National Endowment for the Humanities: Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants
Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants seek to strengthen the institutional base of the humanities by enabling infrastructure development and capacity building. Grants aim to help institutions secure long-term support for their core activities and expand efforts to preserve and create access to outstanding humanities materials.
Challenge grant funds (both federal and nonfederal together) must enhance the humanities in the long term. Challenge grant funds should not merely replace funds already being expended, but instead should reflect careful strategic planning to strengthen and enrich an institution’s humanities activities. Institutions may use challenge grant funds to meet both ongoing and one-time humanities-related costs, provided that the long-term benefit of the expenditure can be demonstrated.
Activities supported by the Challenge Grant program include:
1. Capital expenditures such as the design, purchase, construction, restoration or renovation of facilities and historic landscapes and the purchase of equipment and software.
2. The sharing of collections. Grants are available to individual institutions and consortia for the sharing of collections through single exhibitions as well as through exhibition series.
3. Investment in a restricted, short-term endowment or other investment fund (or spend-down funds) to support the following activities:
- Documenting cultural heritage materials that are lost or imperiled
- Sustaining digital scholarly infrastructure
- Preserving and conserving collections
Applicants may combine activity types in a single project. Challenge funds invested in an endowment (spend-down funds) must, however, be used to support only the activities detailed in the bullets immediately above. Fundraising costs (totaling no more than 10 percent of all challenge funds (federal matching plus certified gifts) may be used for fundraising costs incurred during the period of performance.
Amount: Grants may range up to $750,000 but generally will not exceed $500,000. Recipients must provide a match that is three times the amount of federal funds for grants up to $500,000 and four times the amount of federal funds offered for grants in excess of $500,000. Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and two-year colleges are required only to match the federal funds offered on a one-to-one basis (whatever the size of the grant).
Eligibility: Colleges and universities; museums, public libraries; research institutions; historical societies and historic sites; scholarly associations; state humanities councils; public agencies (other than elementary and secondary schools and school districts); federally recognized Native American tribal governments; and U.S. nonprofit institutions with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status that work wholly or in part with the humanities; and other nonprofit humanities entities.
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