Incubation Grants ($1,000 to $5,000) support projects that are in development. Whether you are planning a new endeavor or re-imagining an existing program, these grants support the thoughtful preparation of a program before implementation.


A meaningful question is the start of a great Incubation Grant proposal.

An Incubation Grant encourages you to set out a bold vision and see where it takes you. It might help you forge a new partnership or deepen an existing one, research a new topic or widen perspective on a current topic, talk to community stakeholders, or learn more about your audience. You might be planning a new program or taking a fresh approach to an existing one.

Since these grants support projects in development, we understand that preliminary ideas might change and evolve. We are most interested in hearing about the need you wish to address, your goals in starting this process, and how you plan to proceed. The most competitive proposals will articulate a vision, detail a plan, and commit to serving the needs of your identified audience(s).


NJCH’s online grant system incorporates all parts of the application process from the initial Intent to Apply up to final submission. The system will generate a unique URL that will enable your team to freely access the application system throughout the entire process.


Please read through the entire Grants section of our website to ensure that you are eligible to apply for a grant and to determine which type of grant best suits your project. The grant calendar will help you determine when all application materials are due and when your project can begin. The NJCH Calendar of Events also contains grant deadlines as well as information about upcoming grant workshops, if applicable.


The links are unique to their respective grants. The applications for each type of grant will only be active during each grant’s application period, but links to a printable version of the application are available all the time.


This will unlock the Intent to Apply form. The primary contact will also be sent an email which contains the unique URL for your application. Please save this email.


NJCH staff will review your submitted Intent to Apply and notify you if you are invited to submit an application. If you are invited to submit, we will unlock the full application, which will be accessible from the same URL as the Intent to Apply. We strongly recommend that you submit the Intent to Apply early. Occasionally, applicants are asked to submit a revised Intent to Apply.

5. SUBMIT A DRAFT (optional)

Invited applicants may submit one draft for review up to two weeks before the application deadline. We will offer feedback in advance of the deadline.


All invited applicants will be required to have a site visit or phone consultation prior to the application deadline. This is our opportunity to learn more about your proposed project and to answer any questions you might have about the grant application or process.


Final applications must be submitted through our online system by the 11:59 p.m. on the application deadline listed on the grant calendar. Materials submitted late will not be considered. Once your final application is submitted, you will not be able to make any changes.


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.
Incubation Grants are not small Action Grants because:
    • Incubation Grants support planning and development, not implementation, regardless of the size of the program. That means one might propose a $5,000 Incubation project, while someone else proposes a $2,000 Action Grant. Match the grant type to the appropriate stage of your project.
    • projects that do not focus on planning, development, research, or similar efforts will not be competitive Incubation Grant proposals, no matter how great the project may be

Questions about determining which funding might be best for your project? NJCH staff is always available to help you determine the most appropriate type of funding for your proposed project.

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!

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.


All project costs must be reasonable, necessary to accomplish project objectives, and incurred during the grant period. The budget submitted must include all project costs, not only those charged to NJCH grant funds, but also those that will be supported by the applicant organization or by other funding sources (cost share). Values assigned should be reasonable in relation to rates paid for similar work, current market prices, or fair rental charges.

NJCH re-grants federal funds that it receives from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Please consult your organization’s accountant or auditor to determine if you are subject to certain governmental audit requirements as a result of your receipt of these federal funds. The fiscal officer should follow standard accounting procedures. Since all grants may be subject to NJCH and NEH audit, grant recipients must maintain financial records for at least three years following submission of the final report.

  • Capital purchases or acquisitions of major equipment over $4,000 in value.
  • Food, beverage, and entertainment costs.
  • Costs incurred prior to or after the grant period.

Cost share is the portion of the project costs not covered by NJCH funds. The Council requires the applicant to provide at least a 100% match for the funds requested of NJCH. Cost share may be from the applicant organization and/or third party sources (individuals, foundations, corporations, etc.) other than the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Cost share may be from in-kind contributions (donated goods or services), monetary contributions, or from the applicant’s operating budget. Cost share may be applied to any project expense category.


Also known as “administrative costs,” “overhead,” and “general operating costs,” indirect costs are incurred by organization through the execution of its day-to-day activities but cannot be attached to a specific activity. They are the expenses that keep the lights on, give everyone a space to work and the equipment they need, pay for insurance, and manage financial transactions. Indirect cost equations will vary depending on the organization; NJCH staff can help you determine an appropriate amount for your project. Colleges and universities are not eligible to include indirect costs in their proposed budgets.


Any organization that receives a grant from NJCH will be required to have appropriate general liability coverage for their project and to list the Council as an additional insured. We recommend that you check with your insurance carrier to determine what costs may be incurred from these insurance requirements and incorporate those costs into your grant budget.



2018-2019 Incubation Grant Opportunities
Incubation Round 1

Intent to Apply: September 1 – September 21, 2018
Drafts accepted: Through October 5, 2018
Application Deadline: October 18, 2018
Award Notification: By December 28, 2018
Projects Begin: No earlier than January 1, 2019

Incubation Round 2

Intent to Apply: May 1 – May 24, 2019
Drafts accepted: Through June 7, 2019
Application Deadline: June 20, 2019
Award Notification: By August 30, 2019
Projects Begin: No earlier than September 1, 2019




Director of Grants & Programs
609-695-4838 x223