Promotion of the Humanities_Challenge Grants

To support educational and cultural institutions and organizations in order to increase their financial stability and to sustain or improve the quality of humanities programs, services, or resources.

Normally, institutions requesting their first NEH challenge grant must raise at least three dollars
in new donations from nonfederal sources to receive each Federal dollar.

Institutions requesting subsequent challenge grants must raise at least four dollars for each Federal dollar.

A special category of challenge grants, called We the People, is designed to help institutions and organizations secure long-term improvements in humanities activities that explore significant themes and events in American history and culture, with special attention to advancing knowledge of the nation's founding principles.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

(1) A community college will use its $500,000 challenge grant to endow a humanities institute in partnership with a major museum.

(2) A liberal arts college will use its $625,000 We the People challenge grant to restore an historic house as a residence for research fellows and an endowment for fellowships to study the Founding Era and its legacy.

(3) A public library will use its $500,000 challenge grant to restore and enhance technology in its historic building.

(4) A museum will use its $575,000 challenge grant as the cornerstone of a larger fund-raising campaign for an endowment to support a new regional art center.

(5) A professional humanities association is using its $246,000 challenge grant to endow staff positions in humanities educational programming.

Agency - National Endowment For The Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities.

Website Address

Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2007, 113 applications were received and 20 awards were made.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funds may be applied to a variety of institutional needs which an applicant has demonstrated serve both the humanities and the institution's long-term objectives.

The major purpose of a Challenge Grant is to help institutions and organizations attain or sustain a high level of quality in humanities programs or activities by building long-term capital resources.

The most common expenditure of grant and matching funds is the creation or augmentation of endowments.

Also possible are direct expenditures such as library acquisitions, technological enhancement, construction and renovation, and other costs clearly attributable to improvements in humanities programs and activities.

Funds may not be used directly for general operating support or undergraduate scholarships and prizes or for projects eligible for support from other NEH programs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Any public or private U.S.

nonprofit institution or organization working wholly or in part within the humanities may apply, including the following: two-year and four-year colleges; universities; museums; historical societies; research libraries; public libraries; advanced study centers; media organizations; university presses; professional societies; or State humanities councils.

State and local governments and U.S.

Territories are eligible to apply on their own behalf or on behalf of nonprofit institutions, associations or organizations within their jurisdictions.

Individuals and public and private elementary and secondary schools or school districts are not eligible to apply.

Beneficiary Eligibility

All applicant organizations and institutions and all users of their humanities resources, programs, or activities.


This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

None required, but preliminary discussion with Endowment staff and the submission of a draft application at least six weeks before the deadline are strongly encouraged.

The standard application forms as furnished by the Endowment and required by OMB Circular No.

A-102 must be used for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No.

A-102 and E.O.


Application Procedures

Applications to NEH must be submitted via Guidelines and application instructions are available online at

Award Procedures

Applications are reviewed by administrators of humanities institutions, panels of scholars, and other appropriate individuals. Awards are made by the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities after recommendation by the National Council on the Humanities.


May 1 for all challenge grants except We the People Challenge Grants in United States History, Institutions and Culture, which have a February 1 deadline. Deadlines are receipt deadlines. Write or call the NEH Office of Challenge Grants.


National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, as amended, Public Law 89-209, 20 U.S.C. 951 et seq.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Seven months (approximately 210 days) after deadline.


None, but applicants may request written reasons for rejection and reapply with a revised proposal.


Eligibility to apply for a subsequent award begins in the fourth year after the close of the previous challenge grant. Eligibility to apply for a subsequent We the People challenge grant begins in the second year.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

All challenge grant funds are matching funds. First-time grantees must raise three nonfederal dollars for every federal dollar offered; subsequent awards require four nonfederal dollars for every federal dollar offered. All We the People challenge grants, and all Digital Humanities challenge grants require three nonfederal dollars for every Federal dollar offered.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

From one to five years. Funds must be expended during the grant period. Funds expended include funds deposited into an income earning account. Federal funds up to the amount offered in any year are released as matching amounts are certified to the Endowment and minimum annual matching requirements are met.

Post Assistance Requirements


Narrative progress reports are required biennially; reports on nonfederal contributions raised and sources of giving are required annually.

Final narrative and financial reports are due within 90 days after the grant ending date.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. For nongovernmental recipients, audits are to be carried out in accordance with the provisions set forth in OMB Circular No. A-110, "Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations Uniform Administrative Requirements" and with OMB Circular No. A-133. In addition, grants are subject to inspection and audits by NEH and other Federal officials.


To be retained by the grantee for three years from the date of submission of the final narrative and financial reports. Records include financial documentation on all matching gifts and on all expenditures of Federal and matching funds.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $10,273,705*; FY 08 est $9,331,000; and FY 09 est $7,082,000. *Includes additional funding provided by We the People. See 45.168 PROMOTION OF THE HUMANITIES-WE THE PEOPLE.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Applicants may request up to $1,000,000 in Federal funds over four years. In fiscal year 2007, the largest award offered was $1,000,000, the smallest was $200,000; and the average award was approximately $400,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

45 CFR 1100 and 1105. Guidelines are available online at and upon request from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC 20506. Available from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, is the Endowment's official publication, "Humanities" by subscription (6 issues annually, $24.00 domestic, $30.00 foreign).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Not applicable.

Headquarters Office

Office of Challenge Grants, Room 420, National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC 20506. (202) 606- 8309. Use the same number for FTS.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

To reach decisions about funding, all reviewers of Challenge Grants applications are asked to evaluate the existing and potential quality of an applicant's programs in the humanities, its needs, management, and fund-raising capability. In light of the goals of the Challenge Grants Program, reviewers assess each application in accordance with the following criteria: (1) The significance of existing and planned humanities activities. (2) The appropriateness of institutional resources and plans. (3) The impact of challenge grant funds. (4) The feasibility of fund raising. Applicants for second or subsequent awards must describe and assess the effects of their prior awards.

UK will be celebrating its first national celebration of social enterprises dubbed as Social Saturday. World famous celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who founded the Fifteen restaurant chain.

More Federal Domestic Assistance Programs

Indian Schools_Student Transportation | Research on Chemical and Biological Defense | Family and Community Violence Prevention Program | State Access to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund | Vocational and Educational Counseling for Servicemembers and Veterans |  Site Style by YAML | | Grants | Grants News | Sitemap | Privacy Policy

Edited by: Michael Saunders

© 2004-2024 Copyright Michael Saunders