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Humanities Collaboration Grant Guidelines

Fiscal Year 2023 Program Guidelines

Humanities Collaboration Grants offer support for public humanities projects that encourage contemplation, spark conversation and engage the community through collaboration with another nonprofit organization, institution of higher education or school. Eligible projects will use the humanities as the central resource to involve and benefit diverse groups of Iowans through educational programming that explore the human experience.

Funding for the Humanities Collaboration 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.

Questions

Potential applicants, especially first time applicants, are encouraged to review all published material and contact Program Manager Jennie Knoebel at jennie.knoebel@iowa.gov with questions well in advance of application deadlines.

Accessibility

The Iowa Arts Council is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to eligible applicants. For application support, please contact the Accessibility Coordinator Lindsay Keast at 515-281-8352 or lindsay.keast@iowa.gov at least two weeks in advance of application deadlines.

Timeline

Fiscal Year 2023 Application Deadline
December 1, 2022 at 11:59 PM for the funding period of November 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023.

Funding Notification
Applicants will be notified of funding decisions via email by December 31, 2022.

Final Report Deadline
Grant recipients are required to complete a final report by August 1, 2023.

Funding

Grant Amount

Applicants may request funding for eligible one-time project expenses that are incurred and expended within the eligible funding period.

  • Minimum Grant Request: $2,500
  • Maximum Grant Request: $30,000

Match Requirement

Applicants are required to demonstrate investment in a project by providing 50% cash matching funds to the grant request for project expenses. For example, an applicant that requests $10,000 in grant funds must have at least $5,000 in cash match a minimum total project budget of $15,000.

Funding Period

All project activities and incurred expenses must occur within the eligible funding period of November 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023.

Applicant Requirements

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants must be one of the following types of entities and must meet all of the related requirements. Entities who do not meet these requirements are not eligible to apply.

Nonprofit

  • 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
  • Entities located in a border community may be eligible under the Border State Policy

Government

  • 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.

Ineligible Applicants

Ineligible applicants include the following types of entities.

  • Applicants who have already submitted two unfunded applications for the same project
  • For-profit corporation or business
  • Individuals
  • Entities or individuals using a fiscal agent or the nonprofit status of another organization
  • Public and private schools that serve grades pre-K through 12
  • State of Iowa government agencies (institutions of higher education are eligible to apply)
  • Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grantees who have already received a grant from the department for any part of the project
  • Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grantees with an outstanding final report or who have been placed on a department funding moratorium

Humanities Project Requirements

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects should focus on the humanities and must demonstrate public value to Iowans through deliberate public engagement and access to project activities. Types of eligible projects could include community discussions, lecture series, workshops, films, interpretive exhibits, podcasts, etc. Projects that involve the creative or performing arts could be eligible as long as they are a catalyst in a project in which humanities are central, and include interpretation and/or discussion of performances, concerts, literary and art works. A competitive project will demonstrate fresh thinking and new ideas, as opposed to regular or ongoing programming.

Humanities must be central to the project. The humanities include the study and interpretation of what makes us human. Subject areas include archaeology, comparative religion, cultural anthropology, ethics, folklore, gender studies, history, jurisprudence, languages, law, linguistics, literature (including novels, poetry, drama, and other forms of written expression, both modern and classical), philosophy, and the interpretation (not the creation) of the arts. Aspects of the social sciences, such as political science and sociology, that can help us to explore our humanity and discover meaning in our lives and community are also included.

Some project examples:

  • Interpretive exhibits and catalogs
  • Digital projects like short or full length documentary films, radio shows, and podcasts
  • Pre-performance talks or post-performance facilitated discussions that presents the historical and social context of the artform being presented and its impact on today’s culture
  • Lecture/recital programs that look at the history of the artform and show examples of that artform
  • Workshops that incorporate the history and cultural influence of an artform with training in that artform
  • Talks given by culture bearers recognized for their knowledge of the history and cultural impact of a folk or traditional artform followed by a presentation
  • Living history portrayal of a historical figure ending in discussion with a scholar
  • Community-based projects that incorporate the humanities within community development efforts
  • Public forums or conferences
  • Lecture/discussion series; honoraria and travel for speakers and presenters
  • Book/film discussion programs about humanities-related topics

All project activities must have a clear beginning and end date within the eligible funding period.

  • Applicants may only apply for support of a yearly event or series if the applicant can demonstrate how the project is unique and worthy of support within the particular year of the funding period. Project content must change from year to year.

