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State Historical Society of Iowa

Humanities Partnership Grant Guidelines

Acting as Iowa’s interim state humanities council and with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Iowa Humanities Council is investing in programs that foster discussion, promote civic engagement, and inspire learning through the humanities.

Humanities Partnership Grants are discretionary grant awards, of up to $25,000, for highly unique, one-time opportunities that fall outside of the department's regular granting cycles and that align with the department's mission, vision, strategic goals and funding priorities, as well as those of its interim state humanities council.

Funding for the Humanities Partnership Grant is made possible by an appropriation from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency. Applicants must adhere to the published guidelines of the State Historical Society of Iowa and the funding policies of the federal government through 2 CFR Part 200.


Potential applicants are required to review all published material and contact Program Manager Kristen Vander Molen at or 515-822-3583 prior to submitting an application to discuss the project proposal.


The State Historical Society of Iowa is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to eligible applicants. For technical support submitting the online application, please contact the Accessibility Coordinator, Lindsay Keast at or 515-281-8352, at least two weeks in advance of application submission.


More information will be available in Fall 2024 regarding future application rounds.

Funding Notification
More information will be available in Fall 2024 regarding future application rounds.

Final Report Deadline
More information will be available in Fall 2024 regarding future reporting requirements.

Grant Request Amount

More information will be available in Fall 2024 regarding future application rounds.

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

Match Requirement

Applicants are required to demonstrate matching funds to support the proposal in an amount that is equal to or greater than the total grant amount requested from the State Historical Society of Iowa. Applicants may not request more than 50% of the total cost of the proposal in grant funding. The required match may be either in-kind or cash. Grant funds from the Iowa Humanities Council shall not be used as matching funds for this program.

Funding Period

More information will be available in Fall 2024 regarding future application rounds.

Eligible Applicants

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

The following types of entities are not eligible to apply:

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

State Historical Society of Iowa 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
  • Proposed projects may not receive more than one State Historical Society of Iowa administered grant regardless of applicant, phase of project or fiscal year

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

Examples of eligible projects:

  • Public forums or conferences
  • Lecture/discussion series; honoraria and travel for speakers and presenters
  • Book/film discussion programs about humanities-related topics
  • 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
  • Scholarly research with a publicly accessible component like a lecture, publication or exhibit

Humanities Expert

At least one humanities scholar/expert is required to participate in the eligible project. The expert can be a staff member within an organization or an outside consultant. 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.

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

Ineligible Projects

The following types or activities and projects are not eligible for the grant program:

  • Capital projects
  • Collection maintenance, restoration or digitization
  • Construction or renovation of a property
  • Fundraiser or benefit event
  • Scholarships and fellowships
  • Research solely for scholarly purposes
  • Lobbying activities
  • Museum, school or library acquisitions
  • Non-humanities projects
  • Operating costs including ongoing projects or programming for which the identified beginning and end dates are arbitrary
  • Projects intended primarily for students, faculty members, or other on-campus or in-school audiences
  • Projects that result in an applicant’s course credit, degree or certification
  • Projects that occur prior to or after the funding period
  • Projects that have already received a State Historical Society of Iowa grant for any part or phase of the project
  • Religious activities
  • Performance-only programming
  • Art classes focusing only on creative technique
  • Workshops addressing the mechanics and business of writing

Budget Requirements

Humanities Project Grants support one-time, direct project expenses that are essential to the completion of the proposed project. Applicants are required to demonstrate investment in a project by providing matching funds in an amount that is equal to or greater than the total grant amount requested from the State Historical Society of Iowa. The matching funds can be from cash or in-kind sources. For example, an applicant that requests $10,000 in grant funds must have at least $10,000 in cash or in-kind match for a total project budget of $20,000.

  • Cash match is actual cash contributed to direct project expenses by the applicant or other funding sources. For the applicant, cash match may include the salaries of project staff, cost of space to conduct project activities, and supplies and service costs related to the project.
  • In-kind match is donated goods, services, equipment or facilities contributed to the project by the applicant or other sources. In-kind contributions must be fully documented and could encompass items such as the value of a project participant waiving their normal fee for services.
  • 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

Eligible Grant Request & Match Expenses

The grant request and match expenses must be legitimate parts 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 grant request and match 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)

*Applicant must demonstrate how personnel time is specifically dedicated to the proposed project. Personnel benefits are not eligible.

Ineligible Grant Request & Match Expenses

Expenses that fall outside of the identified eligible expenses for the project may not be included as part of the grant request or the required cash and in-kind match. Applicants that include ineligible expenses in the grant request, cash or in-kind match will be considered ineligible. Ineligible grant request and match expenses include:

  • Budget shortfalls
  • Capital expenditures including equipment over a total of $5,000 per unit
  • Collection maintenance or restoration
  • Deficit or debt reduction
  • Expenses incurred prior to or after the funding period
  • Foreign travel
  • Fundraising or benefit
  • 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

Review Process

Online Application Submission

Applicants must submit applications via the State Historical Society of Iowa’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 Applicants must create a login to view the full application requirements for the program. Applicants can visit for assistance related to the online submission.

Department Eligibility and Funding Review

Submitted applications are reviewed by staff for completion, eligibility and adherence to published 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 State Historical Society of Iowa, State and Federal government. Applications or applicants determined by staff to be ineligible or incomplete will not move forward in the review and are specifically denied any appeals process. Eligible applications will be submitted to the Administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Director of the Department of Administrative Services for consideration and funding approval. 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 via email within two weeks of application receipt. 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.