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Emily Ross, Program Officer, Grants
Camilla Sandoval, Program Coordinator, Grants


Championing the humanities across a state as diverse as Maryland requires many contributors and much collaboration. That’s where our Marilyn Hatza Memorial SHINE Grant Program comes in: Strengthening the Humanities Investment in Nonprofits for Equity.

Maryland Humanities’ grants program funds general operating support to nonprofits conducting work in the humanities throughout Maryland. We have been actively adjusting our grant practices over the past few years with a focus on equity and accessibility. With the Marilyn Hatza Memorial SHINE Grant Program, Maryland Humanities takes the next step in our grantmaking evolution and aims to lower barriers and provide funding in a more equitable way to organizations statewide. Thank you to the State of Maryland via the Maryland Historical Trust for providing the Hatza SHINE seed money and helping to invest in a healthier humanities landscape statewide.

Hatza SHINE Grants are $10,000 general operating support grants for Maryland nonprofits conducting humanities programming.

The FY25 application will open on June 24, 2024.

  • Goals of the Marilyn Hatza Memorial SHINE Grant Program

    • Continue and expand general operating support funding, awarding $900,000 in grants.
    • Focus on small and mid‐size humanities, arts, cultural, and educational nonprofits that may not have staff capacity or resources to be competitive in fundraising.
    • Ensure a broad geographic reach, similar to what we were able to realize from our COVID‐relief grants, which funded organizations in all 23 of Maryland’s counties, plus Baltimore City.
    • Continue to refine lessons learned on how to evaluate applicants and distribute funds equitably, while ensuring accountability and responsible fiscal stewardship.
    • Convene annual cohorts of grantees in new networks of engagement and common purpose to amplify the state’s investment, strengthening both the organizations and communities.

  • Dates, Deadlines, and Informational Events


  • Grant Guidelines

    Please review the grant guidelines before applying for a grant. Questions can be directed to Camilla Sandoval, Program Coordinator, Grants at csandoval@mdhumanities (dot) org.

    Hatza SHINE FY25 Guidelines

  • Application and How to Apply

    The FY25 Hatza SHINE Grant application is available for preview.

    Preview Application Here

    All applications for Hatza SHINE grants must be completed through our grant portal. 

    Access grant portal (APPLY HERE)

    1. Returning applicants:
      • Please login with your organization’s existing email and password. If you do not know your organization’s login details, please contact Camilla Sandoval (csandoval@mdhumanities.org).
    2. New applicants:
      • Please create a new account. After you create an account you will be able to access the grant application by logging in.

  • Application Support, Resources, and Tips

    Draft Review

    Application drafts can be submitted for review by Emily Ross, Program Officer, Grants. To submit an application for draft review, please email a copy of your application to eross@mdhumanities (dot) org with your organization name and “draft review” in the subject line. Please allow 2-3 business days for your draft review to be returned. The deadline to submit applications for draft review is August 14, 2024.

    What will a draft review cover?

    1. Completeness – is your application filled out completely, answer every question fully, and include the correct budget and/or supplementary attachments?
    2. Eligibility – is your organization eligible for a Hatza SHINE grant?
    3. Compliance – does your application adhere to the Hatza SHINE grant guidelines?

    What will a draft review not cover?

    1. Evaluation – opinions on how the application would be scored or feedback on the quality of narrative answers cannot be provided during a draft review.
    2. Funding recommendation – a draft review cannot determine whether your organization will or will not receive a Hatza SHINE grant.
    3. Extensive editing or rewriting

    Exemplary Sample Answers

    A collection of high-scoring answers from a variety of organizations’ previous applications is available to view. Organizations have been de-identified and identifying information redacted.

    Exemplary Sample Answers

    Attend or Watch an Informational Session

    The Hatza SHINE FY25 Informational Session will be held on Zoom on July 17 at 3pm.

    A recording of the informational session will be available here afterwards.

    Scoring Rubric

    The scoring rubric is used by grant reviewers to evaluate applications. The rubric provides insight to applicants about the criteria used to evaluate their organization’s application.

    SHINE FY25 First Evaluation Preview

    SHINE FY25 Second Evaluation Preview

    DEAI Toolkit

    The purpose of this toolkit is to provide organizations applying to a SHINE grant with a starting point to reflect on their organization’s culture, strategies, and values related to Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI). The toolkit is not exhaustive in every consideration and portions may not be applicable to certain organizations. Maryland Humanities recognizes that successful DEAI work requires financial resources many organizations do not have access to. This toolkit is not a checklist of completed requirements to receive a SHINE grant but rather a set of considerations to assist organizations when writing in their grant application about their organization’s approaches to and plans for DEAI work.

    SHINE DEAI Toolkit

    Schedule a Meeting with a Staff Member

    If you have questions about applying for a grant or eligibility guidelines, Camilla Sandoval, Grants Coordinator, is available for 15-30 minute virtual meetings.

    Email csandoval@mdhumanities (dot) org to schedule.

    Please note staff are unable to meet with applicants after August 28, 2024 (4 days before the application deadline). Grants staff are available to answer questions by email until 5pm on August 30, 2024.

    Attend a Q&A session or Open Office Hours

    What are open office hours?

    Drop by any time  into our virtual office on Zoom to speak with grants staff. The grants department’s door is open to anyone to stop by and get answers about Hatza SHINE grants, get clarity about the process of applying, or ask general grants-related inquiries.

    What is a Q&A session?

    Applying for a Hatza SHINE grant? Have unanswered questions about the process you’d like answered face-to-face with grants staff? Join a virtual Q&A session and get answers. We will also review some of the most frequently asked questions about applying for a Hatza SHINE grant.

    Upcoming Sessions:

    Oral Application Interview

    Grant applications can be completed by oral interview for accessibility reasons. Possible (but not all) accessibility reasons could include: lack of internet access, barriers to using a computer, and communication preferences.

    Oral applications use the same application (SHINE FY25 Application Preview) as written applicants. It is completed through spoken word and transcribed.

    The deadline to schedule an oral application interview is August 16th, 2024.

    Oral Interview Application Process:

    1. Schedule an interview time with Program Officer, Grants Emily Ross. Call (410) 618-5017 or email eross@mdhumanities (dot) org to schedule.
    2. Applicants should review the application in advance. Applicants will be asked the questions directly from the application during their interview.
    3. Interview is held by phone or in person at Maryland Humanities offices in Baltimore, MD. Applicants choose.
    4. Grants staff transcribe the interview into an application.
    5. A copy of the transcribed application will be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the applicant to make changes or approve.
    6. Grants staff submit the application.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Who is eligible to apply for the Marilyn Hatza Memorial SHINE Grant Program? 

    To be eligible for a Hatza SHINE grant, an organization must: be designated as a nonprofit; offer humanities-based programming as a significant part of its work; be physically located and registered as a nonprofit in Maryland with Maryland residents as its primary constituents; and have a maximum total annual operating budget of $500,000 or less. Organizations whose mission or focus is the creation or performance of art are not eligible for this funding. You can find the grant program guidelines here: https://www.mdhumanities.org/wp-content/uploads/Hatza-SHINE-FY25-Guidelines-1.pdf 

    When is the application period?

    The application will open on June 24, 2024 and will close on September 1, 2024 at 11:59PM. A copy of the application and the evaluation rubric will be available for preview on our website about two weeks prior to the opening date. You will be able to access the application in our grants system here.

    What is considered humanities programming for the purposes of this grant program?

    Organizations conducting activities in the humanities provide programs that do one or more of the following: explore and elevate our shared stories of the past, present, and future to connect people; preserve, share, and celebrate cultural identities, heritage, and traditions; promote storytelling and enriching communities through dialogue, discussion, and participation; and/or bring people together to encourage thoughtful and accessible programs that value equity, democracy, collaboration, and life-long learning.

    We encourage applying organizations to view Maryland Humanities’ mission, vision, and values and to look for how their organization’s programming aligns.

    Should my organization apply for Hatza SHINE funding?

    We welcome all eligible applicants to apply. Please reach out to our Grants team If you’re still unsure whether your organization is eligible after reviewing the eligibility requirements. Additionally, you can view a copy of the application on our website prior to starting an application in our grants system. As this is a competitive grant program, we cannot guarantee every applicant will receive an award.

    My organization received a Hatza SHINE award last year, can we apply again this year?

    Yes, if your organization received a Hatza SHINE award last year and still meets the grant program’s eligibility requirements, your organization can apply again this year.

    My organization has a fiscal sponsor, can we apply?

    Yes, organizations with fiscal sponsors are welcome to apply. Each of the following additional documentation are required by email to eross@mdhumanities (dot) org before the application deadline: 1) Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement between the sponsor and sponsored organization that demonstrates a fiduciary pass-through arrangement; 2) 2023 annual budget of the sponsor organization; 3) Copy of 2023 990 form of the sponsor organization.

