Promotion of the Humanities Challenge Grants

To support educational and cultural institutions and organizations in order to increase their financial stability and to sustain or improve the quality of humanities programs, services, or resources.

Normally, institutions requesting an NEH challenge grant must raise three dollars in new donations
from nonfederal sources to receive each Federal dollar A special category of challenge grants is designed to help 2-year colleges secure long-term improvements in humanities activities.

Two-year colleges, along with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges and Universities, are required to raise two times the Federal award in new donations from nonfederal sources.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2016: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2017: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2018: No Current Data Available

Agency - National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities.

Website Address

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Alexandria Archive Institute Inc $ 366,581   2019-01-012028-12-31
Michigan State University $ 85,413   2020-05-012027-04-30
Bishop Museum $ 116,666   2022-09-012026-08-31
Cornell University $ 70,000   2021-07-012026-06-30
Northeastern University $ 435,249   2019-07-012026-06-30
University Of Kentucky Research Foundation, The $ 138,305   2021-06-012026-05-30
Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Inc. $ 40,000   2021-05-012026-04-30
Missouri Historical Socie $ 91,666   2021-05-012026-04-30
Philharmonic-symphony Society Of New York, Inc., The $ 500,000   2021-05-012026-04-30
San Jose State University Research Foundation $ 76,590   2021-05-012026-04-30

Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funds may be applied to a variety of institutional needs which an applicant has demonstrated serve both the humanities and the institution's long-term objectives.

The major purpose of an NEH Challenge Grant is to help institutions and organizations attain or sustain a high level of quality in humanities programs or activities by building long-term capital resources.

The most common expenditure of grant and matching funds is the creation or augmentation of endowments.

Also possible are direct expenditures such as library acquisitions, technological enhancement, construction and renovation, and other costs clearly attributable to improvements in humanities programs and activities.

Funds may not be used directly for general operating support or undergraduate scholarships and prizes or for short-term projects or projects eligible for support from other NEH programs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Any public or private U.S.

nonprofit institution or organization working wholly or in part within the humanities may apply, including the following: two-year and four-year colleges; universities; museums; historical societies; research libraries; public libraries; advanced study centers; media organizations; university presses; professional societies; or state humanities councils.

State and local governments and U.S.

Territories are eligible to apply on their own behalf or on behalf of nonprofit institutions, associations or organizations within their jurisdictions.

Individuals and public and private elementary and secondary schools or school districts are not eligible to apply.

Beneficiary Eligibility

All applicant organizations and institutions and all users of their humanities resources, programs, or activities.


. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

None required, but preliminary discussion with Endowment staff and the submission of a draft application at least six weeks before the deadline are strongly encouraged.

The standard application forms as furnished by the Endowment and required by OMB Circular No.

A-102 must be used for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No.

A-102 and E.O.


Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. Applications to NEH must be submitted via Guidelines and application instructions are available online at

Award Procedures

Applications are reviewed by administrators of humanities institutions, panels of scholars, and other appropriate individuals. Awards are made by the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities after recommendation by the National Council on the Humanities.


Jul 29, 2017 to Nov 29, 2017: Challenge Grants. November 29, 2017 for all challenge grants. Deadlines are receipt deadlines. Write or call the NEH Office of Challenge Grants.


National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, as amended, Public Law 89-209, 20 U.S.C 951.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

> 180 Days. Seven months (approximately 210 days) after the deadline.


None, but applicants may request written reasons for rejection and reapply at the next appropriate deadline with a revised proposal.


> 180 Days. Eligibility to apply for a subsequent award begins in the third year after the close of the previous challenge grant.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. Matching Requirements: All challenge grant funds are matching funds. Grantees must raise three nonfederal dollars for every federal dollar offered, except that Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and two-year colleges are required to raise two times the Federal award. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

From one to five years. Funds must be expended during the grant period. Funds expended include funds deposited into an income earning account. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Federal funds up to the amount offered in any year are released as matching amounts are certified to the Endowment and minimum annual matching requirements are met.

Post Assistance Requirements


Program reports are not applicable.

Cash reports are not applicable.

Narrative progress reports are required biennially; reports on nonfederal contributions raised and sources of giving are required annually.

Final narrative and financial reports are due within 90 days after the grant ending date.

Expenditure reports are not applicable.

Performance monitoring is not applicable.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In addition, grants are subject to inspection and audits by NEH and other Federal officials.


To be retained by the grantee for three years from the date of submission, with copies to be submitted with gift certifications, of the final narrative and financial reports. Records include financial documentation on all matching gifts and on all expenditures of Federal and matching funds.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Project Grants) FY 16 $8,836,549; FY 17 est $7,414,400; and FY 18 Estimate Not Available(Exp: Awaiting final FY18 Appropriatio) - FY'12 obligations Include additional funding provided by We the People. See 45.168 PROMOTION OF THE HUMANITIES-WE THE PEOPLE.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Applicants may request up to $1,000,000 in Federal funds over 4 years. In fiscal year 2016, the largest award offered was $425,000, the smallest was $5,939; and the average award was approximately $113,400.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

45 CFR 1100 and 1105. Guidelines are available online at and upon request from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC 20506. Available from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, is the Endowment's official publication, 'Humanities' by subscription (6 issues annually, $24.00 domestic, $30.00 foreign).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Office of Challenge Grants, Room 420, National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, District of Columbia 20506 Email: Phone: (202) 606-8309.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

To reach decisions about funding, all reviewers of Challenge Grants applications are asked to evaluate the existing and potential quality of an applicant's programs in the humanities, its needs, management, and fund-raising capability. In light of the goals of the Challenge Grants Program, reviewers assess each application in accordance with the following criteria: (1) The significance of existing and planned humanities activities. (2) The appropriateness of institutional resources and plans. (3) The impact of challenge grant funds. (4) The feasibility of fund raising. Applicants for second or subsequent awards must describe and assess the effects of their prior awards.

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