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Grants

Mass Humanities Grants

Communities around Massachusetts have important stories to tell and vital issues to discuss. Mass Humanities funds the development of thought-provoking public humanities projects for Massachusetts audiences, bringing people together to explore the history, culture, values and beliefs that matter to communities in our state.

The primary goals of our grants program are to:

Expand Massachusetts stories: We believe in promoting an equitable and inclusive society that recognizes all people’s perspectives, especially those that have been marginalized and underrepresented. Our grants support projects that seek, find, and share the stories of Massachusetts, particularly those that have been excluded from public conversation.

Elevate community leadership: We believe the people of Massachusetts can thrive only when the humanities are accessible to all residents. Our grants support projects and organizations that transform the leadership of the public humanities field in Massachusetts to reflect the backgrounds and aspirations of our communities.

Ensure the humanities are part of the Bay State’s social fabric: We believe in being innovative, responsive co-creators and partners. We create grant programs that respond to the challenges faced by small nonprofits in times of instability and change.

Mass Humanities grants are made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mass Cultural Council, and the generosity of our donors.

See what we’ve been supporting:

Staffing the Humanities Grants

Up to $20,000

Staffing the Humanities Grants

A grant to support humanities program staff costs for past Mass Humanities grantees with annual operating expenses between $50,000 and $350,000 and with five or fewer Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE).

Eligibility:

501(c)(3) nonprofits or fiscally-sponsored museum, historical society or community cultural organization with humanities programs, state or federally recognized tribe, with operating budgets between $50,000 and $350,000 and with five or fewer Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE).

Timeline

February 7, 2022  – Application opens in online grant portal

February 16, 2022  – Application Workshop (Webinar)

April 4, 2022  – Deadline to submit applications

June 2022  – Award Notifications

Apply Now

Expand Massachusetts Stories

Up to $20,000

Expand Massachusetts Stories grants support projects that collect, interpret and/or share narratives about the commonwealth, with an emphasis on the voices and experiences that have gone unrecognized, or have been excluded from public conversation.

Project Formats

Potential projects may include

Oral histories

Community-centered museum exhibitions

Facilitated discussions about underrepresented aspects of local histories

Exhibits and programs focused on new interpretations of collections

Short documentary or digital media projects that present new insights into the lives of Massachusetts residents past or present

Teacher professional development focused on connecting Massachusetts narratives to K-12 curriculum.

Programs that use inquiry, contextualization, and/or reflection to support residents in recording and exploring their lived experiences.

Eligibility

501(c)(3) non-profits, fiscally-sponsored associations or filmmakers, state or federally recognized tribes, or non-federal government organizations are welcome to apply. For more details read the grant guidelines.

Timeline

February 7, 2022, 9am – Letter of Inquiries open

April 11, 2002, 11:59pm – Deadline to submit letters of inquiry

May 2, 2022– Applicant selection notification

July 11, 2022, 11:59pm – Deadline to submit final application

September 19, 2022 – Award notifications

Estimated number of grants awarded

10-15

Apply Now

Expand Massachusetts Stories Grants – Advancing Equity Track

Up to $20,000

Applicants for Expand Massachusetts Stories Grants whose projects are led by people from historically excluded communities, and whose organizations meet additional criteria, can apply to participate in the Advancing Equity Track.

Applicants in the track will have their projects pre-recommended for funding approval when they work with a Mass Humanities program officer and humanities experts provided by Mass Humanities to prepare their application.

Track Eligibility

At the LOI stage, applicants can demonstrate eligibility for the track by showing that:

The project has leadership roles for people of color or other communities historically excluded from humanities leadership.

AND

The organization meets 2 of 4 criteria

  1. The applicant organization has an annual operating budget of $300,000 or less.
  2. The applicant organization has 2 or fewer full time equivalent staff.
  3. The applicant organization has never received a grant from Mass Humanities.
  4. The applicant organization is based-in and primarily supports communities of color.

Mass Humanities will select 10-15 organizations into the Advancing Equity Track

Timeline

Advancing Equity Track applications have the same major deadlines as Expand Massachusetts Stories Grants.

February 7, 2022, 9am – Letter of Inquiries open

April 11, 2002, 11:59pm – Deadline to submit letters of inquiry

May 2, 2022– Applicant selection notification

July 11, 2022, 11:59pm – Deadline to submit final application

September 19, 2022 – Award notifications

Estimated number of grants awarded:

10-15

Apply Now

Reading Frederick Douglass Together Grants

Up to $1,200

Reading Frederick Douglass Together Grants support public readings and discussions in Massachusetts of Frederick Douglass’s famous Fourth of July address, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” A group of people take turns reading parts of the speech until they have completed it. Readings can take place anywhere, from virtual spaces to community centers to historical societies and town greens.

Eligibility:

All nonprofit, educational institutions, government organizations, or state or federally recognized tribes that serve Massachusetts residents are eligible to apply.

Ad-hoc groups must find an eligible organization to be their fiscal sponsor. Fiscal sponsors are non-profit organizations that manage the grant funds and have signed fiscal sponsor agreements with the group that will host the reading.

Timeline:

Grant applications will open January 24th, 2022

Grants are awarded on every 4-5 weeks (see guidelines for details)

Apply Now

Bridge Street Sponsorships

Up to $1,500

BRIDGE STREET SPONSORSHIPS: Bridge Street sponsorships fund free online programs hosted by Massachusetts historical societies, centers, museums, or historic sites, helping these institutions recover lost income, and enabling free access to the humanities.

Eligibility:

All nonprofit historical societies, history museums, and historic sites focused on history interpretation are eligible to apply.

Timeline:

Applications open January 24, 2022

Grants are awarded on every 4-5 weeks (see guidelines for details)

Estimated number of grants awarded

30-40

Apply Now

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