American Rescue Plan Humanities Grant Guidelines
American Rescue Plan Humanities Grants offer support for humanities organizations and humanities-based projects to help Iowa’s humanities sector respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Funding for the American Rescue Plan Humanities Grant is made possible by an appropriation from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency, to the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The program is administered by the Iowa Arts Council on behalf of the department. Applicants must adhere to the funding policies of the Iowa Arts Council and federal government through 2 CFR Part 200.
October 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. for the funding period of July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022
Applicants will be notified of funding decisions via email by November 1, 2021
Final Report Deadline
Grant recipients are required to complete a final report by August 1, 2022
Grant Request Amount
Humanities organizations that have the humanities as central to their mission may request funding for either jobs OR eligible one-time humanities project expenses that are incurred and expended within the eligible funding period.
Non-humanities organizations that have a non-humanities core mission but that manage related, ongoing humanities program(s) may only apply for eligible one-time humanities-related project expenses that are incurred and expended within the eligible funding period.
- Minimum Grant Request: $2,500
- Maximum Grant Request: $20,000
All project activities and incurred expenses must occur within the eligible funding period of July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022.
Eligible applicants must provide humanities programming to the public, have been impacted by the pandemic, and be one of the following types of entities. Entities who do not meet these requirements are not eligible to apply.
- Federally tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization incorporated and physically located in Iowa
- Physical location of the organization is defined as maintaining a current home office and registered agent address in Iowa defined by Iowa Code 490.501 as well as maintaining a primary staff presence physically located and working in Iowa
- Unit of local, county or federally-recognized tribal government physically located in Iowa
- Units within institutions of higher education that are physically located in Iowa that have the humanities as their core mission and offer public programs are eligible. However, institutions of higher education are limited to one application, from one unit, and may neither apply for nor receive grant funds for multiple units.
The following types of entities are not eligible to apply:
- For-profit corporations or businesses
- Entities using a fiscal agent or the nonprofit status of another organization
- Academic departments and non-humanities units within institutions of higher education
- Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grantees with an outstanding final report or who have been placed on a department funding moratorium
Iowa Arts Council Administered Grant Program Eligibility
- Applicants who have already received a fiscal year 2022 Iowa Arts Council administered grant are eligible to apply for an American Rescue Plan grant provided the proposed use of funds do not overlap expenses already covered by or used as match in the other grant program
- Applicants may not submit more than one application during a single grant deadline or cycle regardless of grant program
- Institutions of higher education are limited to submitting one American Rescue Plan Humanities Grant application for one humanities unit within their institution.
- Applicants may not submit applications to both the American Rescue Plan Arts Grant and the American Humanities Rescue Plan Grant.
- Institutions of higher education may submit applications to both the American Rescue Plan Arts Grant and the American Rescue Plan Humanities Grant if applying for different units that have the arts and humanities, respectively, as their core mission.
American Rescue Plan Humanities Grant Requirements
Humanities organizations may utilize funds to support jobs dedicated to the general operations and programs of the organization such as salaries or wages, full or partial, of staff position(s); or fees or stipends for humanities experts or other consultants; and/or contractual personnel for services provided. Funds may only be used for jobs involved in specific activities that support the organization’s general operations and may not be used to support a new or special project or program.
Humanities organizations and non-humanities organizations may utilize funds to support eligible one-time expenses dedicated to humanities projects that respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Types of eligible projects include:
- Humanities-based program that responds to the coronavirus pandemic
- humanities program projects need to involve a humanities expert. This could be someone with an advanced degree in a humanities discipline or someone who is otherwise well-qualified to bring a humanities perspective to a project, such as a historian, library or museum professional, culture bearer, or individual who is an acknowledged cultural expert within their community.
- Strategic planning and capacity building for the organization
- Digital transition or in support of preservation and access programs
- Expansion of outdoor and virtual humanities programming and activities
- Equity assessments and planning related to the coronavirus and the economic crisis
All project activities must have a clear beginning and end date within the eligible funding period.
