Grant FAQs

Humanities Montana is authorized by the National Endowment for the Humanities as a pass-through entity of federal funds to issue subawards to:

  • Private nonprofit organizations*;
  • Institutions of higher education;
  • State, local, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments;
  • Groups of persons that form an association to carry out a project;
  • And individuals (as fellowships).

* Councils may not issue subawards to foreign, for-profit entities, fiscal agents, or fiscal sponsors.

NEH guidelines: Appendix A – Administrative Requirements that Apply to SubawardsArticle 16 – Financial Management Standards

To learn more, complete our eligibility survey!

Yes! You can reach our grants manager via phone: (406) 243-6067 or email: Megan.Sundy@HumanitiesMontana.org. We encourage you to connect with us no later than one week prior to the application deadline. 

Yes, AND keep reading. Proposals for annual programs or “repeat” projects of essentially the same format must do the following:

  • Reduce funding request amount from the previous subaward amount.
  • Provide evidence of newly acquired sustainable funding sources to support the project.
  • Include detailed descriptions of project innovation including, but not limited to:
    • New project features
    • Increased program/project reach (based on geography and demographics)
    • Engagement of new humanities scholars with letters of support from each
    • Detailed description of sustainable program/project outcomes and practices

According to SAM.gov, “A Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) is a number that identifies your entity registration in SAM.gov. This identifier is assigned by SAM.gov … The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires the Unique Entity ID to be used across federal systems, government-wide, for federal subaward purposes.” And because Humanities Montana issues subawards using federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), we need subrecipients UEIs to issue funds. Here are a few tips:

  • The Unique Entity ID is a 12-character alphanumeric ID assigned to an entity by SAM.gov.
  • Existing registered entities can find their Unique Entity ID by following the steps here.
  • New entities can get their Unique Entity ID at SAM.gov and, if required, complete an entity registration.
  • UEIs are free!
  • UEIs replaced DUNS Numbers in April 2022. DUNS Numbers are now obsolete.

Visit SAM.gov for more information.

This is the million-dollar question, and the answer is multifaceted. Generally, humanities content cultivates new understandings of culture and the human experience. Projects with humanities content do this through exploration of shared and diverse perspectives rooted both in academic and community-driven ideas. A good question to ask when trying to decide if your project has humanities content is “What new conversation will evolve from this project, and why is it important to my community/audience?”

  • The NEH provides the following definition:

The term “humanities” includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism, and theory of the arts; those aspects of the social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.

  • Humanities Montana offers this description:

The humanities are the examination of what it means to be human through the interpretation and discussion of all forms of thought, interest, and expression. While we value traditional humanities disciplines, such as art history, literature, history, and philosophy, our emphasis is on the public humanities, which means that we look at the humanities as more than an academic discipline.

For us, the public humanities are a mode of inquiry and conversation that aims to engage, support, or challenge the ideals, beliefs, tensions, and prejudices of the communities in which we live. We believe that important thought can happen outside of the academy — in neighborhood institutions, schools, and churches, and at kitchen tables across the country. We are especially interested in instances of the public humanities that promote civic engagement — in raising critical issues facing everyday people and conducted with the hope of increasing participants’ thirst for staying engaged. Rather than being defined by rigid disciplinary boundaries, it is the humanistic lens, which emphasizes curiosity, questioning, and dialogue, that matters.

Humanities Montana seeks to advance humanities programming in Montana by financially supporting projects committed to any of the following:

  • Responding to current conversations about the conditions of civic and cultural life in real time while remaining nonpartisan and engaging all relevant diverse perspectives
  • Collaborating between humanities and non-humanities community organizations to reach large and diverse public audiences
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration including, but not limited to: literature, philosophy, history, language, civic engagement, comparative religion, art history/criticism/theory, education, preservation & access, natural & social sciences, environmental studies, disability studies, medical studies
  • Independent and original research about a humanities-focused topic
  • Broad application of humanities content outside the proposed project
  • Skill acquisition:
    • Critical thinking: analysis of available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments to form a judgment; rational, skeptical, and unbiased analysis or evaluation of factual evidence
    • Imaginative and creative skills for problem solving
    • Translation of humanities intellectual output to a broader community outside academia
    • Increased understanding of the value and applicability of the humanities
    • Increased confidence and ability to articulate convictions and have a conversation about controversial issues with someone whose background or views are different
    • Increased understanding of ethical implications
    • Clear and persuasive writing and oral presentation
    • Comprehension of complex moral and ethical questions
    • Greater awareness and understanding of current events
    • Increased global awareness and sensitivity to other cultures

 

Humanities Montana is committed to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access for all people. Our statement reads:

Embracing the intrinsic value and full humanity of all persons, Humanities Montana provides programs and experiences that nurture imagination and ideas through the diverse histories, literatures, cultures, and philosophies reflective of Montana’s diverse communities. While attending to racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ableism, and other systemic inequities, we make a particular commitment to Montana’s Indigenous Peoples, rural communities, and youth.

We are committed to providing and developing programs and grants for partners using an IDEA lens, to support diverse representation among program leaders, project organizers, scholars, keynote speakers, conversation leaders, and panelists across sponsored events and offerings.

Humanities Montana is interested in projects that reach our priority audiences* namely youth, rural, and Native communities in Montana. If your project will reach one or more of these priority communities, it is important to clearly articulate how these audiences will immediately benefit from your project and how you will integrate sustainable practices to continue serving these audiences.

*If your project intends to benefit one of these priority communities, we ask that your application include letters of support that address your collaboration with these communities.

