Reading & Discussion Grant

Reading & Discussion series—several sessions facilitated by a humanities scholar focused on a theme or issue, explored through books or other written texts that participants read in advance—take place in public venues, such as libraries and community centers. These series bring together community members and humanities scholars for discussion, learning, and enjoyment. With Reading & Discussion series, Mass Humanities seeks to foster critical thinking, promote understanding of our varied cultural heritage, and provide occasions to engage actively in thoughtful public discourse about matters of public importance and/or individual development.

In general, Mass Humanities prioritizes funding projects that respond to our current thematic initiative Negotiating the Social Contract and projects that engage those whose contact with public humanities programming is limited (see our Engaging New Audiences initiative).

Applicants who wish to modify a Reading & Discussion project into something that does not fit these guidelines may want to apply for an Open Discussion grant instead. Please contact Abbye Meyer if you have questions.

Essentials for Applicants

  • All nonprofit and government organizations that serve Massachusetts residents are eligible to apply.
  • Humanities scholar-facilitator must be confirmed at the time of application.
  • Applicants may request a maximum of $2,000 or $2,500 (see Reading & Discussion guidelines for maximum amount eligibility).
  • Applicants ensure a minimum of 20 participants.
  • Download and read the Reading & Discussion guidelines (pdf) before submitting an application. Full instructions on how to apply online can be found in the guidelines.


  • Discussion Grants deadlines are four times a year and notification is within three weeks of submission. See Discussion Grants deadline chart for specific dates.
  • LOI forms must be submitted online at least two weeks before the application deadline. You may contact Mass Humanities staff or submit an LOI form online at any time.
  • Submit your online LOI form at least ten weeks ahead of your intended start date, so that you can submit your online application at least eight weeks ahead of your intended start date.
  • For guidance in scheduling a discussion project, please see our Discussion Grant Coordinator’s Guide (pdf).

Grant Publicity Requirements, click here.