General Grant Guidelines

Before beginning the application process, applicants should contact grants administrator Erin Riebe at 304.346.8500 or  Plan to talk in detail about your idea and find out if it is eligible for funding.


The West Virginia Humanities Council serves West Virginia through grants and direct programs in the humanities. The Council seeks proposals from nonprofit organizations that offer public humanities programming for West Virginia audiences.


The humanities include the study of language, both modem and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; art history; and some aspects of the social sciences. See About Our Grants for a definition of the humanities.


Eligible projects must:


  • Be rooted in one or more of the humanities disciplines
  • Have qualified humanities scholars directly and substantially involved in the project
  • Be open to the public
  • Be sponsored by a nonprofit organization
  • Have accurate budget requests, reflecting the actual costs of the project
  • Have a comprehensive and adequate plan for publicity and dissemination of information
  • Comply with federal nondiscrimination statutes
  • Have dollar-per-dollar matching funds (excluding Fellowship and Travel Assistance applications)
  • Have a 25% cash match (for grant requests of more than $ 1,500)


What we fund


Allowable expenses for projects include the following:


Honoraria for scholars; salaries; travel costs including per diems, mileage and lodging; supplies and materials; publicity and printing costs; postage; telephone; and equipment and facilities rental.  Projects include, but are not limited to:


  • Planning grants to bring in experts for project consultation
  • Conferences, lectures, and symposia
  • Educational school programs
  • Brochures and booklets including printing and promotional costs
  • Exhibit development and implementation
  • Archival projects
  • Archaeological projects
  • Conference travel (TAP grants)
  • Media projects, the planning, scripting, and production of audio or video materials, websites, or a newspaper series
  • Publications (Publication grants)
  • Individual research (Fellowship grants)


If your proposed project is not listed above, contact the Council regarding eligibility.


We cannot fund


  • Projects with little or no humanities content
  • Creative and performing arts (associated discussion sessions and educational programs may be eligible)
  • Fund-raising events or for-profit projects
  • Expenses incurred or paid out before a grant is made
  • Projects that have already taken place
  • Projects with high admission fees (reasonable admission fees may be allowed and should be discussed with the grants administrator)
  • Projects not open or accessible to the public
  • Purchase of equipment or land
  • Building renovation
  • Overhead or indirect costs (operational costs)
  • Receptions, food, alcohol or entertainment
  • Fiscal agent fees (also ineligible as match)
  • Academic courses for credit
  • History Alive! presentations
  • Historic Highway Markers
  • Permanent staffing or regular staff salaries

Humanities Council policy prohibits funding regular staff salaries.  Further, regular staff salaries may only be included in the project budget as in-kind match; such salaries may not be used to meet the Council’s 25% cash match requirement for major grants.

The Council defines regular staff as anyone who will be paid whether the grant is awarded or not.  This includes part-time and temporary staff, graduate assistants, AmeriCorps and Vistas.  The grant award can pay contractors hired specifically for the grant project or others employed temporarily for that purpose.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to adequately explain the salary expense line in the budget narrative.


Additional Guidelines and Grant Application Instructions  


Having a problem with the online application? Look for tips in our Troubleshooting Guide.


For Fellowship or Travel Assistance Program grants, refer to the specific application for instructions.  Also, see additional guidelines below.


  1. Sponsoring Organization

This information pertains to the nonprofit organization that will be responsible for overseeing the grant, if awarded. The sponsoring organization makes significant programmatic contributions to the project.  Publication grants must be sponsored by an established nonprofit press or academic press.  Teacher Institute grants must be sponsored by a college, university, or the West Virginia Department of Education. Travel Assistance Program grants and Fellowships do not require a sponsoring organization.


  1. Authorizing Official

This is the CEO of the sponsoring organization and the person that will submit the application.


  1. Project Director

This person is responsible for the management of the project and has the responsibility of submitting progress and final reports to the West Virginia Humanities Council. For a Teacher Institute, this is the Institute Director. This person may NOT serve as the fiscal officer.


