AHA–NEH Grants to Sustain and Advance the Work of Historical Organizations

The AHA’s Grants to Sustain and Advance the Work of Historical Organizations Program provides $2.5 million to support dozens of small history-related organizations adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants, ranging from $10,000 to $75,000, fund short-term projects that explore new ideas or build on experiments initiated during the pandemic—from virtual programming or online publications to using new technologies or expanding audiences and accessibility. We encourage proposals for both ambitious new initiatives as well as smaller projects that address problems that have arisen because of the pandemic.

Membership associations, site- or location-based institutions (including online entities), and history and humanities departments at historically Black and tribally controlled colleges and universities (HBCUs and TCCUs) are eligible to apply. Projects may begin as early as April 1, 2022, and the grant period may not exceed one year. Grant periods must conclude by July 31, 2023.

During the project period, successful applicants will gather during AHA-hosted online workshops to cultivate community and mutual consultation among grantees. Two workshop series will provide opportunities for professional and organizational development and networking. The first workshop series will bring together similar organizations. The second will include all grantees pursuing similar projects with different approaches. Our goal is to encourage long-term connections that both identify and respond to the new needs of entities that are essential to the work of historians, but often too small to take risks, or lack the resources to implement the creativity of their staff and volunteers.

Eligibility

Organizations must be 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, accredited public and 501(c)(3) institutions of higher education, state and local governmental agencies, or federally recognized Native American tribal governments.

Organizations must have annual budgets of $750,000 or less and fall into one of three categories:

  • membership associations
  • site- or location-based institutions, including online entities
  • history and humanities departments at historically Black and tribally controlled colleges and universities (HBCUs and TCCUs)

Organizations that received American Rescue Plan funds directly from NEH (through the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Organizations program) are NOT eligible.

Note: NEH requirements prohibit the use of grant funds for the following:

  • overlapping project costs with any other pending or approved application(s) for federal funding and/or approved federal awards
  • competitive regranting
  • cancelation costs
  • pre-award costs incurred more than 90 days before the subrecipient's period of performance
  • equipment costs in excess of 20% of total project costs
  • travel (both foreign and domestic)
  • construction, purchase of real property, major alteration and renovation
  • collections acquisition
  • preservation, organization, or description of materials that are not regularly accessible for research, education, or public programming promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view
  • advocacy of a particular program of social or political action
  • support of specific public policies or legislation
  • lobbying
  • projects that fall outside of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, autobiographies, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and quantitative social science research or policy studies)
  • for any eligible American organization located overseas, support of non-US citizens
  • unallowable expenses as defined in 2 CFR 200 Subpart E - Cost Principles.

Application Process

Log into your MY AHA account at historians.org/myaha and click “Available Application Forms” in the AHA Awards, Grants, and Jobs section. (Note: If you don't have an account, create one for free at historians.org/createaccount.)

  1. Select the applicable grant based on your organization type (membership associations, site- or location-based institutions including online entities, or HBCUs/TCCUs). Fill in the application form, which includes your contact information.
  2. Upload an Application Packet. Please assemble the requested materials in advance and combine them into a single PDF in the order listed below. The narrative portion of the application packet should be no longer than 3–6 pages. The length of each section of the narrative might vary by amount of requested funding and type of project. Organizations requesting funding for smaller projects will likely have shorter narratives. Application packets must include the following:

    1. Application Cover Sheet (click here to download fillable form)
    2. Narrative (3–6 pages total). Please include the following sections in your narrative.
      1. Summary Statement (1 page). Provide a brief description of the project. Clearly state the importance of the proposed work to the organization and its relevance to the promotion of historical work, historical thinking, and/or the presence of history in public life. State the amount of funding requested.
      2. Impact of COVID-19 (1–2 pages). Reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the organization; the organization's response to it; what has been learned from the experience; and how the organization envisions moving forward. Be sure to clearly explain the current institutional situation and any contextual issues such as the work of peer institutions and the relevant funding environment.
      3. Description of Proposed Project (1–3 pages). Provide details regarding the program, its purpose, and goals. Explicitly address how this program meets organizational needs and/or opportunities identified because of the pandemic and how grant funds will supplement the organization's existing resources. Articulate the organization's experience relating to the proposed activity (if applicable). The project description might include: how the project fits within existing organizational activities; audiences who will be served; how the project will be staffed from inception through closeout; and success will be measured.
    3. Work Plan (1 page). Provide a work plan, including a timeline of the approximate dates of milestones within the proposed project. The work plan should reflect major activities described in the narrative and project dates.
    4. Resumes of Key Personnel. Provide brief resumes (2 pages max) or bios for all key personnel, including the head of the organization, project staff who will manage the project, and other principal staff who will be involved.
    5. Project Budget (click here to download and complete the Excel file and then convert to a PDF).
    6. Project Budget Justification (1–2 pages). Provide the information requested to support the budget. The budget justification must specifically describe how costs have been calculated and how each item will support the proposed objectives. Please include any quote(s)/estimate(s) from vendors. Explain any exclusions applied to the indirect costs calculation.
    7. Indirect Costs Agreement (if claiming indirect costs). If the organization is claiming indirect costs and has a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, submit a copy of the agreement. If the organization does not have a negotiated rate, this attachment is not required.

Selection Process

These grants are intended to mobilize public resources for the promotion of historical work, historical thinking, and/or the presence of history in public life. Successful applicants will demonstrate how effectively the proposed ideas and programs speak to this purpose, how capable they are of implementing those ideas, and how the specified plan of action is likely to be successful.

Selection committees for each of the three categories of applicants (membership associations, site- or location-based institutions, and HBCUs/TCCUs) will review applications. Each five-member review committee will include scholars and stakeholders from each category familiar with the relevant landscape.

Applicants will be notified of the committees’ decisions by email no later than March 1, 2022.

Questions?

The AHA will host a pre-application webinar on Friday, November 5, 2021, at 1 p.m. ET to to provide an overview of the program and answer questions about the application process.  Register here.  The webinar will be recorded and available on the AHA's website following the live broadcast.

The AHA recognizes that organizations that most need financial support are often those with the least capacity to apply for grants due to inadequate resources and staffing. If you feel you need support in developing your application or if you have questions about eligibility or the application process, please contact the AHA project director Dana Schaffer.