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.

Who can get a grant?

In general, Mass Humanities only provides grants to nonprofit organizations with a few minor variations based on grant type. Through the various types of grants, we work primarily with small-to medium-sized non-profits, historical organizations, libraries, and community organizations. Our grant types are designed to serve a variety of purposes and organizations.

  • Our Project Grants are awarded to any nonprofit that brings public programming in the humanities to Massachusetts audiences. Project Grants for media projects are awarded to filmmakers via a nonprofit.
  • Discussion Grants are awarded to any nonprofit for that brings public programming in the humanities that includes facilitated discussion to Massachusetts audiences.
  • Our local history grants are designed for historical organizations with a record of public programming. The Research Inventory Grant, which funds inventorying designed to support future programming, and the Scholar in Residence Grant, which funds scholarly research into an organization’s materials or mission.
  • The Public Squared Challenge Grant is awarded to any nonprofit for that brings public programming in the humanities to Massachusetts audiences in close collaboration with at least one other, that together create face-to-face programming that engages Massachusetts audiences that are underserved by humanities programming.

What does the grants program do?

The grant 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 program officers assist applicants in program 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 grant writing and project development to serve the public with humanities programming, in small-to medium-sized non-profits and other small organizations (such as libraries, town offices, and small public programs at institutions of higher learning).

Where do I learn more about getting a grant?

First, determine which grant best suits your work. See the “Who can get a grant?” question above, or visit our grants overview page. Each grant has its own guidelines. Read these closely and also consider how your work fits within our current grant initiatives and priorities. We provide a list of ineligible projects for easy reference. To get a sense of some of the specific programming we have supported, we suggest a scroll through the Grants Awarded section.

How do I apply for a grant?

All grant applications are made online. Each grant has specifications about how to apply, including steps for you to follow and information about deadlines. Visit our grants overview page and select your grant of interest for information about the application process.

Who funds the grant program?

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