for HN funds*|
HN wants to be a partner on humanities projects around the state and not the sole funder. For this reason, we require at least a 50% match to be demonstrated in the grant application budget. In other words, whatever the total grant budget, HN can pay for no more than half. The other 50% of the grant funds must come from the applicant’s resources as matching funds, either in “cash” or “in-kind” match. Contact HN staff when you have questions.
|CASH MATCH||IN-KIND MATCH|
|Expenses for which you have to pay a bill, like:||Donated items or services, or “overhead” expenses directly related to the project, like:|
The budget form is the number-one place where new (and even experienced) grant applicants get confused and make mistakes. We definitely recommend that you contact HN staff for advice. Here’s what a section of the budget forms look like, and a link to a page where you can download the budget form. (It’s also available to download through the grant application page):
Click here to find budget form download links.
- Start by making a list of all your project’s expenses – including the value of “overhead” items directly related to your project, and donated items or volunteer time. (Tip: you can look up the current Nebraska value for an hour of volunteer service at independentsector.org.)
- Enter each expense into the appropriate category in the HN budget form, but divide the dollar amounts among the “HN funds”, “cash match”, and in-kind match” columns. The gray-shaded areas are calculated fields that will automatically total lines and rows.
In-kind match: first fill in the value of any items or services that are donated or are “overhead” expenses that you would not pay a bill for.
HN Funds: Put grant-eligible direct expenses here. See “what kinds of expenses can be paid with HN grant funds?” in the FAQ
Cash Match: Put direct expenses that are not eligible for payment with HN funds here. See “what kinds of expenses can be paid with HN grant funds?” in the FAQ
- Look at the totals at the bottom of the page to see if you are meeting the match requirement. If the current match is less than the minimum required match, move some expenses from the “HN funds” column into the “cash match” column until you meet the match requirement.
- Enter the total for the HN funds column (column C) in your grant application as the amount of funds you are requesting, and upload your budget document where the application requests it.
See the information on the “Manage Your Grants” page.
Don’t stress – contact HN staff! While we expect grant applicants to carry out their programming as described in good faith, we know things sometimes change. Talk to us about changes to humanists or event dates or budget items.
It’s easier to discuss changes to your program during your grant period rather than waiting until the final report to sort things out. Budget changes that result in unused funds require you to return those funds to HN. However, HN staff can approve certain budget changes that allow you to flex your grant budget within the terms of your grant agreement to avoid returning funds. Such changes must be approved in advance.
There are no limits on the number of grant applications one entity can submit; however, the number of grants PER PROJECT is limited.
Applicants are expected to address all aspects of a project in a single application. An exception is a mini grant to help plan a larger project that may be eligible for a major or media grant.
Repeat applications for recurring events may be expected to request less funding, seek funding from other sources, and/or show innovation in the project.
No. HN funds can’t be used as matching funds for another HN grant, even if the applicants are different, because this would result in HN funding more than 50% of the project.
Grant funds from other sources may be used as matching funds, though. Some applicants have used grants from the Nebraska Arts Council to help provide matching funds for a HN grant, for example.
A note about creative and performing arts projects
HN cannot fund creative or performing arts unless the project includes a significant humanities-based educational component. The goal of an event or experience should be to help the audience understand and discuss things like values, history and social context. The experience or event must be accompanied by some form of facilitated learning in order to give the audience something to think about in addition to something to enjoy.
The application should demonstrate that a humanities scholar will be involved in planning to ensure that the humanities are well represented in the project. The application should thoroughly explain how the performing or creative arts component will complement and enhance the humanities aspect.
HN funds may be requested to pay humanities scholars and presenters and their travel (when necessary), publicity to develop an audience, and resources needed to facilitate learning. Some funding of performers may be requested as needed to illustrate the educational component.
Creative and performing arts projects that are ineligible for HN funding may be eligible for Nebraska Arts Council funding.
- A pre-performance talk by a scholar describing the culture and the times that influenced William Shakespeare
- Facilitated discussion with accompanying performance that presents the historical and social context of opera and the role of opera in today’s culture
- Presentation and discussion of the various musical traditions and instruments of ancient and contemporary cultures
- Workshops that introduce students to the values, principles and history of African society and life through the study of traditional storytelling, dance, drumming and music
- Lecture-recital program exploring the evolution of American roots music
- Workshops for high school students that incorporate the history and cultural influence of photography with photography training
- Talks given by Native American presenters recognized for their knowledge of the history and cultural impact of dance in Native American societies followed by dance and drum exhibition
- Presentation of the history of a community that results in art that portrays that history
- Living history portrayal of a historical figure ending in discussion with a scholar
- A series of talks about the historical, social and critical context of paintings in a gallery exhibit
- Writing workshops that include discussion of the human condition, such as workshops on character development, motivation, conflict and resolution, and historical context.
- Performance-only programming
- Art classes focusing on creative technique
- Workshops addressing the mechanics and business of writing
- Music or dance performances that do not include a formal presentation of the history and cultural meaning of the dance or music
How does the application process work?
Log into your organization’s existing account in the HN grants management site. If you are a new applicant, create a new account. All applications must be submitted through this system. Log in here.
Note: if your organization has previously applied for a HN grant but you can’t find the login information, please contact HN staff for assistance. Please don’t create another new account, which will duplicate your organization’s information in the HN grants system.
When you are logged in:
- For a new application, click on the “apply” icon on the top of your HN grants page dashboard (pictured below) to open the page of available grant opportunities, then click the “apply” button on the right side of the screen, in the “grant application” bar.
- To work on a draft application that you have previously saved, click on the “edit application” link in the “active requests” tab on your dashboard (pictured below).
Fill in the grant application form online. Progress on your draft application can be saved in the system. HN staff can log in to view your draft and provide feedback upon request.
Your application is not complete until you click “submit”. Incomplete applications, or applications submitted after the deadline, will not be considered.
For a preview of the questions, visit the grants resources page. UPDATE LINK
- All applications will need to be virtually signed by both a project director and a budget administrator, who cannot be the same person and cannot be from the same family or household.
- Nonprofit organizations that have not applied to HN before need to upload a copy of their 501(c) determination letter. Government entities, including schools, are exempt from this requirement.
- All applicants will need to upload a project budget, preferably using the Excel form provided. The budget forms are available to download in the application, and are downloadable on the grants resources page as well. UPDATE LINK
HN staff assembles information packets for each grant application and may reach out with clarification questions if time permits.
The grant applications are reviewed by the HN Board of Directors.
The media grant review process is a little different – media grants go first to technical reviewers. You will then have an opportunity to respond to the reviewer comments before the application is submitted to the HN Board of Directors for review.
Grant requests are fully or partially awarded based on guideline compliance, the relative merit of the application compared to other applications submitted in the same round, and the total request of all applications in a round compared to the budget available that round. HN may choose not to fund an application, fund a grant at a lesser amount, fund only certain parts of a project, and/or fund a grant with certain stipulations.
HN contacts successful applicants by phone and/or email to notify them of their grant status. Applicants whose grant requests have been denied will get a letter in the mail. This contact will usually occur within one month after a mini grant application deadline, within two months after a major grant application deadline, and within three and a half months after a media grant application deadline.
Successful applicants must log in to the grants system to sign a grant agreement. A revised budget may be requested if your grant request was not fully funded. See the grants resources page UPDATE LINK to download the revised budget form. Additional information may be requested, such as an updated schedule of events. When the grant agreement is signed and when stipulations are met, if any, funds are released (100% for mini grants, 90% for grants over $2,000).
Please visit the Manage Your Grant page for details.
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