The following types or activities and projects are not eligible for the grant program:
- Competitive regranting
- Capital projects including construction, purchase of real property, major alteration and renovation
- Environmental sustainability
- Collections acquisition
- Preservation, organization, or description of materials that are not regularly accessible for research, education, or public programming
- Promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view
- Advocacy of a particular program of social or political action
- Support of specific public policies or legislation
- Projects that fall outside of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, autobiographies, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and quantitative social science research or policy studies)
- Fundraiser or benefit event
- Scholarships and fellowships
- Projects that occur prior to or after the funding period
American Rescue Plan Humanities Grants can either support job expenses or one-time, direct project expenses that are essential to the completion of the proposed humanities project.
No matching funds are required for this program.
Eligible Grant Request - Job Support
Eligible job support grant requests include costs such as:
- salaries or wages for one or more jobs, including hiring or rehiring new or existing positions that are dedicated to the general operations and humanities programs of the organization;
- Institutions of higher education are only eligible to apply to support jobs whose main function is providing or supporting public programming. Funds cannot be used to support academic positions.
- fees/stipends for contract personnel, including humanities experts, for services provided that are dedicated to the ongoing operations or humanities programs of the organization within the eligible funding period.
- The services must be part of the organization’s regular, day-to-day work and cannot be for a new or special project or program.
Eligible Grant Request - Humanities Project
The grant request must be a legitimate part of the proposed project and must be incurred and expended within the eligible funding period. Expenses identified in the grant request and required match should be based on competitive, current market pricing. Eligible project requests include direct, one-time project costs such as:
- Honoraria for humanities experts
- Speaker fees
- Contracted project personnel or consultants
- Marketing (e.g. print material, ad buys, design fees)
- Materials Necessary for Project
- Personnel Time Dedicated to the Project* (e.g. planning, execution, evaluation time)
- Rentals (e.g. stages, lecture spaces, projectors/screens)
- Food (only cover food costs tied to encouraging the participation of a particular audience or otherwise contribute to the program in some substantial way. Food for reception is not an eligible expense.)
*Applicant must demonstrate how personnel time is specifically dedicated to the proposed project.
Ineligible Grant Request
Expenses that fall outside of the identified eligible expenses for the job support or project support may not be included as part of the grant request. Applicants that include ineligible expenses in the grant request will be considered ineligible. Ineligible grant request expenses also include:
- Unallowable expenses as defined in 2 CFR 200 Subpart E - Cost Principles
- Overlapping costs with any other pending or approved application(s) for federal funding and/or approved federal awards
- Travel (both foreign and domestic)
- Cancellation costs
- Equipment costs in excess of 20% of total project costs or $5,000 per unit
- Budget shortfalls
- Capital expenditures
- Collection maintenance or restoration
- Deficit or debt reduction
- Expenses incurred prior to or after the funding period
- Fundraising or benefit
- Lobbying activity
- Personnel benefits
- Prizes and awards
- Property maintenance, restoration or renovation
Applications are encouraged from all applicants that meet the applicant eligibility requirements; however, priority will be placed on applications from organizations that have not received a Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) or second draw Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) funds and/or are led by and/or primarily serve populations that have historically been under-resourced by arts and cultural funding due to geography, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status as defined in the Grants Terms and Definitions.
Online Application Submission
Applicants must submit applications via the Iowa Arts Council’s SlideRoom, an online application portal. Applications will not be accepted in any other format. Late, incomplete or ineligible applications will not be accepted. Applicants can access the current online application requirements at iowa arts council.slideroom.com. Applicants must create a login to view the full application requirements for the program. Applicants can visit help.liaisonedu.com for technical assistance related to the online submission.
Department Eligibility Review
Submitted applications are reviewed by staff for completion, eligibility and adherence to published funding priorities and guidelines. Applications are reviewed as submitted. New application information or subsequent application clarification submitted after a program deadline is not considered. Staff will also review an applicant’s record of compliance and good standing with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, State and Federal government. Applications or applicants determined by staff to be ineligible or incomplete will not move forward to panel review and are specifically denied any appeals process.
Competitive Panel Review
Eligible applications will be referred to a competitive review by a volunteer citizen panel of Iowa humanities professionals with appropriate expertise commensurate to the purpose of the grant program. Applications will be scored and ranked based on the published scoring rubric. Panel ranking and recommendations are submitted to the Administrator of the Iowa Arts Council and Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs for consideration and funding approval. Applications will be awarded funding based on the ranked list, funding priorities, and available funding. All funding decisions are final and may not be appealed due to dissatisfaction. Applicants may review the department appeals policy for information on grounds for appeal and the appeal process.
