FAQ & Resources
What are the Humanities?
The National Endowment for the Humanities Defines the Humanities as the following:
“The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of the social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.”
Furthermore, the Virginia Humanities Grant Program sees the Humanities as the following:
The humanities are the stories, ideas, and words that help us understand our lives and the experience of being human. They introduce us to people we have never met and take us to places we have never been. From an academic standpoint, the humanities include the study of history, philosophy, religion, language, literature, art, and culture. By showing us how others have lived and thought about life, the humanities help us better understand people whose lived experiences are different from our own. By connecting us with other people, the humanities foster the empathy, compassion, and understanding that is necessary to build a more just and equitable world. Put simply, the humanities are anything that helps us understand and interpret the human experience.
Can I apply for funding as an individual?
No. Only incorporated non-profit organizations are eligible to apply.
Must the sponsoring non-profit organization have 501(c)3 status?
No, but it must be an incorporated non-profit.
Does the non-profit organization have to be located in Virginia?
No. Non-profit organizations located outside of Virginia are eligible to apply if their project deals with a subject or subjects directly related to Virginia and a significant audience within the state is anticipated
What is Cost Share?
All Virginia Humanities grants must be matched with at least an equal amount of Cost Share, which can be in the form of cash or in-kind contributions from non-federal sources. Sources and amounts of anticipated Cost Share should be indicated at the time of the proposal.
- Cash cost share is any monetary donation to the project, usually from “outside” or third-party sources (another grant, for example).
- In-kind cost share is any other contribution, including but not limited to un-reimbursed travel, volunteer time, facilities use, and staff salaries not paid by the grant.
Who is considered a “humanities scholar”?
The term “humanities scholar” may include:
- Teaching or research college faculty
- Local historians or independent scholars who have a strong record of scholarship
- Professional museum curators
- Librarians, writers, and others whose work is strongly grounded in the humanities
- Persons representing various cultural traditions—a Native American tribal chief, for example—if they are recognized as spokespersons for their traditions.
Can I submit an application to Regular and Rapid grant cycles at the same time?
No. We ask that you choose one or the other grant opportunity and not apply to both.
Can I submit a grant application if my organization received a grant in the previous cycle?
Applicants may not apply to an opportunity (Rapid or Regular) if they were awarded a grant in the cycle immediately prior to the current cycle.
How are applications evaluated?
Applications are reviewed and scored by a panel of humanities professionals, including past Virginia Humanities grantees. Applications are judged on the following criteria:
Use of and contribution to the Humanities
Overall prospects for success
Project is public facing and audience-centered
Impact and Evaluation
To review the complete rubric, Click Here
Do you have sample applications I can read?
Yes. We provide a rotating selection of awarded grant applications available for reference. The following are examples of Rapid Grant applications: Virginia Beach Arts Center with Aware 2022 and The Feather Project; Virginia Commonwealth University Foundation with Building an Environmental Humanities Hub at the Humanities Research Center. The following is an example of a Regular Grant application: Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center with Voices Strong, Voices True: Our Untold Stories.
How will I be notified of your decision?
You will receive an email from grants staff, originating from the GLM system notifying you of the decision as close to the decision date as is possible.
Do Virginia Humanities grants support arts-related projects?
Virginia Humanities Grants support arts projects which serve to interpret creative or performing arts activities, or performances which explicitly treat humanities themes. For example, a grant from VH could provide funding for a public discussion about the local history depicted in the creation of a community mural, but not for the creation of the mural itself; a grant from VH could pay for the public interpretation of music being presented in a concert, but not for the production of the concert. Our grants support production of documentary films examining humanities themes, but they do not support production of fiction films.
Are Tribal Nations eligible for grants?
Tribal nations recognized by the State of Virginia and/or the United States federal government are eligible and encouraged to apply for Virginia Humanities grant programs. Groups seeking funding that identify themselves as tribes/nations but are not recognized by the state or federal government are not eligible unless they apply in partnership with an eligible fiscal sponsor (incorporated nonprofit).
Virginia Humanities acknowledges the following nations as recognized by the State of Virginia: Cheroenhaka Nottoway, Chickahominy, Chickahominy Indians Eastern Division, Mattaponi, Monacan, Nansemond, Nottoway, Pamunkey, Patawomeck, Rappahannock, and Upper Mattaponi.
Am I eligible to apply if I have an open grant from Virginia Humanities?
No. You must complete your grant activity and submit the final report from any past Virginia Humanities grant before applying for a new grant.