A humanities scholar/advisor is an individual with significant knowledge and experience in a discipline relevant to a project’s humanities content. Examples of humanities scholars may include:

  • Academic Scholar: An individual with an advanced degree in a humanities discipline who will provide direct support to the development and implementation of your project or program (Examples: university or college professor, research fellow, Ph.D., etc.)
  • Subject Area Expert: An individual who has been established as a subject expert or professional in an area specific to your project’s humanities content through work experience, teaching, publication, or through recognition by other experts in the same field (Examples: business or nonprofit executive, consultant, certified professional, published author, etc.)
  • Community Expert: An individual with special knowledge of cultural traditions or local history, or someone who has specialized skills or knowledge of the project’s target audience (Examples: Tribal Elder, local historian, artisan, etc.)

At least one humanities scholar is required in the planning and/or execution of the project, and their inclusion is a major criterion in our review of the application.

Admission fees for film screenings, museum exhibit/entrance fees, conference registration fees, etc. are allowed but must adhere to the following rules:

  • Events are open to the public and not just specific groups
  • Any fees associated with participation are estimated and recorded as cash income on your budget form
  • Income accrued from participation fees must be spent on project-related expenses

A1: For your application you will need the following:

  • CEO certification letter signed by your sponsoring organization
  • Regular and Film + Video applications need to include a proposed budget using our budget template
  • Recommended: Letters of support/confirmation from confirmed humanities scholars referenced in your application

A2: For your follow-up report you will need the following:

  • Opportunity & Research Fellowships — Copies of all project-related expense receipts

You are responsible for handling grant funds. All grant-related expenses, income, and in-kind contributions must be documented and reported at the end of the grant. Copies of all receipts must be filed with your final report.

  • Regular and Film + Video grants — Final financial report signed by your fiscal manager

The fiscal manager is responsible for handling grant funds. All grant-related expenses, income, and in-kind contributions must be documented and reported at the end of the grant.

Subaward funds may only be used for expenses incurred during the grant period of performance or grant term cited in your subaward agreement.

All subaward funds become available at the start date of the period of performance, after receipt of your signed subaward agreement and Form W9. For opportunity grants, this will be on a rolling basis, and for all other grants, it will be tied to our winter, spring, and fall board meetings. If you are curious about when funds from a specific grant cycle might be available, please contact our grants manager at (406) 243-6067. Humanities Montana writes checks to sponsoring organizations on the 5th and 20th of each month.

After you are notified of your subaward, you will receive a subaward agreement via DocuSign. Once we have a signed copy of your subaward agreement and the most recent copy of your Form W9, we will be able to release your funds. To issue subaward payments (send checks) we need the following:

  • Subaward agreements must be signed by your authorizing official/sponsoring organization AND your project director/principal investigator.
  • Checks are issued in the sponsoring organization’s name and use the address as listed on the most recent copy of your Form W9. This organization must be the organization listed on your grant application, and it must have the same EIN listed on the W9 and be the entity which provided your certification letter.
  • The sponsoring organization must provide a Unique Entity Identity (UEI).
  • The sponsoring organization must provide a copy of their Form W9 before payment can be issued.

There are a few considerations to determine whether an expense would be eligible for an NEH subaward:

  • Direct costs include expenses directly accountable to your proposed project activities and fulfilment of your project outcomes. Here are few examples:
    • Project staff salaries (preferably no more than 10% of overall request and/or subaward amount)
    • Project contractor/consultant/scholar expenses, such as panel participation, public presentations, research, and expert services to improve quality of humanities content, general honoraria, etc.
    • Project-related travel/per diem*, such as lodging, meals, and mileage for project staff, contractors, consultants, and scholars
      *You are required to submit receipts with your final report for any expenses in this category.
    • Project activities that directly support project design, development, implementation, and evaluation efforts
      Examples include:

      • Promotion/publication expenses for printing costs (posters, programs, etc.) and advertising through news outlets (newspaper, television, radio), and social media
      • Rental (only) of facilities and equipment such as meeting space, audio/visual equipment, etc.
  • Indirect costs up to 10% of overall subaward: Indirect costs are costs that are necessary to support the program but cannot be specifically allocated to each program, including the cost of items such as rent or utilities.
  • Other expenses need to be approved by Humanities Montana prior to inclusion in your proposed budget.

NEH guidelines: Appendix A – Administrative Requirements that Apply to SubawardsArticle 16 – Financial Management Standards # 6. “Allowable Costs”

Essentially, subaward funds cannot be used for non-project-related expenses and anything that falls under one of the categories listed below:

  • Direct costs not directly accountable to your proposed project activities
  • Indirect project-related expenses over 10% of overall funding request or subaward amount
  • Non-public meetings of organizations; however, we may grant approval for programs open to the public but held in conjunction with a group’s meeting
  • Construction and/or restoration of buildings, exhibits, and other similar general operating expenses
  • Capital purchases or fixed and intangible assets, such as real estate, equipment, vehicles, and/or anything with value that may depreciate over time
  • Museum and/or library acquisitions, such as book and art collections
  • Funds to support the direct creation of art, including performances
    Note that, occasionally, Humanities Montana grants modest amounts for performances when such activities are teamed with interpretations, such as when a play or dance is preceded or followed by a lecture or scholar-led discussion.
  • Lobbying or direct social action, or planning for direct action, or projects which advocate a particular course of action
  • Projects that present a one-sided, uncritical treatment of an issue
  • Projects that would raise funds for profit-making groups or for commercial purposes
  • Meals or refreshments for an audience
  • Alcoholic beverages or entertainment costs
  • Candidates running for political office

Your cost-share is the total of your In-Kind Contributions and Cash Income. Your total estimated cost-share must match your Humanities Montana subaward amount 1:1 (opportunity grants excluded). For every dollar you request from Humanities Montana, you must provide at least a dollar of cost-share, either in cash, in-kind, or a mixture.

We use a platform called Foundant, and you can always access the log-on page from our website. Below is a list of everything you need to get started: