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Library Resource Guide for: PUBLIC HUMANITIES

Finding Grants for Public Humanities Projects

Finding funds to support public projects in the Humanities is a never-ending quest. This page provides some ideas on where to start your search.

Fund sources can be divided principally into three broad classes: federal, state and private.

  • Federal sources of funding consist of agencies and departments of the U.S. government which depend on annual allocations from Congress and the Executive branch for the funds they grant. These include the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (a division of the National Archives and Records Administration). Because their budgets are determined by governmental processes, the level of funding available tends to vary (sometimes widely) from year to year.

  • State sources of funding consist of agencies and departments of State and local goverment, which distribute funds allocated by state government as well as funds provided to the states through various programs of the federal goverment. These agencies will fund projects of significance to the state in which they are located. Some examples of state funding agencies include the state humanities councils (links for the Massachusetts and Rhode Island councils are provided below).

  • Private sources of funding include the myriad of foundations established by groups and individuals to provide funding for philanthropic goals. Each foundation developes its own particular mission, and each operates independently of federal agencies, state agencies and other foundations. Some foundations take on a national scope, others remain focused on a particular locality. Rhode Island is particularly fortunate to have its own statewide community foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, which is unique among the states. For foundations outside Rhode Island, the Foundation Center and its publications are an essential tool for doing research on finding the right foundations to approach for funding particular humanities projects.

Links to these organizations, and others that may be of interest, are provided below.

Internet Resources:

  • Foundation Center
    A clearing house with the mission to promote the non-profit sector by providing knowledge about private philanthropic resources in the United States. The Foundation Center maintains libraries of grant information in 5 major cities across the country. NOTE: The Providence Public Library is a designated "Cooperating Collection" and has many Foundation Center Publications.

  • Grants.Gov
    One-stop shopping for research and submission of federal grants in all categories. Brown faculty and grad students should be sure to consult Brown's Office of Sponsored Projects, which offers workshops on searching for project funding and preparing grant proposals.

  • GuideStar
    Information on free 6-month access to a premier research database covering the non-profit sector, allowing users to find information on foundations and grant making agencies with potential for funding projects. NOTE: REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED IN ORDER TO OBTAIN ACCESS TO THE RESOURCE.

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services
    IMLS is an independent (non-departmental) grants agency of the federal government, with the mission "to lead the effort to create and sustain a 'nation of learners.' " IMLS also serves as a clearinghouse for information on museum and library resources, services and activities. Reports, guidelines and grant program details are available for download on the site.

  • Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities
    Information on MFH grants and projects in Massachusetts, and a link to MFH's free e-newsletter.

  • National Endowment for the Arts
    The federal agency responsible principally responsible for supporting the fine and performing arts. Provides information on grants available to individual artists and arts organizations.

  • National Endowment for the Humanities
    The federal government agency principally responsible for providing support for humanities projects. Includes information on applying for federal grants, grant categories, initiatives and programs

  • National Historical Publications and Records Program
    NHPRC funds programs designed to enhance public access and use of important public and private records in all formats -- electronic, manuscript, film and media.

  • Rhode Island Council for the Humanities
    Information on RICH grants and projects in Rhode Island.

  • The Rhode Island Foundation
    Information on RIF's component funds and their funding directives, grant opportunities, projects, initiatives, and community collaboration.