WHO WE ARE
The West Virginia Humanities Council, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, serves West Virginia through grants and direct programs in the humanities. The Council seeks proposals from nonprofit organizations that offer humanities-centered public programming for West Virginia audiences.
For grants and programming purposes, the term “humanities” encompasses the study of language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; law and 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.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE APPLYING
Before beginning the application process, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Grants Administrator Erin Riebe at 304.346.8500 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Plan to talk about your project idea in detail and find out whether it is eligible for funding.
Eligible projects must:
What we fund
Allowable expenses for humanities projects and programs include the following:
Eligible project types include, but are not limited to:
We cannot fund
* The Council may fund projects that include theatrical productions, when the project and production aim to improve our understanding of the humanities, including our understanding of drama as art or literature. The Council will not fund theatrical productions aimed primarily to entertain. The Council will usually fund only a portion of a project containing a theatrical production, and will usually require the proposers to secure additional support for the project.
**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 regardless of whether the grant is awarded. This includes part-time and temporary staff, graduate assistants, and AmeriCorps and Vistas. The grant award can pay contractors hired specifically for the grant project, or others employed temporarily for that purpose. In all cases, it is the applicant’s responsibility to adequately explain the salary expense line in the budget narrative.
WRITING YOUR GRANT APPLICATION: INSTRUCTIONS AND GUIDELINES
(for Major, Mini, Media, Publications, and Teacher Institute grants)
For Fellowship or Travel Assistance Program grants, refer to the specific application for instructions. Also, see additional guidelines below.
The Humanities Council recommends drafting the application in WORD, or other word processing system, prior to entering information into the online application.
To save your application and revisit it later, click the “Save and Resume Later” link at the bottom of any page. Doing so will provide a URL for your application as well as a prompt to enter your email address and receive the link via email. Without the link, the data you have entered cannot be retrieved, and you will have to start filling out the form at the beginning. You can open your application with the link for a period of 30 days. However, once changes are made to the application, you must obtain a new link. The previous link(s) will no longer work.
Only one user at a time may be active in the application. If more than one user is active in the application simultaneously, changes may not save.
Section 1. Sponsoring Organization
The Sponsoring Organization is the nonprofit organization that will be responsible for overseeing the grant, if awarded. The sponsoring organization makes significant programmatic contributions to the project. Major grants, media grants, and minigrants must be sponsored by a nonprofit. 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.
Section 2. Authorizing Official
The Authorizing Official is the CEO of the Sponsoring Organization, and the person who will submit the application.
Section 3. Project Director
The Project Director 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. The Project Director may NOT serve as the Fiscal Officer.
Section 4. Fiscal Officer
The Fiscal Officer 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.
Section 5. 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. The grant request amount must match the total of the grant request column in Section 9.
The Project Summary section also requires a brief project description summarizing the grant project and providing the reviewers a snapshot of the details inside the application
Section 6. Project Narrative
The Project Narrative should explain, in detail, the primary content and intended outcome(s) of the project outlined in the project summary. Project Narrative guidelines vary by type of grant; please review the appropriate instructions in the application for the type of grant proposal being completed. Each item in the instructions must be addressed in the Project Narrative.
Applicants should not assume specialized knowledge by the grant reviewer. Narratives should be free of jargon; definitions of technical terms, wherever used, should be expressly provided or clear to a layperson from context.
Section 7. Schedule of Activities or Events
Insofar as possible, provide a general schedule of all work, activities, and events associated with the grant project. At least one activity is required for all grants. Dates may be estimated or projected, with confirmation to come. If you are applying for a planning grant, include details of the meeting schedule 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.
While the proposed start date (Section 5) and some grant-related activities/events (Section 7) might take place before the grant award, grant recipients must allow at least 12 weeks (six weeks for minigrants) between the grant deadline and the start of any grant-funded portions of the project (activities supported with cash cost-share must also post-date the award).
Section 8. Scholars
The project must involve at least one humanities scholar, who will directly advise, offer direction on, or otherwise provide substantive contribution to the project. The humanities scholar associated with the project is expected to provide informed oversight regarding content, historical or cultural contexts, factual information, and/or information and research relevant to the project’s content.
