Limited Submission Programs - NEH - Challenge Grants

Summary of Opportunity
NEH - Challenge Grants
OSP Deadline 04/26/13
Funding Agency Deadline 05/01/13
Funding or Award Criteria

Program Description: NEH challenge grants are capacity-building grants, intended to help institutions and organizations secure long-term improvements in and support for their humanities programs and resources. Through these awards, many organizations and institutions have been able to increase their humanities capacity and secure the permanent support of an endowment. Grants may be used to establish or enhance endowments or spend-down funds that generate expendable earnings to support and enhance ongoing program activities. Challenge grants may also provide capital directly supporting the procurement of long-lasting objects, such as acquisitions for archives and collections, the purchase of equipment, and the construction or renovation of facilities needed for humanities activities. Funds spent directly must be shown to bring long-term benefits to the institution and to the humanities more broadly. Grantee institutions may also expend up to 10 percent of total grant funds (federal funds plus matching funds) to defray costs of fundraising to meet the NEH challenge. Because of the matching requirement, these NEH grants also strengthen the humanities by encouraging nonfederal sources of support.

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 on the humanities, but instead should reflect careful strategic planning to strengthen and enrich the institution’s humanities activities and commitment to the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the humanities.

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. Award recipients might use federal challenge grant funds, as well as funds raised for matching, for purposes such as the following:

Through the income from endowments or spend-down funds (which are defined beneath the “Mode of expenditure” heading below), grantees could use challenge grant funds to support:

  • salaries and benefits for humanities faculty and staff;
  • acquisitions for collections;
  • faculty, teacher, and staff development;
  • research fellowships;
  • lecture or exhibition series;
  • visiting scholars or consultants;
  • publishing subventions; and
  • programs for preserving and conserving collections

Through direct expenditure, grantees could use challenge grant funds to support.

  • capital expenditures, such as the purchase, construction, or renovation of facilities (see “Special requirements for construction and renovation projects” in Section IV below);
  • acquisitions for collections;
  • the purchase of equipment and software; and
  • fundraising costs (totaling no more than 10 percent of all challenge grant funds—that is, federal funds plus matching funds).

Expenditures not eligible for support

Challenge grant funds, federal or nonfederal, may not be used for:

  • one-time or operating expenditures with minimal long-term impact;
  • recovery of indirect costs;
  • support for projects eligible for short-term grants from other NEH programs;
  • scholarships or stipends for students below the graduate level; or
  • programs or facilities designed for activities outside the scope of the humanities, such as the creation of art works, the performing arts, science education, non-humanistic aspects of the social sciences, or public policy advocacy. A proposal for a “Center for the Arts,” for example, must clearly demonstrate how the facility serves the humanities as well as the arts. Components of projects that deal with the visual or performing arts are eligible for NEH challenge grant funding only if they enhance the interpretation or analysis of the artistic form in question, using critical, historical, theoretical, or other humanities-oriented perspectives. Similarly, proposals in the social sciences must explain their significance for the humanities.
Applicable Field(s)  
Number of Nominees Allowed One (1) application
Required Internal Review Documents

Associate Deans or Designates should submit the following materials electronically to by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, 2013:

  1. Dean's or ORU Director's Letter of Nomination
  2. Two-page maximum lay abstract describing the aims/needs of the proposed research project.
  3. The bio sketch/CV of the UT PI

Your College may submit one (1) nomination for consideration.


**Note to Potential Applicants**

Internal review documents do not reflect the application requirements set forth by the sponsor. Please review solicitation carefully.

Nominee(s) Selected to Advance Dr. Thomas F. Staley, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Posting Date 03/21/13