The Grant Application
Step 1: Take the time to familiarize yourself with the grant guidelines and plan well.
- Perhaps the most important component for successful public humanities projects is the amount of time set aside for planning. Time often makes the difference between a high quality, fundable project and one that simply doesn’t meet funding requirements. Because Ohio Humanities requires completed proposals months before projects are scheduled to begin, planning ahead is crucial for all grant applicants.
Download the complete Application Form
Download the detailed Budget Form
Download the Project Narrative Worksheet
Part 1: Determine Eligibility.
- Applicants should consider these six questions to determine their project’s eligibility.
Question 1: Does your project have a humanities focus?
Question 2: Does your project make use of a humanities professional?
Question 3: Does your project have public benefit?
Question 4: Does your project present a balanced viewpoint?
Question 5: Do you represent or is your project sponsored by a non-profit organization?
Question 6: Does your organization have an open grant with Ohio Humanities?
Part 2: Become familiar with funding principles.
- Applicants should read the section on funding principles following the project eligibility questions. This section explains cost-share requirements and denotes the ways in which eligible grant recipients may use Ohio Humanities funding.
Step 2: Identify the proper grant line and deadlines:
- Contact Ohio Humanities staff: All applicants, and especially first-time grantwriters, are encouraged to contact Ohio Humanities staff for assistance during the application process. Ohio Humanities program officers are happy to answer questions, discuss project ideas, suggest appropriate humanities professionals, and review drafts of grant proposals. The staff aims to encourage the best proposals possible.
- Identify the proper grant line and relevant guidelines. Information about the various grant lines and deadlines is available here.
- Develop a work plan. Applicants should plan to develop a timetable for key project activities from the beginning of the grant period through completion.
- Ohio Humanities funds cannot be used to support activities prior to the start of the grant period.
- As much as possible, set the dates, times, and locations for the project activities and confirm the participation of key project personnel before submitting the finalized proposal for consideration.
Step 3: Fill out Grant Application Form.
- Download the grant application form.
- Refer to instructions for completing the grant application form.
- For the online application click here.
Step 4: Answer the project narrative questions.
Applicants should construct the project narrative by answering the following seven questions. Be as concise and direct as possible, while providing all essential information. Make sure to download the Project Narrative Worksheet.
- What do you plan to do?
- How do the humanities inform this project?
- Who are the humanities professionals and what are their roles on this project?
- How will you publicize the project?
- Who is the intended audience?
- What are the goals and outcomes of the project and how will it be evaluated?
- Who is the sponsoring organization?
Step 5: How are funding decisions made?
Applicants should understand that meeting the basic criteria do not guarantee funding. The application process is competitive. Grant awards are made to the strongest applicants. Ohio Humanities carefully considers all project components, including whether the project format appears likely to effectively reach the intended audience.
- In an effort to fund as many exemplary projects as possible, Ohio Humanities exercises several options when considering proposals – to fund at the full level requested, to fund at a reduced amount, to fund with specific conditions, or not to fund. Regardless of the funding decision, Ohio Humanities will send a letter to the project’s sponsoring organization. If the proposal is approved, the letter will explain the terms and conditions for the award as well as the process for requesting funds. All conditions must be met before the date specified in the notification letter or the funding offer will be withdrawn. Proposals that are declined for funding will receive a notification letter detailing the reasons for the decision.
For Paper Application Instructions:
A complete Ohio Humanities grant proposal consists of:
- Application Form including budget summary and with ALL required inked signatures. Please see the grant application form instructions for further detail.
- Budget Detail and Justification for the overall project
- The detailed budget should show how the project expenses were determined. Each budget request should include a short note identifying how the funds will be used. These categories function to help you anticipate and account for common project costs.
- Keep in mind, Ohio Humanities considers the cost-effectiveness of projects when making its funding decisions. Ohio Humanities is unlikely to fund projects that have unrealistic or excessive budgets.
- On the detailed budget, explain what rates were used to arrive at the total figure. On the budget summary, you should make reference to the relevant portion of the detailed budget. For example: Detailed Budget should read “Project Bookkeeper: Jim Smith, 20 hrs @ $12/hr”; the budget summary computation should read: “see Detailed Budget line 12.” The detailed budget should include a line for all expected expenses.
Project Narrative Questions: On attached separate pages, please answer the following questions. Proposals should use the numbered headings at the start of each section. Applicants must address each component. The questions should guide the development of the narrative, though some questions may be more relevant to some projects than others.