  1. Fiscal Officer

This is the person responsible for record-keeping and accounting for the grant funds and cost share. This person will complete and submit the required financial reports. The fiscal officer may NOT serve as the project director.


  1. Project Summary

The project summary section requires the project title, grant request amount, proposed start/end date, estimate of audience size, target audience, and humanities discipline.  It also requires a brief project description summarizing the grant project and providing the reviewers a snapshot of the details inside the application.


  1. Project Narrative

The project narrative should explain, in detail, the project outlined in the project summary.  Project narrative guidelines vary for each type of application.  Please review the appropriate instructions for the application being completed.  Each objective must be addressed. Applicants should not assume specialized knowledge by the grant reviewer.  Narratives should be free of jargon, and technical terms should be explained, if used.


  1. Schedule of Activities or Events

Insofar as possible, provide a general schedule of work, activities, and events associated with the grant project. At least one activity is required for all grants, and dates may be estimated. If you are applying for a planning grant, list the meeting or research for the project.  If the grant is awarded, you will receive instructions to complete a schedule of events with full details. You may enter up to 15 activities or events.


  1. Scholars

The project must involve at least one humanities scholar. Scholars provide oversight on topics, facts, information and research. Required information for each scholar includes name, contact information, and role in the project. If known, the Council highly recommends including current employment, academic degrees/disciplines, and major publications.  Such information helps confirm that the scholar is qualified to address the humanities discipline of the project.


  1. Detailed Budget

The detailed budget must provide a clear description noting how the applicant arrived at the grant request and cost share amounts.  When completing your budget, keep in mind the following:

  • Grant applications must include a 100% match (cost share), using in-kind or cash, equal to the total grant funds requested.
  • Any grant request over $1,500 must include a CASH cost share of at least 25% of the funds requested.
  • Requests for honoraria may not exceed $300 per presentation or $1,000 for a main or keynote speaker.
  • Travel guidelines include a maximum of $100/night for lodging and $50/day for meals.  Mileage must be calculated at a maximum rate not to exceed the current state government reimbursement rate.
  • Applicants having a negotiated indirect cost rate may claim indirect costs at that rate, and applicants not having a negotiated rate may claim indirect costs not to exceed 10%.  Please review carefully your institution’s negotiated indirect cost rate(s) to make sure you are using the most appropriate rate in your application budget.  Many institutions negotiate multiple rates—for example, “Research,” “Instruction,” and “Other Sponsored Activities.”  Your institution’s “Research” rate will not be the appropriate rate for inclusion in your project budget, as the use of this rate is reserved for projects involving scientific research, not scholarly inquiry of the type most often supported by WVHC.
  • Regular salaries may be used for in-kind cost share but not for cash cost share, and cannot be part of the grant request.  See above (under "We cannot fund") for a definition of "regular salaries."

The budget narrative explains how the applicant arrived at the expenditure category amounts for the grant amount requested and the cost share amounts (including in-kind and cash). The budget narrative should list each expenditure category as a separate line item and include a short description of each item, and how it is calculated.  The detailed budget section of the application should also list other sources of funds pending or secured if applicable.


  1. Additional Material

Some grants require attachments and/or additional material.  Please review the appropriate application carefully before beginning.  We do not accept letters of support or other miscellaneous addendums such as newspaper articles.  Any information the grant review committee should know must be included in the grant application, budget narrative, or project narrative. Attachments directly related to the project may be included (e.g., a sample brochure to demonstrate previous work when you are applying for funding a brochure).  Materials that must be mailed to the Humanities Council must be postmarked on or before the grant deadline.


  1. Compliance and Signature

The authorizing official must sign and submit the application.


Some grants have additional guidelines and/or requirements.  Click the links below.


Travel Assistance grants

Fellowship grants

Publication grants

Teacher Institute grants


Please read the General Grant Guidelines and How to Apply pages before completing an application.  Additional grant information is available on our About Our Grants page.