Humanities Expert

At least one humanities scholar/expert is required to participate in the project.

Eligible projects need to involve a humanities expert. They 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. This person could be connected to the applicant or the partner organization collaborating on the project.

The humanities expert should be engaged with the project during the application process. Prior to submitting an application, the humanities expert and applicant should:

  • Discuss the project and formulate ways to strengthen the humanities aspects
  • Explore the involvement of additional experts who may offer diverse perspectives
  • Review the application to help clarify goals and methodology

During the grant project, humanities experts could:

  • Serve as a speaker, panelist, or lead a discussion
  • Offer ongoing advice and guidance
  • Review materials for authenticity and diversity of perspective
  • Assist with project evaluation

Collaboration Partners

Eligible projects must also involve working in partnership with another organization, institution of higher education, or preK-12 school on the development and implementation of project activities that are tied to a core theme and provide Iowans opportunities to deeply engage with the subject matter. Partners can be from the same town or county, or they can be more regionally or statewide based. It needs to be clear in the application that the partner will make meaningful contributions to the project activities and benefit from the project. They should not simply serve as a venue to host programming.

Ineligible Projects

Projects that fall outside of the identified types of eligible projects may not request funding through this grant program. Ineligible projects also include the following types of activities.

  • Capital projects
  • Collection maintenance or restoration
  • Construction or renovation of a property
  • Domestic travel dominant projects that primarily benefit the applicant
  • Fundraiser or benefit event
  • Lobbying activity
  • Non-humanities project
  • Ongoing projects or programming for which the identified beginning and end dates are arbitrary
  • Projects that involve domestic travel outside of Iowa must clearly demonstrate how the activities benefit Iowans and the humanities community in Iowa
  • Projects that result in an applicant’s course credit, degree or certification
  • Projects that involve research solely for scholarly purposes
  • Projects that are intended primarily for students, faculty members, or other on-campus or in-school audiences
  • Projects that occur prior to or after the funding period
  • Projects that have already received an Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grant for any part or phase of the project
  • Religious activity
  • Performance-only programming
  • Art classes focusing only on creative technique

Budget Requirements

Eligible Grant Request Expenses 

Humanities Collaboration Grants support project expenses that are essential to the completion of the proposed project. The grant request must be dedicated to eligible one-time, direct project expenses, legitimate parts of the proposed project, and must be incurred and expended within the eligible funding period. Expenses identified in the grant request should be based on competitive, current market pricing. Applicants that include ineligible expenses in the grant request will be considered ineligible.

Eligible grant request expenses include direct project costs such as:

  • Honoraria for humanities experts
  • Speaker fees
  • Contracted project personnel
  • Domestic Travel (e.g. mileage, accommodation, per diem)
  • 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)

*Applicants must demonstrate how personnel time is specifically dedicated to the proposed project. Personnel benefits are not eligible.
**Using space owned by the applicant cannot be included as a rental expense.

Ineligible Grant Request Expenses

Expenses that fall outside of the identified eligible expenses for the project 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 include:

  • Lost revenue including providing scholarships or free admission to project events
  • Museum, school or library acquisitions
  • Activity that results in an applicant’s course credit, degree or certification
  • Budget shortfalls
  • Capital expenditures, including equipment over a total of $5,000 per unit
  • Collection maintenance or restoration expenses
  • Deficit or debt reduction, including loan, line-of-credit, or mortgage payments
  • Donations or contributions to other organizations
  • Expenses incurred prior to or after the funding period
  • Food, beverage, and alcohol
  • Foreign travel
  • Fundraising or benefit activity expenses
  • Lobbying activity
  • Ongoing or operating expenses, including utilities, rent/lease, office supplies, and personnel time that is not dedicated to the project
  • Personnel benefits
  • Prizes and awards
  • Property maintenance, restoration or renovation expenses
  • Unallowable expenses for federal awards as defined in 2 CFR 200 Subpart E - Cost Principles

Match Requirement

Applicants are required to demonstrate investment in a project by providing cash matching funds in an amount that is one half (50%) the total grant amount requested from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. For example, an applicant that requests $10,000 in grant funds must have at least $5,000 in cash match for a minimum project budget of $15,000.

The required cash match must be dedicated to one-time project expenses that are legitimate parts of the proposed project. Expenses identified in the match should be based on competitive, current market pricing. Applicants will be required to identify all anticipated cash match expenses and in-kind contributions beyond the grant request in the project budget as well as the anticipated revenue sources that will cover them. The cash match does not have to be secured at the time of application but must be secured and identified in the final report at the end of the funding period.