What do you plan to do?
- Provide a detailed description of your project. It should focus on the activities that will be supported by Ohio Humanities funds. Provide exact information about what will take place, where, and when. As much as possible, describe who will perform the activities. Identify the resources necessary to make the project happen.
- Ohio Humanities recommends that as much as possible all key project personnel should be confirmed at the time of application.
How do the humanities inform this project?
- Identify the humanities disciplines that are relevant to your project. What questions or issues will the project address? Why are these questions or issues significant at this moment? What will the participants learn, experience, or gain as a result of your project? Be specific. Give examples.
Who are the humanities professionals and what are their roles on the project?
- Please include a one-paragraph biography that emphasizes the humanities professional’s relevant skills and knowledge for this project. What are their specific roles in the project? Be specific.
How will you publicize the project?
- How will you let people know about your project? If you plan to use social media, please identify the tools you plan to use (Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.) and your current reach (followers, likes, # of email addresses). If you plan to utilize newspapers, television, or radio, please identify the specific broadcasters and publications. Provide an outline and timeline for your publicity
Who is the intended audience?
- If it is a public event, how many people are likely to attend? If your organization has an established constituency, how will this attract new audiences?
- Programs sponsored by college and universities must make a concerted and detailed effort to draw an audience that extends beyond the higher education environment.
What are the goals and outcomes of the project and how will it be evaluated?
- How will this project enhance your community’s appreciation and/or knowledge of the humanities? Internally, how will your organization decide whether this project is a success? What metrics will the organization use to evaluate the project? Please be specific. Who are your evaluators?
- Projects above $2,001 must have an outside evaluator. An external evaluator is a person who is able to judge the success of a project in reaching its stated goals. The evaluator should not be connected to the project in another way.
Who is the sponsoring organization?
- Give a brief description of your organization. When was the organization founded? How does this project fit with the goals and usual activities of your organization? How is your organization qualified to carry out the project?
Please note: If your proposal fits within one of the special grant programs, be sure to read those specific guidelines carefully and to include any additional questions. This section is the heart of your grant proposal. You are making a case for funding your project.
- Carefully read the guidelines for the grant you wish to apply for and establish a timeline that best suits your project.
- Involve humanities professionals as well as representatives of your intended audience in planning the design and implementation of your project.
- Develop clear goals, appealing activities or products, a reasonable budget, effective publicity strategies, and solid evaluation procedures for your project.
Project narrative format:
- Limit your narrative to 6 typed single-spaced pages, using 8 ½ by 11-inch white paper. Number all pages.
- Be sure to use a standard font and 1-inch margins. Ohio Humanities will not review any proposals with small type and margins.
- Remember that in an open competition, presentations counts. Proofread everything, and double-check your math calculations. Break up the text into cohesive paragraphs with relevant headings or signposts. Present your project narrative in a clear and concise manner. For instance, use bullet points to highlight goals or project activities.
- Required Attachments:
- A list of the organization’s board members along with their positions and business addresses.
- Complete contact information (physical addresses, email, and phone) for all key project personnel, including scholars involved in the project.
- A list of each venue for public activities with addresses.
- A confirmed schedule of events including venues with addresses.
- Project work plan.
- Appendixes – The following is a non-exhaustive list of possible appendixes
- Scripts or script treatments for media production projects.
- Exhibition scripts or narratives.
- Letters of support.
Grant Application Form Instructions:
- Project Title: A succinct description of the topic of your project.
- Project Dates: Pay close attention to the required time frame for each grant type. Please note that project dates should include any time during which you might spend grant funds. Project dates are not to be confused with event dates, or the days on which your project is open to the public. The end date should allow enough time to gather project information for the final report and complete the allocation of grant funds.
- Project Summary: A very short summation of your project and its humanities content. (50 word max).
- Sponsoring Organization: The nonprofit organization which receives the Ohio Humanities grant is the official grantee and is accountable for meeting all grant responsibilities.
- Authorizing Official: The authorizing official is the representative of the sponsoring organization who has the authority to submit the grant application on the organization’s behalf. This person is in charge of making sure all grant responsibilities are met on time and must review and sign all grant paperwork – including the application, compliance certification, grant agreement, financial forms, and final report.
- Project Director: The project director is responsible for coordinating the project, serving as the liaison with Ohio Humanities staff, and preparing interim and final reports. This position may be filled by the authorizing official.