Applicants will be notified of funding decisions via email by November 1, 2021. Applicants are notified of the status of their application whether they are or are not awarded funding. Applicants will be contacted if any additional information is required and are encouraged to refrain from contacting staff for application status updates until funding decisions are made.
Application Questions & Scoring Rubric
The American Rescue Plan Humanities Grant Scoring Rubric will be used by the panel to evaluate grant applications. Application questions are provided for reference only. Applicants must review and complete application requirements in the SlideRoom portal. Each section has criteria and corresponding point values to ensure a fair review process. The rubric is on a scale of 18 points.
Enter the mission statement of the organization.
Describe the public humanities programs the organization typically offers and how they help the applicant fulfill their mission and serve their target population.
APPLICANT PROFILE: 3 points possible
3 Applicant demonstrates exceptional humanities programs that clearly advances its mission and serves its target population.
2 Applicant offers humanities programs that support its mission and target population.
1 Applicant’s humanities programs are limited, unclear or do not support its mission or serve its target population.
Describe how the grant activity will help the applicant and/or its community prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from the pandemic. For humanities programming, include the topic, program format, and the name(s) of the humanities experts involved in the project and their relevant expertise. For all other activities, describe how they relate to the humanities, what activities will occur, and what experts will lead them. For job expense requests, provide a description of the need for these funds.
GRANT ACTIVITY: 3 points possible
3 The grant activity is exemplary and clearly helps the applicant and/or its community prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from the pandemic.
2 The grant activity will adequately help the applicant and/or its community prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from the pandemic.
1 The grant activity is unclear and/or does not seem to help the applicant or its community prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from the pandemic.
Grant Activity Implementation
Describe how the grant activity will be successfully realized within the eligible funding period, including:
- detailed timeline of tasks and research necessary to complete the project
- explanation of project partners outside of the humanities experts and their responsibilities
- If requesting job expenses only, describe the work the organization will be able to accomplish during the funding period that will be enabled by this funding.
GRANT ACTIVITY IMPLEMENTATION: 3 points possible
3 Confident grant activity will be successfully realized through a clear, detailed timeline of tasks. Key partner responsibilities are well-defined and enhance the project. For general operating expenses, the funding will clearly help the organization be more successful.
2 Grant activity is achievable through an identified timeline of tasks. Key partners and responsibilities are identified. For general operating expenses, the funding will help the organization.
1 Multiple concerns about grant activity achievability. Timeline of tasks is insufficient. Project partners and their responsibilities are unclear or not identified. For general operating expenses, it is unclear if the funding will help the organization be more successful.
Use of Funds
Describe how the organization will use the grant funds within the funding period, including:
- For projects - description of good(s) or service(s) to be acquired, how it was selected and relevance
- For projects - description of any additional programmatic expenses to be supported
- For job support - description of the job(s) that will be supported by the grant funds
USE OF FUNDS: 3 points possible
3 Applicant clearly identifies how the grant funds will be used.
2 Applicant provides adequate information on how the grant funds.
1 Applicant does not clearly identify how the grant funds will be used.
Identify the number of new jobs that will be created by the grant activity. Include only those jobs that will be directly supported by the grant funds.
Identify the number of jobs that will be retained by the grant activity. Include only those jobs that will be directly supported by the grant funds.
BUDGET: 3 points possible
3 Project budget and intended use of requested funds are clear and appropriate.
2 Project budget, intended use of requested funds are identified.
1 Project budget, intended use of requested funds are unclear or inadequate.
CASE FOR SUPPORT: 3 points possible
3 Case for support is exemplary and merits investment from the State.
2 Case for support is good.
1 Case for support is inadequate or does not merit state investment.
Glossary of Terms and Definitions
Applicants should refer to the glossary for clarification of program terms and definitions.
Applicants are encouraged to review all published material and contact Iowa Arts Council staff, Jennie Knoebel at 515-242-6194 or email@example.com, with questions well in advance of application deadlines.
The Iowa Arts Council is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to eligible applicants. For technical support submitting the online application, please contact the Accessibility Coordinator, Lindsay Keast at 515-281-8352 or firstname.lastname@example.org, at least two weeks in advance of application deadlines.