  • Cash match is actual cash contributed to direct project expenses by the applicant or other funding sources
  • In-kind match is donated goods or services contributed to the project by the applicant or other sources
  • Funding from the state government cannot be used to meet the match requirement
  • Funding from the federal government cannot be used to meet the match requirement

Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Administered Grant Program Eligibility

  • Applicants may not submit more than one application during a single grant deadline or cycle regardless of grant program
  • Applicants may not submit more than two applications for the same project regardless of fiscal year if both applications are unfunded
  • Projects may not receive more than one Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs administered grant regardless of applicant, phase of project or fiscal year

Funding Priorities 

Applications are encouraged from all applicants that meet the applicant eligibility requirements; however, priority will be placed on applications from individuals and organizations that are led by or primarily serve populations that have historically been under-resourced by arts and cultural funding due to rural geography, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status as defined in the Grants Terms and Definitions for fiscal year 2023.

Additional consideration will also be given to projects that involve collecting oral histories or civics engagement.

 

Review Process

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 unless requested by a program manager. 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 panel of professionals with appropriate expertise commensurate to the purpose of the grant program. Applications will be scored and ranked based on the published scoring rubric. 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.

Decision Notification

Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by December 31, 2022. Applicants are notified of the status of their application whether they are or are not selected to receive 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.

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 iowaartscouncil.slideroom.com. Applicants must create a login to view the full application requirements for the program. Applicants can visit help.liaisonedu.com for assistance related to the online submission.

Application Narrative Questions and Scoring Rubric

The following scoring rubric will be used to evaluate applications. Each section has criteria and corresponding point values to ensure a fair review process. The rubric is on a scale of 30 points. Application questions are for reference only. Applicants must review and complete application requirements in the Slideroom portal.

Applicant Profile

Mission Statement
Enter applicant’s mission statement.

Applicant Profile
Describe the applicant organization and how they fulfill their mission and serves their target population, including:

  • description of programming and services
  • recent notable achievements that demonstrate the applicant's ability to successfully implement the proposed project

APPLICANT PROFILE: 3 points possible

   

3 Applicant demonstrates exceptional programming or services that clearly advance its mission and serve its target population. Applicant demonstrates a strong record of progress through relevant notable achievements.

2 Applicant offers programming or services that support its mission and target population. Relevant notable achievements are identified.

1 Applicant’s programming or services are limited, unclear or do not support its mission or serve its target population. Relevant notable achievements are not identified.

Project Description

Describe the proposed project, including:

  • Why your organization or community is developing this project
  • community needs or interest that will be addressed through this project
  • Humanities subject matter and ideas being explored and the importance to Iowa
  • if the project is an annual event or series, describe why this particular year is unique and worthy of funding

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: 3 points possible

   

3 Project description is exemplary and clearly addresses a community need or interest. Subject matter and ideas being explored are strongly based in the humanities and are of high importance to Iowans.

2 Project description is stated and adequately addresses a community need or interest. Subject matter and ideas being explored are based in the humanities and are of importance to Iowans.

1 Project description is unclear and/or does not address a community need or interest. Subject matter and ideas being explored are somewhat based in the humanities. It is unclear if the exploration would be of importance to Iowans.

Humanities Expert

Describe the humanities expert(s) that will be involved with the project, including:

  • name(s) and affiliation(s)
  • describe each experts’ particular background and research interests that qualify them as a resource for the project
  • briefly summarize their roles and responsibilities within the project and how they will be using their expertise

Upload the Resume/CV for humanities expert(s). If there is more than one, compile them into one file for the upload.

 

HUMANITIES EXPERT: 3 points possible

   

3 Humanities expert’s background clearly qualifies them as a resource for this project. Resume/CV is highly relevant, professional and clearly demonstrates a record of career progress through relevant notable achievements. Humanities expert roles and responsibilities are well-defined and enhance the project.

Humanities expert’s background qualifies them as a resource for this project. Resume/CV identifies relevant notable achievements. Humanities expert roles and responsibilities are defined.

 

1 Humanities expert’s background does not demonstrate satisfactory expertise to include them as a resource for this project. Resume/CV does not identify relevant notable achievements. Humanities expert roles and responsibilities are unclear or not identified.

Collaboration Partner

Describe the entity that will be partnering with the applicant organization on the project, including:

  • Name and overview of the organization and who from the organization will be involved in the project
  • Why the collaboration is important to the project
  • How the partner will be involved in planning and implementing the project
  • How the partner will benefit from the collaboration

Upload a one page letter of support for the project from the collaborating organization.

