Public Program Grants

Keith Iding

Once each year, Oregon Humanities’ volunteer board of directors awards Public Program Grants between $1,000 and $10,000 in support of programs across Oregon that explore challenging questions and strive for just communities.

Letters of interest for 2020 grants were due on Thursday, October 17, 2019. The period for letters of interest is now closed.

Oregon Humanities has limited grant funds to award and is committed to funding programming that centers those most affected by a topic in order to elevate perspectives that have historically been undervalued and particularly programming based in and led by rural communities and/or communities of color. Programs can be in multiple languages or be in a language other than English. 

Oregon Humanities is committed to intentionally challenging and dismantling disproportionately oppressive systems. We devise and implement policies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in order to build a culture of transparency, trust, and accountability internally and in the work we do externally.


Oregon Humanities’ Public Program Grants support a diversity of program subjects and formats that explore challenging topics and fit the following criteria.

Centering those most affected

  • Program planning, topics, content, and outreach should respond to and engage with the life experiences, perspectives, and knowledge held by those most impacted by the topic.

Help communities explore complex topics

  • Program format and content should help participants deepen their understanding of the topic and its complexities. Organizations should demonstrate why they are the ones to be leading this programming on the topic.

Build community voice and power

  • Programming should demonstrate a strategy to elevate the perspectives and life experiences of those who are most impacted by the program’s topic and build towards addressing challenging topics in the community.

Timely and Responsive 

  • Program topic should demonstrate relevance to or feedback from the community and the intended audience(s) of the program. 

Oregon Humanities funds a wide variety of programs and activities. For example: community dialogues, lectures, online engagements, storytelling formats that elevate undertold experiences, programming connecting exhibits to current experiences, inter and intra cultural events.

We Do Not Fund

We do not support lobbying or fundraising activities; unallowable costs such as alcohol, entertainment, or first-class travel; or activities that advocate for a particular political or social party, agenda, or action. All Public Program Grant funds awarded by Oregon Humanities are federal in origin. 

In addition, Public Program Grants do not fund the following:

  • The production and creation of films, visual arts, performances, books, and publications
  • Host fees for Conversation Project events, fees for Facilitation Training by Oregon Humanities, or other Oregon Humanities programming
  • Scholarships, fellowships, or awards
  • Ticket fees
  • Capital projects (i.e., renovation or purchase of buildings or land)
  • Programs that do not meet the non-discrimination statutes outlined in the Certifications section of this document


Organizations applying for a Public Program Grant must meet the following requirements to be eligible for funding:

  • Be incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Oregon or be a federally recognized tribe in Oregon. Nonprofit applicants can be registered as a 501(c)(3) organization located in Oregon or be registered with the State of Oregon as a charitable organization. All awardees must be able to complete an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) W-9 form in order to receive payment from Oregon Humanities:
  • Have an organizational budget under $1.5 million for the last completed fiscal year if the applicant is not a federally recognized tribe.
  • Obtain a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number and register with the System for Award Management (SAM). (See explanation below.) 
  • Have successfully closed out all prior Public Program Grants with Oregon Humanities prior to the Letter of Interest deadline. It is ok to have an open Responsive Program Grant that is in good standing.
  • Not be the recipients of Public Program Grants in the previous two cycles. As a result, organizations awarded a Public Program Grant in both 2018 and 2019 are not eligible to apply for a 2020 Public Program Grant and must wait until the 2021 grant cycle to be eligible to apply again.
  • Only submit one Public Program Grant application per cycle.

Organizations may apply as co-applicants if both meet eligibility requirements. Co-applicant organizations assume cost-sharing responsibilities for program revenue and/or expenses.

Organizations that are not nonprofits may apply using a fiscal sponsor if the fiscal sponsor meets the eligibility requirements. Fiscal sponsoring organizations may have a budget over $1.5 million but cannot have a role in planning, coordination, or delivery of the program associated with the grant. Fiscal sponsors must be incorporated as nonprofits in the state of Oregon or be one of Oregon’s federally recognized tribes. Please contact Oregon Humanities prior to initiating a grant proposal to discuss fiscal sponsorships.

Public Program Grant funds originate from federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. A requirement for all applicants of federal funds is to register with the System of Award Management (SAM) at SAM is a web-based, government-wide application that collects, validates, stores, and disseminates business information about the federal government's trading partners in support of the contract awards, grants, and electronic payment processes. If you have not registered with SAM, your organization will be required to submit a notarized letter stating you are the authorized entity administrator before SAM will activate your registration in For organizations that have registered for a SAM account in the past but have not renewed their registration within the past year, you will need an active registration to receive an award. For organizations who have never registered for a SAM, the process can take up to sixty days.

It is important to begin this process while completing your Letter of Interest application because you will be required to produce proof of registration with SAM to submit a full proposal.

 If you have questions about this process please contact Kyle Weismann-Yee at or 503-241-0543 x112.

Apply and read more about requirements here.