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Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Grants to USA Historically Black IHEs to
Strengthen Humanities Courses and Programming

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) - Division of Education Programs

Deadline Date:

07/12/19 11:59 PM ET Receipt


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Grants to USA and Virgin Islands nonprofit historically black colleges and universities to enhance the humanities curriculum. Applicants must complete the required registrations prior to applying. Funding is intended to strengthen the study and teaching of the humanities by developing new humanities resources, courses, and programs, or by enhancing existing ones. Applicants are encouraged to draw on the knowledge of outside scholars who would contribute expertise and fresh insights to the project. Proposals for projects that are modest in scope and duration, as well as expansive long-term projects, are welcome. NEH gives preference to projects that provide free access to the public, when possible.

Each project must be organized around a core topic or set of themes drawn from areas of study in the humanities such as history, philosophy, religion, literature, and composition and writing skills. The following is a partial list of projects the program may support:
- Bridge programs for freshmen, first-generation, at-risk, and/or nontraditional students and/or secondary-school students;
- Creation or revision of courses that focus on close reading, analytical writing, and/or effective speaking, and/or composition courses designed to help students write better;
- New or enhanced humanities programs, including new humanities majors, minors, or concentrations (for instance, Diaspora studies or archaeology), honors programs, first-year seminars, culturally-relevant or place-based curricula, and capstone courses;
- The infusion of humanities learning into professional training in such fields as business, law, engineering, science, technology, and nursing and medicine;
- Creation or improvement of humanities-based curricular pathways towards graduation and/or transfer to four-year institutions, if applicable;
- Opportunities for faculty members to study together, in order to improve their capacity to teach the humanities;
- Creation or enhancement of humanities resources for the purpose of teaching, such as oral histories, collections of literature or film, teaching modules, or guidelines on how to use humanities resources in the classroom.
- Development of curriculum-focused digital humanities projects, including podcasts, mapping tools, or digital resources for distance learning that can be used on- or off-line;
- Partnerships and collaborative projects in the humanities (for example, dual-enrollment agreements in humanities-based courses for college or high-school students; collaboration with regional museums, libraries, or historical societies to share resources for teaching and learning; or partnering with a school or school system to strengthen K-12 pathways to higher education).

NEH broadly encourages humanities projects related to four agency-wide initiatives: a special encouragement in recognition of and preparation for the 250th anniversary of American independence, Advancing Civic Education, Standing Together, and Protecting Cultural Heritage. Note, though, that all applications will be given equal consideration in accordance with the program’s review criteria. For additional information regarding these initiative, see:

Proposals for NEH Humanities Initiatives are reviewed according to four criteria: intellectual quality, design quality, feasibility, and potential for significant impact. For information regarding review criteria, see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 144095

Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Successful applicants for NEH Humanities Initiatives may be awarded up to $100,000.

Term of Contract:

The period of performance may run from one to three years. The project start date is February 1, 2020.


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Any public or nonprofit 501(c)(3) U.S. historically black college or university, as defined by Executive Order 13532, is eligible to apply.

Individuals and for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply.

Collaboration with other organizations is welcome, but the project director must be from an eligible institution.

Applicants may apply to all Humanities Initiatives programs for which they are eligible. For example, a Historically Black College that is also a community college could apply to both the Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities program and the Humanities Initiatives at Community Colleges program.

Eligible applicant institutions may submit multiple applications for separate and distinct projects under this announcement. Overlapping project costs between two or more applications for federal funding and/or approved federal award budgets is not permitted.

NEH generally does not issue awards to other federal entities or to applicants whose projects are so closely intertwined with a federal entity that the project takes on characteristics of the federal entity’s own authorized activities. This does not preclude applicants from using funds from, or sites and materials controlled by, other federal entities in their projects.

The Humanities Initiatives program does not support
-Advocacy of a particular program of social or political action;
-Promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view;
-Projects supporting specific public policies or legislation;
-Projects that center on pedagogical theory and strategies, or on research on educational methods, tests or measurements;
- Work undertaken in pursuit of an academic degree; or
-Projects whose focus falls outside the humanities (including the creation or performance of art, creative writing, memoirs, and creative nonfiction, and empirically based social science research or policy studies).

Inadmissible budget items
-The cost of replacement teachers or compensation for faculty members performing their regular duties;
-The rental of recreational facilities and costs related to social events such as banquets, receptions, and entertainment;
-Tuition fees for participants;
-Lobbying; and
-The cost of travel associated with scholarly research unrelated to the project.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications must be received and validated by by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on July 12, 2019.

Optional drafts are due by July 14, 2019. Time constraints may prevent staff from reviewing draft proposals submitted after that date. Staff comments in response to draft proposals are not part of the formal review process and have no bearing on the final outcome of the proposal, but previous applicants have found them helpful in strengthening their applications.

You must register your institution or verify its registration with the System for Award Management (SAM). Begin a new registration at least six weeks before the deadline. System for Award Management (SAM):

You must register your institution or verify its registration with Begin a new registration at least two weeks before the deadline.

Applicants must have a DUNS number to apply:

-Until July 12, 2019: Contact Division of Education Programs program officers with questions and for advice (optional)
-June 1, 2019: Applicants that have not registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) and should begin the process no later than this date
-June 14, 2019: Submit draft proposal (optional) by this date
-June 29, 2019: Applicants that have registered in SAM and should verify their registrations by this date
-July 12, 2019: Application must be submitted through and validated by by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on this date
-September 2019: Peer review panels take place
-December 2019: Meeting of the National Council on the Humanities, followed by funding decisions
-Late December 2019: Applicants are notified of the funding decisions
-January 2020: Institutional grants administrators and project directors of successful applications receive award documents by e-mail
-February 1, 2020: Successful applicants begin work on their projects

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Applicant FAQ:

List of HBCUs:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register with

Division of Education Programs
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20506


Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact NEH via Federal Relay (TTY users) at 800-877-8399. Help Desk:

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Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Arkansas;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maryland;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   North Carolina;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Pennsylvania;   South Carolina;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   West Virginia

USA Territories: Virgin Islands (USA)