    Is there a match requirement?

    No match is required for this funding.

    What are the allowable expenses with this funding?

    Allowable costs include rent, utilities, supplies, salaries, programming costs, capacity building, and other day-to-day expenses of an organization. We discourage the use of this funding for new construction, renovations, and collections acquisition. If you have questions about a specific cost, please contact our Grants team.

    What happens after my organization submits our application?

    After the application period closes on September 1, our Grants team will conduct a preliminary review of all applications to confirm each applicant’s eligibility. All eligible applications will then be passed on to the second round of review. This round is conducted by our Grants Review team, who will score the narrative section of the applications. Each application will be scored by a randomly selected set of reviewers. Once the second round is complete, the Grants team and Grants Review team will convene to view final combined scores and determine the list of awarded applicants. We are aiming to notify applicants of their decision status by November 2024. Any delay in this process will be communicated to applicants.

    How many applications did you receive last year and how many were awarded? How many will you award this year?

    We received 130 eligible applications for FY24 and awarded 95 organizations. This year, for FY25 we will award 90 organizations.

    My question is not here, how can I get more information?

    You can reach Emily Ross, Program Officer, Grants, at eross@mdhumanities (dot) org, and Camilla Sandoval, Program Coordinator, Grants, at csandoval@mdhumanities (dot) org 

    Additionally, our Grants team will be hosting virtual informational events.

  • “It is difficult to properly express our gratitude to Maryland Humanities for the help and support that we received through the grant-making process and through the project…The support of (Maryland Humanities) was not in funding alone. By including a spot about the initiative in (their) Humanities Connection program on WYPR, Maryland Humanities did much to help promote our initiative and alert the general public about the program that we were running in the early months of the fall.”

    Dr. Kimberly Coles ~ Chair, Education and Citizenship Project Committee, University of Maryland College Park
  • “We have truly enjoyed every funding experience with Maryland Humanities – mostly because it feels like a collaborative relationship. The staff at (Maryland Humanities) is very helpful when preparing grant proposals and reports, and we love seeing (Maryland Humanities) administrators attending our performances and other programming.”

    Center Stage, Humanities Fund for Baltimore grantee, Baltimore City
  • “Without support from Maryland Humanities, we never could have put together an exhibit and programming at this scale. This support allowed us to cover many more writers, artists and musicians in the exhibit than we otherwise could have done. It enabled us to offer at lease 50 percent more programming than we could have done on our own. The funds also enabled us to promote the exhibit and programs to a wider market. Furthermore, knowing there was a chance for this grant to be awarded, we felt able to apply for (even more) support from the local cultural arts board… We are enormously grateful.”

    Carol Allen, Director for the Library & Hays-Heighe House, Harford Community College, Major Grant recipient
  • “We had a great experience working with Maryland Humanities. Your team was very hands on, provided clear guidelines and seemed glad to assist us throughout our process. Thank you so much for the support we received to carry out our event and do much needed social justice work in our city.”

    New Lens, Humanities Fund for Baltimore grantee
  • “Funding from the Maryland Humanities to distribute our first publication allowed Wide Angle Youth Media to expand our reach and share youth voice in a way we have never done before. With your support, this project has not only been successful in programmatic outcomes, but has inspired and empowered young people, giving them the platform to become published artists and share their voices in our city and beyond.”

    Wide Angle Youth Media, Humanities Fund for Baltimore grantee, Baltimore City
  • “This Maryland Humanities grant is absolutely vital to the mission of our non-profit organization devoted to archaeological research and public education. Simply put, we could not have carried out our ambitious exhibit projects without this much-appreciated support. Maryland Humanities has enabled us to share meaningful stories and engage audiences in innovative and creative ways. The platform they have provided strengthens our organization and the community we serve. Thank you!”

    Lost Towns Project, Inc., Major Grant recipient, Anne Arundel County
  • “It is difficult to properly express our gratitude to Maryland Humanities for the help and support that we received through the grant-making process and through the project. The grant was crucial to the success of the project, and instrumental in bringing the poet (and 2016 MacArthur Fellow) Claudia Rankine to our campus. As the author of “Citizen: An America Lyric,” Rankine’s powerful reading and discussion of her work provided the anchor for our programming about public education and the role it plays in shaping the political citizen… (Maryland Humanities staff) were a constant source of encouragement and support–and we are proud to have been one of the projects that it recognized this year.”

    Dr. Kimberly Coles ~ Chair, Education and Citizenship Project Committee, University of Maryland College Park
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