How to get started:
First, read our Grants Guidelines.
If you have questions, you can contact a Mass Humanities Program Officer (PO) at any stage of project development. Whether you’re just trying out an idea, working on the final steps of your budget, or putting your funded project in motion, POs can help you:
- Find the best type of grant for your project.
- Find humanities scholars who fit your project’s needs.
- Provide feedback on application drafts, budgets, and proposed scholars.
- Suggest strategies for outreach and program design.
- Connect you to additional resources.
- Troubleshoot changes to your project plans.
Jennifer Hall-Witt 413-584-8440 ext. 102
Katherine Stevens 413-584-8440 ext. 101
Once you’re ready to apply, the process has four parts:
- Choose the sponsoring organization
- Get your federal numbers and registration
- Start your online application
- Complete the application stages required for your grant
1. Choose the sponsoring organization
Sponsoring organizations apply for the grant and receive and disburse the grant funds. If your organization is fulfilling those responsibilities and carrying out the grant work, it’s simple: your organization is the sponsoring organization.
- Fiscal Sponsors: If you are using a fiscal sponsor, your fiscal sponsor is the sponsoring organization.
- Partnerships: If your project involves a significant partnership or collaboration, you must choose one organization to serve as the sponsoring organization.
2. Get your federal numbers and registration
IRS Employer/Tax Identification Number (EIN/TIN): This is a 9-digit number that the Internal Revenue Service uses to identify businesses located in the United States or U.S. Territories.
DUNS Number: The federal government uses DUNS (Data Universal Number System) to learn who is receiving federal funds. Most large organizations have one. If you’re not sure that your sponsoring organization has one, visit the Dun & Bradstreet website to register or search for the number: https://www.dnb.com/duns-number.html
SAM Registration (Project Grants only): In addition to having IRS and DUNS numbers, sponsoring organizations that receive funds for Project Grants (including films) need to be registered in SAM (System for Award Management). Your sponsoring organization does not need to be registered in SAM at the beginning of your grant application process, but it does need to be registered to receive funding. Two tips:
- Registering can take a few weeks, so get started as soon as possible.
- Registering with SAM is free at https://www.sam.gov/. Registration has to be renewed annually. Check to make sure your organization is up to date.
3. Start Your Online Application
If your sponsoring organization doesn’t have an account, go to the online grant application and select “Create New Account.” You’ll need to provide the following information:
- Name and IRS Employer Identification Number of the sponsoring organization
- Address and phone number of the sponsoring organization
- Name, address, phone, and email address of the person completing the application.
Note: the email address and password you are asked to enter will be your account login. Write them down for future reference.
If your sponsoring organization already has an account in our online application system, make sure the contact information is up to date. If you have questions about the online application contact a Mass Humanities Program Officer.
4. Complete the application stages required for your grant type:
Applications for these three types of grants are reviewed monthly, October – June, with the exception of November and December.
- Reading Frederick Douglass Together
- Research Inventory
- Scholar in Residence
1. Application: When you log into your online account, go to the “Apply” page and select the correct grant type. An “Application” page will open. Work on answering the questions. You can save your responses and complete the form over a few sittings. See the Application Checklist in our Grant Guidelines to make sure you’ve uploaded all the necessary forms. When you’re done, click the “Submit Form” button.
You can submit an application at any time. Staff will review submitted applications starting on the 1st of the next open month. You will be notified by the end of that month
If you’re not awarded a grant, you are welcome to revise your application and resubmit for the next open month.
Project and Discussion Grants
These grants have three stages:
- Letter of Inquiry (LOI)
- Draft (required for Project Grants, optional for Discussion Grants)
- Final Application
See deadline for these stages here.
1. LOI (Letter of Inquiry): On our letter of inquiry page, you answer questions about your project idea, eligibility, plans for implementation and project costs. If your project is competitive and your plan is viable, Mass Humanities staff will approve your LOI. If it’s not approved, we’re happy to provide feedback.
- LOI Online Process: When you log in to your online account, go to the “Apply” page and select the correct grant type. An “LOI” page will open. Work on answering the questions. You can save your responses and complete the form over a few sittings. When you’re done, click the “Submit Form” button.
- LOI Notification: We will let you know within 10 days of the submission deadline if your LOI has been approved or declined. If it’s approved, you will be able to open an “Application” page. A Program Officer will be assigned to work with you on your grant application.
2. Draft: Project Grant drafts are required. Mass Humanities Program Officers review draft applications and give feedback. Discussion Grant drafts are not required, but applicants are welcome to ask for feedback as they work on their applications.
- Draft Online Process: When you log in to your online account, go to “Edit Application.” Answer the questions marked “[DR]” for draft. You can save your responses and work on the form over a few sittings. Do not press “submit” for draft applications. Notify your program officer when your draft is ready, on or before the draft deadline.
- Draft Notification: For Project Grant drafts, we will send you feedback on your answers within 10 days of the draft due date.
3. Final Application: Your final application is due by 11:59 PM on the final application due date. See the Application Checklist in our Grant Guidelines to make sure you’ve uploaded all of the necessary forms.
- Final Application Online Process: Make sure you’ve answered all of the questions marked with a *. Double check your forms and press “Submit.” As always, leave time to troubleshoot technical glitches. Call your Program Officer if you run into problems.
- Final Application Notification: Project Grant applicants are typically notified 6 weeks after the final submission deadline. Discussion Grant applicants are typically notified 3-4 weeks after the final submission deadline.