Grant FAQ

What is the HCH’s grant-making philosophy?

HCH gives grants to projects that best support its mission, which is to connect people with ideas that broaden perspectives, enrich lives and strengthen communities.  Ideally, HCH-supported projects promote a better understanding and appreciation of the humanities among the general public in Hawai‘i.  This is based on the belief that the humanities are crucial to our personal and public lives.

What are the humanities?

The humanities are the study of what we think about ourselves, what we see as admirable behavior in other, what we think it means to be human.  The humanities engage us through stories and ideas and help us make sense of our own lives and the world around us.  By connecting us with other people through the examination and discussion of ideas about the human condition, the humanities afford us an understanding of how we lives as families, govern ourselves and participate in the global community.

The humanities employ certain methods or fields of study that allow for a “step-back” from reflecting on experience and provide a broader context and perspectives for thinking more deeply about our own and other cultures and times.  These fields of study include, but are not limited to, the following:  history; philosophy; literary studies; classical and modern languages; archaeology; ethics; comparative religion; jurisprudence; linguistics; and the history, theory and criticism of the arts; as well as fields within the social sciences, such as cultural anthropology, sociology and political theory, insofar as they address human values and ideas through philosophical and historical perspectives.

What is a humanities scholar?

A humanities scholar is a professional, trained in a discipline of the humanities, engaged primarily in research, writing or teaching in such a discipline, and most often functioning within the framework of an institution of higher education.  In this regard, a humanities scholar should have an advanced degree in a humanities discipline (M.A. or Ph.D.) and be active in that field.

In the case of independent scholars–those not associated with an academic institution–their resume should indicate evidence of acceptance by colleagues in their field.  For example, this might include publication of articles in journals within the field, such as The Hawaiian Journal of History.

Those who possess specialized knowledge or information or skill which they wish to contribute to a project and who do not fit the HCH definition of humanities scholar may participate in the project as a resource person.

What kinds of project activities and formats are eligible for HCH funding?

Funded projects take many forms, such as lecture series, panel discussions, interpretive exhibits, radio productions, websites, literature discussion groups, historical site brochures and much more.  Examples of eligible project activities and formats include:

  • Community meetings, workshops, symposia and similar gatherings of non-academic audiences;
  • Public lectures featuring speaker or panel presentations and general public discussion;
  • Interpretive exhibits with accompanying programs and humanities viewers’ guides;
  • Media and other audio-visual and new electronic formats;
  • Publication and public presentation of humanities materials of interest to the community;
  • Research in the humanities and presentation of results to the community; and
  • Preservation of humanities resources combined with enhanced public access to these materials (e.g. digitization of archival records and a finding aid for access).

What kinds of projects or activities are NOT ELIGIBLE for HCH funding?

The HCH does not provide support for the following kinds of projects:

  • Projects characterized by advocacy or bias or those who promote a single point of view;
  • Political or social action projects;
  • Social, psychological, legal or health services, training or counseling programs;
  • Fellowships or scholarships;
  • Academic or professional conferences involving those already familiar with the humanities;
  • College courses and seminars;
  • Building, restoration or preservation capital projects;
  • Purchases of land or capital equipment;
  • Operational support and clearinghouse activities; and
  • Art activities or performances when these are used as ends in themselves, without examination of their social, historical or aesthetic context.

What do successful humanities projects look like?

Successful humanities projects should promote public understanding and appreciation of the value and relevance of history, literature, philosophy, and cultural traditions.

Successful humanities projects can and do:  inform us how the present is rooted int he past; reveal the subtleties of our intellectual and cultural heritage that define who we are; help us to understand other societies and world views in an increasingly interdependent world; clarify and examine the fundamental beliefs of our society; and encourage us to ponder such enduring questions as the nature of justice, equality, truth and individual freedom and responsibility at a time of diminishing resources and increasing technological complexity.

What types of grants are available?

The HCH provides the following types of grants:

  • Preservation & Access
  • Publication Assistance
  • Regular

Who may apply for HCH grants?

Individuals may apply for Publication Assistance grants.  All other types of grants require a nonprofit group or public institution.  Sponsoring organizations or public institutions are usually based in the state of Hawai‘i or can demonstrate familiarity and access to some segment of the general public in the Hawaiian Islands.  The sponsoring organization must have a D-U-N-S (Data Universal Numbering System) number.  D-U-N-S numbers are free and easily obtained from Dun & Bradstreet.  Most likely your organization already has a D-U-N-S number.  Be sure to confirm with your administrative or grants office.  For more information, go to http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform.