Grants FAQs

Grants FAQs

What kinds of grants are available?

Public Humanities Grants, up to $10,000

To create exciting and engaging public programs that bring communities together to explore the humanities and meaningful issues, and connect to each other. 

Preservation and Access Grants, up to $10,000

To preserve resources that are important to a community, and to make them publicly accessible to researchers, students, and the general public.

When are the grant deadlines?

Spring 2022: TBD

Spring 2022: TBD

Fall 2021 grant lines replaced by SHARP grants.

What are the humanities?

The humanities help us explore more deeply what it means to be human and what matters to us. We explore our values and histories and philosophies. We challenge each other to pause, listen, and be curious about experiences that are not our own. The humanities help us explore our identities, and build community and connection. They help us remember who we are and where we are going together.

In the academy, the humanities fields of study include, history, philosophy, literary studies, languages and linguistics, film studies, archaeology, ethics, jurisprudence, art criticism and theory, cultural anthropology, sociology, political science, journalism, anthropology, folklore, ethnomusicology, performance studies, and more.


What makes a strong humanities program?

As the Hawaiʻi affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities, we are proud to uphold their values of research and expertise. A strong public humanities project has leadership who helps to shape, deepen, and evaluate the community program. This could be a scholar or archivist or librarian in a humanities field, or a recognized cultural consultant/practitioner. Having leadership on your project by someone recognized among their peers and community will make your grant application more competitive.

A strong public program benefits from a strong outreach and engagement plan and collaboration with community partners. Working closely with community partners will make your application more competitive.

We think of a humanities method as one that reaches for questions more than answers, and helps us think and wonder and explore together. Here are a few humanities questions that inspire our program work at Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities:

  • What do we value, what do we care about, and why do we do what we do—what does it mean to be human?
  • How do we become better listeners, more open to and curious about multiple viewpoints?
  • What does it mean to be grounded in Hawaiʻi’s peoples, stories, and places?
  • What is our kuleana to our communities’ histories and their futures?
  • How do we dive more courageously into important questions and ideas?
  • How can we create space for more diverse voices and experiences?
  • How can we connect in ways that strengthen our communities’ resilience and ability to change?


What kinds of projects and formats are eligible for funding?

We encourage originality and imagination in your public program plans. Please note that while grant funds can be used as to help create a resource, a good portion of the grant should be used for public programs that broaden perspectives, enrich lives and strengthen communities.


Examples of activities and formats include:
  • Organizing a panel and facilitated community discussion about challenging and relevant issues;
  • Developing thought-provoking community engagement for exhibitions, publications, films, or performances
  • Creating humanities guides or essays or other materials to complement a program and that provide access to expertise and deeper questions on the issue; 
  • Creating and launching media—film, podcasts, sound recordings, and online media;
  • Designing a collaboration between humanities and science communities that helps to more deeply explore a challenging and relevant issue
  • Community meetings, workshops, symposia, and similar gatherings for non-academic audiences;
  • Creating an interpretive exhibit that helps us dive more deeply into historical and contemporary issues 
  • Developing a guided tour of a historic site 
  • Developing a historical theater performance
  • Research in the humanities and presentation of results to the community;
  • Preserving an important cultural resource in a way that increases public access to the materials (e.g. creating an online archive or a database). 
  • For more examples, you can see a few of our past grantee projects HERE.


What kinds of programs are NOT ELIGIBLE for funding?
  • Projects characterized by political or religious advocacy or bias (e.g., political campaigning, advocacy events that promote a single point-of-view, lobbying, etc.)
  • Direct service providing (e.g., social, psychological legal, or health services, training or counseling programs)
  • Fellowships or scholarships
  • Academic or professional conferences for a non-public audience
  • College courses and seminars
  • Building, restoration and preservation capital projects
  • Purchase of land or capital equipment
  • Operational support and clearinghouse activities
  • Fundraisers or events for profit
  • Art activities or performances when these are ends in themselves, without examination of their social, historical, or aesthetic context


Where does HIHumanities Grants funding come from?

All Public Humanities and Preservation & Access Grants awarded by Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities are federal subawards from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. We acknowledge and thank the NEH for supporting the important work of caring for culture, history, civic connection, and the unique ways public humanities enrich our lives in Hawai’i.

Who may apply for Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities Grants?

Grant applications require a sponsoring nonprofit group or public institution based in Hawaiʻi. 


Who decides what projects get funded? 

A committee of HIHumanities Board members—with expertise in the humanities and diverse connections to multiple islands—discusses and ranks all applications within a review period, and makes a recommendation to the full Board for review and final approval. Full Board meetings are normally held in March, July, and December of every year.

What kinds of requirements are part of my application process?

DUNS and CAGE numbers
Grant applicants are required to have a valid DUNS number (Data Universal Numbering System) and to have a  currently registered CAGE number with the Federal SAM (System for Award Management). If your institution needs to obtain a free DUNS number, please follow the instructions HERE. To register with SAM and get a CAGE number, follow instructions HERE. IMPORTANT: If you do not already have a CAGE number, it will take 4-8 weeks to receive one. Please incorporate this timeline into your application process. Be sure to check with your executive administrator or finance administrator as your organization may already be registered.
Please note: Even though grants are a type of contract, when registering with SAM, your organization is applying for “financial assistance” rather than registering as a contractor.

For our Public Humanities Grants—Humanities Leader
A strong humanities project should include project personnel that provides guidance, rigor, and analysis, to develop a public program with depth, context, and complexity (i.e., multiple perspectives, connection to larger history, etc.). The Project Director can also be the Humanities Leadership. At least one Humanities Leadership name and a letter of commitment explaining their support, role, and commitment is required.

For our Preservation & Access Grants—Librarian or Archivist Leader
A strong project includes project personnel that can provide professional guidance, rigor, and analysis, and apply archival preservation standards and develop universal access using humanities indexing and cataloguing methods.   At least one Librarian or Archivist Leadership name and a letter of commitment explaining their support, role, and commitment is required.

What kind of support can I get for creating my application?

Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities dedicates a staff member to supporting our grantees. To learn more, please contact Director of Grants Stacy Hoshino, at shoshino@hihumanities.org, or by phone at 808-469-4551. If you are interested in a consultation about applying for a grant with us, be sure to contact Stacy Hoshino no later than two weeks before the grant application deadline.