- Project Bookkeeper: The project bookkeeper is responsible for receiving, disbursing, and accounting for all grant and cost-share funds. The project bookkeeper should be experienced in standard accounting procedures. Ohio Humanities requires that a suitably qualified entity – such as a 501(c)(3) organization, an individual accountant, board treasurer, or a CPA firm – maintain the financial records for projects.
- The project bookkeeper may not be the authorizing official or project director. Partners, spouses, or family members of the project director may not serve as the authorizing official or project bookkeeper.
- Project’s Intended Audience: Identify the core audience for the program and provide an estimate for the size of the audience.
- Location of the Project Activities: Provide information about any sites that are different than the location of the sponsoring organization.
- Federal and State Representatives: Please provide the name and district of your representative to the United States House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives.
- Project Budget Summary: Complete #12 Project Budget before filling in this information.
- Identify Outside Sources: Please provide a list of any other outside sources of support (such as grants or cash gifts). Please note the amount and whether it is a confirmed contribution.
- Project Description: A short description of the details of your project. Who is involved? When will it occur? Where will it occur? Who is the audience? Please include all individual events related to the project. (200 words).
- Compliance Questions and Signatures: By signing and submitting this grant proposal, the authorizing official of the sponsoring organization is providing the applicable certifications regarding debarment, suspension, and compliance with the nondiscrimination statutes.
- Project Budget: Please build a detailed budget in a commercial spreadsheet program. Following completion of the detailed budget, please provided a summary version on the project budget page.
What are the responsibilities of an Ohio Humanities grant recipient?
The sponsoring organization of funded projects – also referred to as the grantee or grant recipient – must fulfill several obligations. The grantee must carry out the funded project as described in the approved grant proposal. Ohio Humanities staff must approve any changes in advance.
The grantee, or a qualified entity contracted by the grantee, must maintain financial records and accounts consistent with accepted accounting principles. Grantees are responsible for disbursing grant funds and demonstrating adequate cost-share as approved by Ohio Humanities. The grantee will submit a final report to Ohio Humanities within 90 days of the end of the grant period, and all records should be kept for three years after the grant is closed.
Ohio Humanities requires that grantees inform their federal and state legislators of their awarded grant. Grantees must also acknowledge Ohio Humanities support verbally at all project events and in writing on all materials publicizing or resulting from grant activities.
Finally, all grantees must remain in compliance with the federal nondiscrimination statues and regulations regarding federal debt, debarment, and suspension.
The Ohio Humanities is required to seek from institutional applicants certification regarding the nondiscrimination statutes and certification regarding debarment and suspension. By signing and submitting the grant proposal, the authorizing official of the sponsoring institution provides the applicable certifications. The certifications are the material representations on which reliance will be placed when Ohio Humanities determines to fund the application. If it is later determined that the applicant knowingly provided an erroneous certification, the National Endowment for the Humanities may pursue available remedies including suspension and/or debarment in addition to other repercussive actions available to the federal government.
Certification Regarding the Nondiscrimination Statutes:
a) Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), which provides that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity for which the applicant received federal financial assistance;
b) Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance;
c) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (23 U.S.C. 794) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of handicap in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance;
d) the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended (42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance, except that actions which reasonably take age into account as a factor necessary for the normal operation or achievement of any statutory objective of the project or activity shall not violate this statute;
Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion – Lower Tier Covered Transactions (45CFR 1169):
The applicant certifies that it and its principals
a) are not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from covered transactions by any federal department or agency;
b) have not within a three-year period preceding this proposal been convicted of or had a civil judgment rendered against them for commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain, or performing a public (federal, state, or local) transaction or contract under a public transaction; violation of federal or state antitrust statues or commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property;
c) are not presently indicted for or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity (federal, state, or local) with commission of any of the offenses enumerated in paragraph b of this certification; and
d) are not within a three-year period preceding this application/proposal had one or more public transactions (federal, state, or local) terminated for cause of default.
Certification Regarding Federal Debt Status (OMB Circular A-129): The applicant certifies to the best of its knowledge and belief that it is not delinquent in the repayment of any federal debt.
Please note: Sponsoring organizations whose projects relate to American Indian, Aleut, Eskimo, or Native Hawaiian peoples will also need to sign a Code of Ethics statement. Sponsoring organizations whose projects involve professional performers will also need to comply with U.S. Department of Labor’s Labor Standards 5(i) and Section 7(g) of the National Foundation of the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, as amended. These documents can be obtained from the Ohio Humanities office.
Download the complete Application Form
Download the detailed Budget Form