ACTION GRANTS

Action Grants ($2,000 to $20,000) support the implementation of new projects or expand existing programs. The most competitive applications describe audience needs and propose ways to address them through the humanities.


GRANT OVERVIEW

If you know what to do and have a plan to launch your project, an Action Grant is for you.

These grants can help you implement new projects developed through previous Incubation Grants or other planning processes. Or they can support the continuation or expansion of longstanding programs. We encourage you to set a bold vision for your programming and experiment with new topics and program designs.

ACTION VS. INCUBATION

Action Grants are different from Incubation Grants because:
  • The majority of the work of the grant project is about implementation – not planning – regardless of the size of the grant. A small event might only require a $3,000 Action Grant while a large planning process might require a $15,000 Incubation Grant.
  • These projects are ready for prime time. A strong Action Grant proposal will be able to clearly articulate a program’s objectives, plan, and timeline.
  • Even very new projects can be appropriate for Action Grants. If the planning and development work has been done and the pilot is ready to go, your project will be more competitive as an Action Grant. If there is still substantial planning and development you wish to do, then an Incubation Grant is a better option.
  • You know what and who you need to make your project successful. You are able to articulate all the component parts through your grant application and budget. There are very few questions you have left to answer before you’re ready to get the show on the road.

Still not sure if this grant is right for your project? NJCH staff is available to help you determine the appropriate type of funding for your proposed project.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A COMPETITIVE PROPOSAL

The most competitive grant proposals support one or more of the Council’s primary goals:
  • to build new audiences for the humanities.
  • to bring people of different perspectives and backgrounds together.
  • to innovate new program models.
  • to create lively humanities opportunities around the state.

Action Grants focus on implementation. Only projects that are clearly ready to be implemented will be competitive in this type of grant.

Consider the following questions and tips as you develop your application:
  • There are no exceptions to our application deadlines. Early is the new on time. Do not wait until the last minute!
  • Tell us a story. Quantifiable data is a huge selling point, but we also want to know why you’re doing what you’re doing and why it’s significant.
  • Your audience is the heart and soul of your project. Who are you serving and what role do they play in your project and for your organization?
  • Questionable budgets strike fear in the heart of funders. Remember the three bears and make your budget just right (it’s a bad idea to inflate or to underestimate your expenses).
  • Keep it simple. Avoid generalizations, flowery language, and hyperbole. Don’t write more than you need to. And by all means – proofread!
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. It’s great if you can reach a lot of people with your program or make a big splash. But it’s also great to allow a smaller group to explore an idea with considerable depth.

NJCH staff is here to help. Promise! We can help you conceive your project, give feedback on a draft of your application, help you find a scholar or other expert, connect you with an evaluator, help you identify community partners, and so much more. We also provide workshops that help you understand the grant program and delve deeply into its most important aspects.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

Each Action Grant proposal is evaluated on the following measures:

Humanities
The project deeply engages with the humanities and relies on informed resources to pursue complex questions and ideas. It creates opportunities for learning and pushes participants towards broader perspectives. It includes at least one humanities expert on the project team.

Audience
The project is designed to serve an audience or community. It involves the public in its conception and execution, either before, during, or after the grant period. The applicant seeks to engage underrepresented or underserved audiences and finds ways to bring together people of different backgrounds and experience. Rather than presenting information to passive participants, the project offers opportunities for dialogue or response.

Significance
Applicant has a clear vision for the project and has set goals. The project is connected to the organization’s mission and objectives. The project is meaningful for the organization and its public, fuels creativity, and pushes the organization to expansive and ambitious thinking.

Plan and Budget
The project is supported by a well-conceived plan, identifies clear outcomes or deliverables, and articulates a reasonable budget that reflects the work plan. Budget shows thoughtful consideration of what will be needed to implement the project.

Assessment
The applicant articulates a plan for assessing project results and determining next steps. Assessment criteria are clearly connected to the project’s goals.

Capacity
The organization is capable of executing the proposed project and has assembled an appropriate project team to do so.

UPCOMING DEADLINES

 

2019-2020 GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Please note: Organizations can apply for either Incubation or Action Grants during each grant round.

ROUND 1

Intent to Apply: September 1, 2019 - September 15, 2019
Drafts accepted: Through October 7, 2019
Application Deadline: October 17, 2019
Incubation Award Notification: By December 28, 2019
Action Award Notification: By January 31, 2020
Projects Begin: Within 3 months of award notification

ROUND 2

Intent to Apply: February 1, 2020 - February 15, 2020
Drafts accepted: Through March 9, 2020
Application Deadline: March 19, 2020
Incubation Award Notification: By May 29, 2020
Action Award Notification: By June 30, 2020
Projects Begin: Within 3 months of award notification

QUESTIONS

 

GIGI NAGLAK

Director of Grants & Programs
gnaglak@njhumanities.org
609-695-4838 x223