Discussion Grants

Discussion Grants are made for public humanities projects that center around moderated discussions—along with any other humanities-based project format.

Partly inspired by traditional Reading & Discussion series, a Discussion Grant project may be a series of events, such as a film-and-discussion series; it may be a one-time event that includes active reflecting and discussing; or it may be something different, such as the creation of an exhibit or walking tour along with a discussion. Rather than requiring reading, Discussion Grant projects allow for the exchange of thoughts, opinions, and ideas in response to almost any kind of text or event: films, talks, performances, tours, exhibits, lectures, and more.

Discussion Grants may be made to nonprofit organizations to host popular Mass Humanities programs:

Additionally, Mass Humanities prioritizes projects that engage those whose contact with humanities programming is limited (see our Engaging New Audiences initiative) and projects that respond to our newest priority, The Vote: Exploring voting rights in America.

All information needed to apply for and carry out a Discussion Grant project is available—in full detail—in the Discussion Grant Guidelines (a PDF that you may read online or download). What follows here are the essentials.

Essentials for Applicants

Eligible Applicants

  • All nonprofit and government organizations that serve Massachusetts residents are eligible to apply.

Grant Amounts

  • Organizations may request a maximum of $3,000.
  • Organizations proposing projects that meet the Engaging New Audiences and/or The Vote: Exploring voting rights in America incentives may request a maximum of $3,500.
  • Organizations must demonstrate a cash cost-share that equals or exceeds 10 percent of the MH funds requested, and the total cost-share (cash and in-kind) must equal or exceed the MH funds requested.


  • The Project Director organizes the project and completes online reporting.
  • The Project Treasurer keeps track of project income and expenses, pays bills, and is responsible for financial documentation. The Project Director and Project Treasurer must be unrelated individuals.
  • The Project Scholar has an advanced degree in a relevant humanities field, in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, and is prepared to moderate discussions.

Additional Requirements & Recommendations

  • Discussion Grant projects are generally completed within one year.
  • Mass Humanities has publicity requirements for all grant recipients.
  • Final reports and evaluations will include questions about volunteer contributions, so be sure to keep track. Grant recipients will receive forms and directions for reporting.
  • To get a sense of some of the specific projects we have supported, you may browse through the Past Grants Awarded section.

Discussion Grant Applications

  • Discussion Grant applications are accepted three times each year at these deadlines, and full instructions for applying are available are on Applying for a Grant page.
  • Question lists for both the LOI (inquiry form) and application are available in the Discussion Grant Guidelines.
  • Along with providing information about the sponsoring organization, the project personnel, and the proposed project itself, the Discussion Grant application requires the following materials (which are explained in detail in the Discussion Grant Guidelines and in the application itself):
    • A listing of events
    • A resume/CV of the Project Scholar
    • A brief statement by the Project Scholar
    • A budget request form
    • An application contract form


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