Note: Beginning immediately and until further notice all grantees must agree to follow applicable CDC and Commonwealth of Virginia guidelines for social distancing, covering any and all events or in-person gatherings supported by the grant.
Virginia Humanities grant applications are submitted online. See and follow instructions in the online application. Note that first-time applicants will need to set up an account.
Spring & Fall Grants
- April 15th
- October 15th (extended to October 23 for 2020 applications)
There is no deadline for this program; applications are accepted at any time.
How to Apply
Letters of Intent
Beginning August 1, 2020, applicants for Spring and Fall Grants are required to submit a letter of intent.
Letters of intent begin the application process on March 1 or September 1 (extended to September 15 for 2020 applications) and are required before approval to advance to full application stage (April 15 or October 15). Letters will be used to assess eligibility and enable Virginia Humanities staff to provide more timely advice to prospective applicants.
Letters should be no more than one page and must be submitted online (see instructions in the online application). They should briefly describe the project; its relationship to the mission of the applicant organization; and why (from the applicant’s perspective) it merits grant support from Virginia Humanities. The letter should also include a tentative project timeline.
Prospective applicants will receive a response within two weeks, with advice regarding next steps in the application process.
All grant applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a draft proposal for staff review and comment at least three weeks prior to the formal application. Staff is available to advise prospective applicants by phone or in-person and to answer questions before the draft is submitted.
Applicants for Spring and Fall Grants in amounts greater than $10,000 must:
- discuss the project idea with staff prior to submitting a draft proposal
- submit a draft proposal for staff review and comment
- provide a detailed plan for extending the impact of the funded project beyond the grant period—for multiplying and ensuring its long-term impact
Draft proposals are submitted via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and should include the following:
- Brief Project Description
- Full Project Narrative (see Creating a Strong Proposal, below)
- Itemized Budget presented on the required Budget Form
Do not submit resumes/CVs, letters of endorsement, or other supporting materials in the draft stage.
Applicants are also required to submit a cover sheet with digital signatures of the project director and financial officer (see application form).
Applicants will receive an automated acknowledgement when the proposal has been formally submitted. This acknowledgement does not guarantee that the proposal is complete, only that it has been received. All applicants will be notified by phone or e-mail as soon as possible, once a decision has been made.
Note: Virginia Humanities will consider applications submitted in languages other than English. For non-English applications a longer review and consultation period may be necessary. Prospective applicants should contact Virginia Humanities grant staff (through an English-speaking interpreter or representative) well in advance of the projected application date.
Creating a Strong Proposal
The core of every proposal is the Project Narrative. There is no prescribed format for the Narrative—it should reflect the character of the project and the work being proposed.
Most proposals should include the following. See specific instructions on the application form itself.
- A statement of need or opportunity, including the origins of the project idea and the need(s) it is designed to serve; why the project is important or especially timely now.
- A brief history of the project, with any relevant background on the current request.
- A concise description of the specific work or activities/programs for which funding is requested.
- An explanation of how the humanities are central to the work being proposed.
- Information on key project personnel and their roles, in particular the roles of the humanities scholars who will be contributing to the project—as speakers/presenters, consultants, or otherwise.
Note: our definition of “humanities scholar” is not limited to university-based professors or researchers: it also includes community historians who have developed strong expertise and knowledge in a particular field of the humanities—local history, traditional arts or cultural studies, for example.
- A work plan for the project. Note that a separate project schedule/timeline is also required (see application form). How will the work of the project move forward from the point of funding to the completion of all the programs/activities for which funding is requested? Who is responsible for the various parts of the work plan?
- A discussion of the intended audience(s) for the project and a detailed promotion plan that normally includes both general and targeted strategies for reaching out to these audiences. Note that for some projects (script development for a documentary film, for example) there may not be an immediate audience. In cases like this, instead of outlining specific promotion strategies, the proposal should identify the eventual targeted audience(s) and include a brief explanation of how those audiences will be reached (local/regional broadcast and community screenings, for example).
- Discussion of outcomes, benefits, and short and long-term impact. How will your community/Virginia/the nation be better as a result of our having supported this project? What are its contributions? Will this project lay the foundation for other programs to follow?
Note that proposals for Spring/Fall grants of $10,000 or more must also provide a detailed plan for extending the impact of the funded project beyond the grant period—for multiplying and ensuring its long-term impact.