Skip Navigation

Grants

Mass Humanities Grants

Next deadline: December 16 for Project 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:

  1. Ensure the humanities are part of the Bay State’s social fabric. The humanities thrive in Massachusetts because of its incredible diversity, innovative institutions, and ingenious people. Our grants tease out that excellence, helping nonprofits reach their potential and catalyzing projects that help Massachusetts residents better understand each other, think critically, and bring the wisdom of the humanities to bear when planning for the future.
  2.  Uncover new stories and new perspectives. We believe that the humanities are for everyone, but only a limited slice of the population usually engages with humanities programs. To help change that, we prioritize funding projects that engage people with limited access to humanities programming.
  3.  Build capacity in small nonprofits and government organizations. Our grantees include community organizations, libraries, town offices, historical societies, museums, and others. Our program officers will work with you closely on project design, planning, and grant writing, helping bring your ideas to fruition.

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.

Current Grant Priorities

The Vote: Exploring voting rights in America (now closed)
Fall 2019 Project Grants and Winter 2019 Discussion Grants that explore the subject of voting rights in America from a humanities perspective are eligible for priority funding.

Engaging New Audiences
We give precedence to projects that reach communities in Massachusetts whose access to the humanities has been limited due to social, economic, educational, or geographic circumstances. The Engaging New Audiences priority is year-round.

Click here to read more about The Vote and Engaging New Audiences.

Project Grant

Up to $10,000 Up to the $15,000 for documentary films or if project meets priority

Project Grants support public humanities projects that benefit and engage Massachusetts residents. A project can take almost any form, as long as it engages audiences with the humanities and has a meaningful impact on the communities in which it takes place. Projects need to involve a collaboration with at least one humanities scholar, who works in a relevant discipline and contributes to the project.

Formats include but are not limited to:

  • Humanities-based discussions, civic conversations, and lectures
  • Documentary films (pre-production and distribution)
  • Exhibit planning, installation, and programming
  • Oral histories
  • Interactive websites and digital storytelling
  • Professional development workshops for teachers
  • Programs for K-12 youth

Eligibility:

All nonprofit, educational institutions and government organizations that serve Massachusetts residents are eligible to apply.

Timeline:

  • Letter of Inquiry Form Deadline: Sept. 9
  • Draft Deadline: Sept. 30
  • Application Deadline: Oct. 28
  • Notification: Approx. Dec. 16
  • Date Public Events May Begin: Mid-January 2020

Interested in applying later? Winter 2019 and Spring 2020 deadlines

Apply Now

Local history grant

Up to $3,500

Local History Grants support small Massachusetts organizations in working with their historical collections. We offer two kinds of Local History Grants:

  • Research Inventory Grants (maximum of $2,000) support small organizations in identifying and organizing the contents of their historical collections by creating inventories, catalogs, and finding aids, as well as digitizing collections.
  • Scholar in Residence Grants (maximum of $3,500) support small organizations in welcoming a scholar to research their historical collections, ultimately producing a paper, bibliography, and public presentation.

Eligibility:

All nonprofit, educational institutions and government organizations that serve Massachusetts residents are eligible to apply.

Timeline:

  • Grants are awarded monthly, Oct. through June, except for Nov. and Dec.
  • Application Deadline: Beginning of each month
  • Notification: Approx. end of each month
  • Date Projects May Begin: One month after notification
Apply Now

Discussion grant

Up to $3,000 Up to $3,500 if project meets priority

Discussion Grants support projects that include face-to-face conversations about humanities topics. Projects allow for the exchange of thoughts, opinions, and ideas in response to almost any kind of text or event: reading circles, films, talks, performances, tours, exhibits, lectures, and more. For example, formats can include a film-and-discussion series, a one-time event that includes active reflecting and discussing, or the creation of an exhibit or walking tour along with a discussion.

Eligibility:

All nonprofit, educational institutions and government organizations that serve Massachusetts residents are eligible to apply.

Timeline:

  • Letter of Inquiry Form Deadline: Nov. 6
  • Application Deadline: Dec. 4
  • Notification: Approx. Jan. 8, 2020
  • Date Public Events May Begin: Early Feb., 2020

Interested in applying later? Summer 2020 deadlines

Apply Now

Reading frederick douglass together grant

Up to $2,000

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 read all of it, together. Readings can take place anywhere, from community centers to historical societies to town greens.

Eligibility:

All nonprofit, educational institutions and government organizations that serve Massachusetts residents are eligible to apply.

Timeline:

  • Grants are awarded monthly, Oct. through June, except for Nov. and Dec.
  • Application Deadline: Beginning of each month
  • Notification: Approx. end of each month
  • Date Projects May Begin: One month after notification
Apply Now

Stay in touch with Mass Humanities

Sign up for our Newsletter