COLLABORATION PARTNER: 3 points possible

   

3 Collaboration partner is clearly identified. There is a specific plan describing how the partner will be involved with planning and implementing the project. The project activities will clearly benefit the collaboration partner.
 

2 Collaboration partner is identified. There is a general plan describing how the partner will be involved with planning and implementing the project. The project activities may benefit the collaboration partner.
 

1 Collaboration partner is not clearly defined. There is little to no plan on how the partner will be involved with planning and implementing the project. It is unclear if project activities will benefit the collaboration partner.
 

Public Value

Describe why proposed project is important to the public, including:

  • a definition of the target audience and its relevance to the project
  • plans to engage or market the project to the target audience
  • plans to provide equitable access to project activities
     

PUBLIC VALUE: 3 points possible

   

3 Target population for the project is well-defined and its relevance to the project evident. Plans to engage or market the project to target audience and provide equitable access to project activities are exemplary.

2 Target population for the project is identified. Plans to engage or market the project to target audience and provide equitable access to project activities are satisfactory.

1 Target population for the project is not identified. Plans to engage or market the project to target audience and provide equitable access to project activities are inadequate.

Project Planning and Evaluation

Describe how the project will successfully happen within the eligible funding period, including:

  • detailed timeline of tasks necessary to complete the project
  • qualitative and quantitative measures for evaluation including methods for data collection

PROJECT PLANNING AND EVALUATION: 3 points possible

   

3 Confident project will successfully happen through a clear, detailed timeline of tasks. Project has clear methods in place to collect qualitative and quantitative data to analyze achievement of project goals..

2 Project is achievable through identified timeline of tasks. Project has appropriate methods in place to collect data on evaluation measures.

1 Multiple concerns about project achievability. Timeline of tasks is insufficient. Evaluation methods and measures are weak, inadequate or unclear.

 

Project Budget

Grant Request Expenses

Itemize the eligible expenses that will be funded by the grant request, including a description and the dollar amount for each. Round to the nearest dollar. Do not enter decimal signs or commas. Add a final "TOTAL" row at the bottom that identifies the total grant request.

Expense Description Grant Request Amount ($)

Match Expenses

Detail any cash match expenses or in-kind contributions outside of the grant request that are dedicated to the project, including the total cash amount or in-kind value, the funding source, and whether the funding source has been secured for the expense. Round to the nearest dollar. Do not enter decimal signs or commas. Add a final "TOTAL" row at the bottom that identifies the total cash expenses and total value of in-kind contributions.

Expense Description Cash Match ($) In-Kind Value ($) Funding Source Secured (Yes/No)

Estimated Total Project Cost

Enter the total estimated cost of the project. This value should equal the sum of the grant request, cash match expenses and in-kind contributions. Round to the nearest dollar. Do not enter decimal signs or commas.

BUDGET: 3 points possible

   

3 Project budget and intended use of requested funds are clear and appropriate. Project demonstrates financial support by leveraging diverse sources of funding for cash match and in-kind expenses.

2 Project budget, intended use of requested funds and sources of funding for cash match and in-kind expenses are identified.

1 Project budget, intended use of requested funds or sources of funding for cash match and in-kind expenses are unclear or inadequate.

Support Material

Upload 2-5 media samples that help support the case for funding this project. Support material may include photos, videos, evaluation tools, marketing material, press clippings, lesson plans or speaker bios. A QR Code or list of web links is not acceptable.

SUPPORT MATERIAL: 3 points possible

   

3 Support material is highly relevant to the project, of high quality and clearly supports the project’s excellence.

2 Support material relates to the project and is of average quality.

 

1 Support material is not relevant to the project, is of poor quality or does not support the project’s excellence.

Overall Application

The following scoring criteria reference the quality of the proposal and application as a whole and not a particular question.

OVERALL IMPORTANCE: 3 points possible

   

3 Project provides Iowans a humanities service or experience that will have substantially impact.

2 Project provides Iowans a humanities service or experience that will have a reasonable impact.

 

1 Project does not provide Iowans a humanities service or experience that will have an adequate impact.

CASE FOR SUPPORT: 3 points possible

   

3 Case for support is exemplary and merits investment from the state.

 

2 Case for support is average.

 

 

 

1 Case for support is below average or does not merit state investment.


Glossary of Terms and Definitions

Applicants should refer to the glossary for clarification of program terms and definitions.