Frequently Asked Questions About Grants

Who can apply for NMHC grants?

Is my project eligible for an NMHC grant?

How are grant award decisions made?

What program topics are appropriate?

What if my project does not meet these criteria?

Are there strings attached?

Who are the required project personnel?

When are the grant consultation and application deadlines?

Who can apply for NMHC grants?

NMHC is authorized to award grants to private, nonprofit organizations in good standing including institutions of higher education and state, local, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments.  Organizations or groups that apply for funding must be constituted for nonprofit purposes, but it is not necessary that they be incorporated or have tax-exempt status.  NMHC does not award grants to individuals; they are required to partner with a private, nonprofit organization to serve as sponsor and applicant.

Successful applicants have included libraries, museums and historical societies; social civic and professional groups; public and private colleges and universities; public radio stations and independent radio producers; local humanities committees; churches and religious organizations; state and local government agencies; and ad hoc groups formed to conduct a project.

Is my project eligible for an NMHC grant?

Projects funded by NMHC are Public Humanities Programs:

Public:  Projects should connect the public with the humanities at no cost and be accessible.  Programs with nominal costs must demonstrate in the application how funds support program goals.  Audiences are expected to be primarily adults and families.  Programs are expected to be widely advertised and held at times and in locations accessible to the general public. 

**NOTE for Colleges and Universities**
NMHC accepts applications from colleges and universities that demonstrate a commitment to reach an audience beyond the campus community.  Applications should show community collaboration, a well-defined outreach and publicity plan and stated audience goals.

Humanities: The act that established the National Endowment for the Humanities says, “The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism, and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.” NMHC will also fund projects that deal with the historical and human values aspects of science and technology.

Programs: They may vary as widely as New Mexico’s communities and audiences. These programs bring scholars and the public together in a dialogue that enhances the civic and cultural life of the citizens of the state. For examples of recent programs funded by NMHC, please visit our website at www.nmhumanities.org, subscribe to the NMHC E-newsletter, or request a grant sample. Note the deadlines, and required consultations listed on the website.  Prospective applicants uncertain if their project qualifies are encouraged to call or email grant program officers at NMHC.

How are grant award decisions made?

Decisions to fund grant applications are made by the NMHC Board of Directors, as recommended by the Grant Committee. The funding process is a competitive one; more proposals are received than NMHC can support. Since the Board reviews only the written application, the materials submitted must clearly and effectively state the applicant's case. In making funding decisions, proposals are evaluated against NMHC guidelines.

The Grant Committee uses the Application Rating Sheet to evaluate each proposal in the defined areas:  Humanities, Proposal, Principals, Audience, Budget, Promotion and Evaluation.  Applicants are encouraged to assess their own projects with this Rating Sheet before consulting with NMHC staff and submitting their drafts.

Which program topics are appropriate?

The Council welcomes applications on any topic addressed from a humanities perspective. Previously funded projects have dealt with topics ranging from local history and culture to international affairs.  See a list of "Recently Funded Projects" on this website for examples of approved projects.

What if my project does not meet these criteria?

For questions about whether a project falls within NMHC guidelines, contact NMHC for a grant consult at 505-633-7370 or email: grants@nmhumanities.org.

Are there strings attached?

Grants are pass-through awards of Federal funds from the New Mexico Humanities Council.  Grant awards must be matched by other sources to equal or exceed the amount of the award.  This requirement can be satisfied entirely with in-kind contributions, such as donated facilities, services, and time or with sponsor's cash or program income. Federal pass-through grants require a lot of paperwork, with backup documentation and receipts kept in order for three years for auditing purposes.  Project Director and Fiscal Agent must both be aware of requirements and keep accurate and complete records for reporting purposes.

NMHC may award grants with conditions attached; for example, an organization may be required to revise the project budget or address stipulations set by the NMHC board.  No disbursal of funds will be authorized until the organization meets these conditions.

Who are the required project personnel?

Project Director - the person who directs the planning, implementation, completion, and evaluation of project activities and events. The project director is the primary contact for the project and bears responsibility for preparing and submitting the reports to NMHC. The project director receives all correspondence from the Council.

Fiscal Agent - a person, other than the project director, with the authority to represent the Sponsor Organization. This person signs the application with the understanding that he/she is certifying to NMHC that the Sponsor Organization is eligible to receive Federal funds and will comply with applicable Federal law if funds are awarded. The Instructions for Certification included in these Guidelines explain what this involves. This person must co-sign agreements and requests for payment with the Project Director. He/she will accept fiscal responsibility on behalf of the Sponsor Organization and will file reports if the Project Director cannot.

Humanities scholar(s) - individuals with specialized competence or training in one or more of the humanities disciplines, usually reflected in advanced degrees. Humanities scholars may also include community and tribal elders and historians, cultural specialists, tradition bearers, self-trained humanists, and other humanists working in a non-academic setting who can bring consideration of the humanities to bear on civic and community life.

Evaluator - an independent evaluator (someone with separation from the Sponsor Organization, project goals and objectives and who is not a participant) is required on all NMHC-funded projects. Evaluators are required to attend programs and assess the program's effectiveness related to the criteria outlined in the submitted Application. 

**Changes in any of the above personnel after submission of application
requires written notification**

When are the grant consultation and application deadlines?

Draft & Consultation Deadline

Application Deadline

Earliest Date
Program Can Begin

April 10

May 1*

Mid September

September 10

October 1*

January 1

* - Application Deadline is midnight, Mountain Daylight Time

Consultation and application deadlines will be posted on the NMHC website and updated as necessary. Please note, all returning and new grant applicants are required to schedule a grant consultation. 

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