FAQs for Applicants

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about applying to our Grants programs.

  • What are the Humanities?
    The humanities include the study and interpretation of history, literature (including novels, poetry, drama, and other forms of written expression, both modern and classical), philosophy, ethics, jurisprudence, comparative religion, archaeology, cultural anthropology, and the interpretation (not the creation) of the arts.  These humanities disciplines are tools that can help us to explore what makes us human, connect us with others, and discover meaning and richness in our lives and for our communities.
  • Who is Eligible for a Grant?
    You are eligible to apply for a grant if:

    • You are applying on behalf of an organization. Individuals are not eligible for grants.
    • Your organization is a non-profit or government entity.
    • The humanities are a central component of your project.
    • You have identified humanities scholars to support your project.
    • Your project will engage and benefit Marylanders.
    • You have matching funds (cash or in-kind) equal to the funds that you are requesting.
    • You do not currently have an open grant with us.
    • You have not received a grant from us within the last twelve months.

  • What Kind of Projects are Eligible for Funding?
    Grant projects should:

    • Use the humanities as a central element of the program or project
    • Reach the general public of Maryland
    • Engage them in discussions about a critical issue or an enriching humanities experience
    • Be free and open to the public
    • Be handicapped accessible and open without regard to race, color, religion, handicap, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

  • What Kind of Projects are NOT Eligible for Funding?
    We do not support scholarly symposia directed toward a limited or specialized audience; scholarships, fellowships, internships, or regular course offerings; book publishing; individual research projects; creative or performing arts; general operating expenses; construction and/or renovation projects; museum or library acquisitions; direct social action or political advocacy; or fundraising or profit making activities.

    We do not fund projects by applicant organizations with open Maryland Humanities grants or those who have already received a grant from us within the last twelve months.

  • How is my application evaluated?

    Your application will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

    Maryland Humanities Grants Evaluation Criteria

    Humanities Content
    The humanities include the study and interpretation of history, literature (including novels, poetry, drama, and other forms of written expression, both modern and classical), philosophy, ethics, jurisprudence, comparative religion, archaeology, cultural anthropology, and the interpretation (not the creation) of the arts.
    □ The project is designed to use the humanities to engage participants (presenters and audience) in educational programming that uses humanities themes in exploring the human experience.
    □ The humanities content is clearly identified.
    □ The project uses humanities scholars/practitioners or community experts/leaders to shape the project.

    Project Goals and Impact
    □ The goals of the project are clearly identified and explained.
    □ It is clear whom the project will impact.
    □ It is clear what the impact will be on participants.

    Project Management and Administration
    The applicant clearly identifies and details plans for the project:
    □ Implementation
    □ Evaluation
    □ Publicity
    □ Final reporting
    How strong and viable are the plans in each of these areas?

    Project Budget
    □ The budget is in line with Maryland Humanities requirements.
    □ The matching funds are at least equal to the grant request.
    □ The budget adds up.

    Target Audiences
    Maryland Humanities seeks to reach these target audiences: educationally underserved adults and students, families with young children [age 8 and under], prison populations, and/or veterans. We especially encourage applicants with projects that will increase or enhance access to these audiences.
    □ The project engages one or more of Maryland Humanities’ target audiences.
    □ The project would help Maryland Humanities reach geographic diversity.

    Grants Evaluation Criteria

  • Who are Scholars?
    Scholars are professional specialists in a given field of the humanities, such as historians, philosophers, poets and writers, and the like, who by training have gained mastery in a discipline. While a scholar need not have an advanced degree in the humanities, he or she should be demonstrably qualified for their assigned role in the proposed project by virtue of education, training and experience.

    Humanities experts may be:

    • Academic scholars (individuals with an advanced degree in a humanities discipline or individuals teaching or researching in a scholarly institution, e.g., professor, some curators and librarians)
    • Independent scholars (individuals who have researched, written and/or spoken about a humanities topic and are considered experts in their field, e.g., journalist, artist, curator, nonprofessional historian)
    • Community scholars/culture bearers,(individuals who by virtue of their life experience, training and/or standing in a community carry the knowledge, wisdom, and collective historical records of the group, e.g., tribal or neighborhood elders or practitioners of traditional cultural forms.)

  • What Else is Required?
    You must include your Federal Tax I.D. (EIN) and DUNS number in the application.

    APPLY for DUNS #

  • What is a Letter of Intent?
    A Letter of Intent is an abbreviated request for funding that is submitted to us using our Online Grant Application system prior to a request for a Major Grant. The letter briefly outlines the project and the funding request, in enough detail for us to determine whether a full proposal should be submitted. Applicants with projects that fit into our funding guidelines will be given the opportunity to submit a full proposal. Receiving a request to submit a full proposal does not guarantee project funding.
  • Must the Program be Free and Open to the Public?
    We believe that funded projects should be free and open to the public.
  • Must Funds be Available to Match our Grant Funding?

    You are required to provide financial support for your project. The matching funds must be at least equal to the grant amount requested from us. The matching funds can be made up of cash and other contributions from the your organization, cash from third parties, and in-kind contributions from third parties. You are encouraged to raise third-party cash as an indication of community interest in their project and to demonstrate a partnership between public and private support.

  • When Will Grant Payments be Made?
    You may receive your grant award on an advance or reimbursement basis. Awards totaling $1,200 or less may be advanced in full in one installment. Awards over $1,200 may be advanced for sums that in total are not more than 90% of the total award. The final 10% of all grants over $1,200 will be paid upon receipt of the Final Narrative and Financial Reports.

    The Payment Request Form must be filled out and submitted to us by the Grant Administrator by the deadline indicated in the award letter to receive grant funds. You should allow two to three weeks for a check to be issued by us.

    All activities that are paid from a Maryland Humanities grant award must have occurred during the official grant period. The grant period begins on the date specified in the grant agreement and concludes ninety days following the completion of the project activities funded by the Maryland Humanities.

  • What Kind of Projects Have You Funded in the Past?
    See the list of Maryland Humanities awarded grants from past years.
  • Is a Program Funded by Maryland Humanities Eligible to Receive Repeat Funding?
  • Will Funding be Provided for K-12 School Programs?
    As these programs are not open to the general public, you must justify the need for the project and provide a way to disseminate the results and lessons learned.
  • Will Maryland Humanities Fund Oral History Projects?
    We do not fund projects whose primary purpose is the collection and preservation of oral histories. We will consider funding the interpretation and dissemination of oral history information to public audiences.
  • How Can We Help You?

    We can provide assistance by:

    • Providing a ONE-TIME review of your draft application (must be submitted one week before deadline)
    • Offering budget advice
    • Holding grants workshops during the year. Please contact us for more information.

  • Will Maryland Humanities Fund Media Projects?
    Organizations with demonstrated experience within a particular media area (video, radio, website, etc.) are encouraged to apply. Proposals must include a use and distribution plan for the completed project and a specific plan for reaching Maryland audiences. All video and film projects that receive Maryland Humanities funding must be closed or open captioned, as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974.
  • Who Can I Contact With More Specific Questions?
    For more information on grants, please contact Marilyn Hatza, program officer for Grants and Strategic Partnerships, via email to mhatza@mdhumanities.org or (410) 685-4187.
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
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