Humanities Iowa
100 Main Library Rm 4039
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
phone: (319) 335-4153 • fax: (319) 335-4154
email: info@humanitiesiowa.org

Major grants are awards of $3,001 to $10,000. If your grant request is for less than $3,001, please use the mini grant application. Media grant applicants should use this form but also consult the Special Guidelines for Media Projects, available on the web at http://www.humanitiesiowa.org/grants/major-grants-administration#MP (Please call our office if you need a hard copy.) Please read the following guidelines thoroughly to ensure your application is completed correctly.

A complete online major grant application consists of a cover sheet (page 1), budget form (page 2), the signed Agreement and Certifications form (page 3), budget worksheet, budget narrative, project narrative, and the one-page humanities evaluator description. Please do not send additional attachments, unless expressly requested by Humanities Iowa staff.

The Cover Sheet (part 1 of the application) provides information for our records on the project. It consists of your project’s title, contact information for yourself and the sponsoring institution that will act as fiscal agent to receive the funds and maintain records on the grant, and a short summary of the project.

Some definitions:

  • DUNS number – This is a nine-digit number assigned by Dun & Bradstreet, as part of the Data Universal Numbering System, to all organizations that may become federal grantees or contractors. An organization does not need a DUNS number to apply for a Humanities Iowa grant, but if you are awarded a grant, you will need to obtain one. This process is free and relatively simple, and our staff will be happy to help you with it.
  • Project Director – The person responsible for the overall management of the project, for serving as contact to Humanities Iowa, and for preparing final reports.
  • Organization’s Authorized Representative – The person with authority to sign the application on behalf of the organization (usually the executive director, president, or board chair). The Authorized Representative and the Project Director may be but do not need to be the same person.

The Budget Form (part 2 of application) and Budget Narrative.

Some definitions:

  • Operating Budget of Applicant Organization – The dollar amount of the annual operating budget of the sponsor organization. If a board-approved budget for the current fiscal year is not available, please indicate on the form.

Use the Humanities Iowa budget form (download link provided at start of application) to indicate all expenses and sources of revenue for the project. It must be accompanied by a budget narrative that specifically identifies the sources of all anticipated revenue and gives a line-by-line description of each item on the expenses section.

The total cost share for the project (combination of cash contribution and in-kind contribution) must at least equal the amount you are requesting from Humanities Iowa. In other words, the grant may cover no more than half the total cost of a project.

Cash Contribution includes cash provided by third parties as well as all contributions made by the applicant organization to the project. Anything the applicant organization contributes, including salary for people working on the project, purchase of supplies, space to carry out project activities, and services related to the project, should be included. If it is difficult to determine exact costs, the applicant should indicate in the budget narrative that costs are estimated.

In-kind Contribution is the dollar value of services, goods and space contributed to the project by third parties only. For example, if a consultant or speaker waives his or her normal fee, it may be reflected as an in-kind contribution, provided that the contribution is adequately documented. In-kind contributions must be itemized in the budget along with cash contributions to arrive at the project’s total cost.

Scholar fees or honoraria customarily range between $100 and $1,000, but this may vary depending on the demand for and availability of the scholar, amount of preparation needed, and the time spent on the project. Fees beyond this range for a single lecture must be justified in terms of a scholar’s importance to the project and the extent of his or her involvement. Humanities evaluators (required for a major grant) should receive $200 plus travel costs.

Domestic travel and subsistence allowances for scholars, presenters, and evaluator: $85 per day for food and lodging combined; mileage at $.40 per mile; airfare at economy rates.

Funds in the Humanities Iowa Grant Request column must be for direct costs associated with the humanities component of the project.

Examples of items that should not be included in the Humanities Iowa Grant Request column are: refreshments, dinners, or beverages for receptions or events that occur as part of the project; equipment purchases; and staff salaries, including that of the project director. Project expenses incurred or paid out before a Humanities Iowa grant is awarded may not be included in the budget.


The Project Narrative – Respond to each of the following topics in order, using no more than a total of five typed, single-spaced pages.

Applicant organization, planning committee and project director
Briefly explain why the applicant organization is particularly well suited to carry out the project. Explain the project director’s role and qualifications. List any collaborating organizations and their roles in the project. Name the planning committee members and their qualifications and roles in the project. Planning Committee should include humanities scholars and community members. This is especially important for university and college applicants that must prove they have made an effort to reach out-of school audiences.

Project Description
Describe the project, its activities and objectives. Where and when will activities take place? How will it stimulate an interest in history, literature or other humanities topics, or ideas that give meaning to our lives? What will people consider or learn? Does the project specifically address issues of ethnicity, diversity and identity? What materials will participants use, if any?

Who is the intended audience? How many people are estimated to attend or participate? In most cases, the “general adult public” is the intended audience. Please indicate if you have a more specific audience in mind, such as elderly people, parents in a particular school district, prison inmates. In exceptional circumstances Humanities Iowa will consider proposals for youth programs or intergenerational projects, but applicants are encouraged to call HI for consultation prior to submission of a request for such a program.

As you describe the activities, identify the people who will present information or conduct various activities. Who are the humanities scholars involved in the project, what are their credentials, and what will they contribute to the project.

If a product such as a video or audio tape, publication, oral history, poster, etc. results from the project, how will it be preserved, promoted and distributed to the public?

Publicity Plan
How will you attract an audience? Where and how will publicity be generated? If you are sending news releases or PSAs, please include the names of specific media to whom they will be sent (such as your area public radio station). If you are mailing brochures, postcards, etc., what mailing list are you using?

Evaluation Plan
How will you know whether you have succeeded in reaching your objectives? How will you be able to assess the program’s strengths and weaknesses at the conclusion of the project? How will your audience and presenters evaluate the effectiveness of the activities?
Humanities Iowa requires that an independent humanities evaluator evaluate programs receiving a Humanities Iowa Major Program Grant. The evaluator may not be employed by the applicant organization, involved in the planning of the project, nor appear to create any other conflict of interest. Applications must include the name of one humanities scholar to evaluate the project, and that individual must have already agreed to participate if approved. Please include a one-page sheet with the project narrative that lists the evaluator candidate’s name, contact information and credentials (a brief resume or curriculum vitae). The Humanities Iowa Board of Directors may approve the proposed evaluator or substitute an evaluator of its own choosing.


The Agreement and Certifications Form (part 3 of application). This certifies that you are eligible to receive funding from National Endowment for the Humanities and Humanities Iowa. Have the organization’s authorized representative sign the form and attach it to your completed application.

Applicants are encouraged to consult with grants staff by email or telephone. For additional information on this or other funding opportunities, click here.

Begin Application

Heather Plucar
Grants Administration Officer
Email: heather-plucar@uiowa.edu
Phone: (319) 335-4150