What is the Mass Humanities grants program?

Mass Humanities grants support programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines, primarily to deepen public understanding of current social, political, and economic issues, thereby enhancing and improving civic life.

Mass Humanities welcomes proposals on any topic of broad interest so long as one or more of the humanities disciplines is central to the project. Mass Humanities prioritizes funding projects that engage those with limited access to humanities programming (Engaging New Audiences) and projects that respond to our current theme, Negotiating the Social Contract.

What does the grants program do?

The Grants Program seeks to support nonprofit organizations, primarily in Massachusetts, in creating and offering quality public humanities programming in all formats, supported by scholars and current scholarship in the humanities.

Our staff members assist applicants in project design, planning, and grant writing. Mass Humanities encourages collaborations between organizations, imaginative interdisciplinary approaches, effective outreach, engagement of audiences currently less well served by public humanities programming, and programs that take up pressing issues in any given community.

One of the major goals of the grants program is to help build capacity in small nonprofits and other small organizations (such as libraries, town offices, and small public programs at institutions of higher learning).

Who can get a grant?

Nonprofit and government organizations that serve Massachusetts residents are eligible to apply. Through the various types of grants, we work primarily with small- and medium-sized nonprofits, historical organizations, libraries, and community organizations. Our grant types are designed to serve a variety of purposes and organizations.

What kinds of grants does Mass Humanities offer?

Each type of grant has its own goals and guidelines. Read these closely and also consider how your work fits within our current grant initiatives and priorities. We provide lists of what we do and do not fund for easy reference. To get a sense of some of the specific programming we have supported, we suggest looking through the Past Grants Awarded section.

Project Grants

Our standard grant supports public humanities programming in almost all formats, including lectures, reading-and-discussion series, exhibits, walking tours, film pre-production and distribution projects, teacher education projects, and out-of-school humanities enrichment programs. The maximum award is $7,500, though film projects, as well as projects that meet thematic incentives, carry maximums of $15,000. There are three deadlines each year. DETAILS

Discussion Grants

Discussion Grants support projects that include face-to-face conversations about in-depth humanities topics. Discussion grants may take many forms and may be used to host a number of discussion-based programs. The maximum award is $3,000, though projects that meet thematic incentives carry maximums of $3,500. There are three deadlines each year. DETAILS

Local History Grants

Mass Humanities offers two Local History Grants to support small organizations in working with their historical collections. Massachusetts towns and historical societies have significant collections in which they collectively archive the history of the people of the Commonwealth. The Research Inventory Grant has a maximum of $2,000, and the Scholar in Residence Grant has a maximum of $3,500. There are three deadlines each year. DETAILS

How do I apply for a grant?

All grant applications are submitted online. Visit our page on how to apply for detailed information and careful instructions.

Who funds the grant program?

The National Endowment for the Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and private donors. Donate to the grant fund today.