As content-specific expertise is the quality a humanities scholar is expected to bring to any project, the appropriate credentials establishing that expertise may vary from project to project. For the purposes of grant applications made to the West Virginia Humanities Council, “humanities scholar” may be understood to mean (1) a credentialed academic scholar in the appropriate content field; (2) an expert practitioner in a living tradition upon which the project is centered; or (3) a community member with extensive and documented life experience in the content area upon which the project is centered.
Required information for each scholar includes name, contact information, and role in the project. The Council highly recommends including any documentable evidence of the humanities scholar’s expertise in the project’s content area, e.g. current employment; any academic degrees/disciplines or credentials; and any other evidence of expertise as may be relevant. It is the applicant’s responsibility to articulate the expertise of the project’s listed humanities scholar in such a way that an attentive grant reviewer can informally judge its merit.
If your project includes more than eight scholars, information on additional scholars may be included in an attachment (Section 10), but must be in the same format as laid out in Section 8.
Section 9. Detailed Budget
The detailed budget must provide a clear picture of how the applicant arrived at the grant request AND cost share amounts. Budget requests should be reasonable and reflect the actual costs of the project. When completing your budget, keep in mind the following:
The budget narrative explains how the applicant arrived at the expenditure category amounts for the grant amount requested, as well as the cost share amounts (including in-kind and cash). The budget narrative should list each expenditure category as a separate line item, and include both a short description of each item, and an indication of how that cost has been calculated. For example, if you are requesting mileage, explain where you are coming from, where you are going, and an estimate of the number of miles multiplied by the current state government reimbursement rate.
The detailed budget section of the application should also list other sources of funds pending or secured, if applicable. These details may also be explained in the budget narrative.
Section 10. Additional Material
Publication, media, and teacher institute grants require additional material (see links below).
For those grants that do not require additional material (major and minigrants), only 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). We do not accept letters of support or other miscellaneous addendums such as newspaper articles or cover letters.
Any information the grant review committee should consider must be included in the grant application, budget narrative, or project narrative. Budget spreadsheets, additional narrative, resumes/CVs (except for a Teacher Institute director) that are attached, rather than included in the application, will not be reviewed. If your project includes more than eight scholars, information on additional scholars may be included in an attachment, but must be in the same format as laid out in Section 8.
Materials that must be mailed to the Humanities Council must be postmarked on or before the grant deadline.
Section 11. Compliance and Signature
The authorizing official must confirm compliance with Council guidelines by clicking the box. They then must “sign” and submit the application.
Some grants have additional guidelines and/or requirements. Click the links below.
Before submission, confirm that all email addresses are correct. All notifications, including those regarding grant receipt confirmation, eligibility, and award/rejection, are made via email.
If you copy and paste narratives into the application, confirm that the entire passage has transferred. Some sections have word limits, and word count may be calculated differently than your word processing program.
We do not recommend copy/pasting spreadsheets into the application or tabbing to create columns. Applications are automatically reformatted when they are imported to the Council’s system, and your intended spacing may be lost or significantly altered during the import.
Once you submit the application, you will receive an email from Formstack with a copy of your submitted text. After the Council receives the application and confirms eligibility, the project director will receive an email with a copy of a reformatted application. We strongly suggest reviewing the application at this time and comparing it to your submission.
While you can share the application link, we do not recommend more than one person being in it at a time.
Application tips and information!
The Council gives special consideration to programs that:
Receiving a Humanities Council grant during one cycle does not guarantee that the project will be funded in a subsequent cycle. Each proposal is reviewed on its own merit within the grant cycle in which it is received. Successful completion of previous projects will reflect positively on an applicant, but will not necessarily assure funding. The Council encourages applicants to diversify support for projects from other sources in second and subsequent proposals.
A Note to Colleges and Universities
As led by our organization’s mission and by-laws, our primary commitment is to increase public access to high-quality humanities programming. When considering grant proposals, the Council’s review committee seeks to direct available funds to projects that share that commitment. Proposals from colleges and universities must demonstrate a commitment to reach an audience beyond the campus community. To be competitive, such proposals should show a commitment to community collaboration and partnerships, and a well-defined outreach/publicity plan.