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 get people together to explore challenging questions and strive for just communities.

Our applications for letters of interest for 2019 grants closed on October 21, 2018. All applicants received notification about the status of their application by November 14, 2018.

You can download these guidelines in PDF format here for future reference.

We support a diversity of program subjects and formats that encourage broad public participation and fit the criteria below. We are particularly interested in funding programs that creatively and innovatively engage participants. Programs can be in multiple languages or be in a language other than English, but applications and reporting must be submitted in English.

  • Engage community members as active participants, not just as an audience
    How will the subject matter and format of the proposed program invite active participation, move people intellectually and emotionally, and encourage people to think in fresh and different ways?
  • Explore issues or ideas from a variety of perspectives
    How will the proposed program invite or consider differing perspectives around a given issue or idea?
  • Help participants make meaning for themselves and their community
    How will the proposed program pose questions and explore ideas openly and broadly, as well as invite participants to think about how and why the subject matter connects to their own lives and/or community?
  • Respond to an important community opportunity or challenge
    How will the proposed program be timely, relevant, and meaningful to the community or communities in which it takes place?
  • Involve community partnerships
    How will the proposed program be of interest to audiences outside of the applicant organization and, as possible, involve other organizations or groups in the planning and implementation?

We will support an organization's efforts to engage the public with completed media, such as a film, book, or performance, if those engagement efforts fit the criteria above. We will support the creation of content or media, such as blogging, podcasts, or oral histories, if such efforts are part of a larger, community-based program that fits the criteria above.

All applicants must demonstrate how a proposed program benefits and is open to members of the general public, who must form a significant portion of participants.

All applicants must be in a good financial position and demonstrate capacity to undertake the proposed program.

We do not fund the following:

  • Programs that are not open to the general public
  • Organizational marketing efforts
  • Multiyear requests
  • Individual research or activities
  • Courses for credit or school-based programs
  • Scholarships, fellowships, or awards
  • Event tickets
  • Health and social service delivery
  • Film production
  • Writing or publishing projects
  • Visual arts, performances, or living histories
  • Capital projects (i.e., renovation or purchase of equipment, buildings, or land)
  • Museum collection acquisition
  • Permanent staffings
  • Host fees for Conversation Project events or other Oregon Humanities programming

All grant funds awarded by Oregon Humanities are federal in origin. 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.


How to Apply

Before applying for a Public Program Grant, we encourage applicants to look at previously-funded programs and be familiar with the mission and values of Oregon Humanities. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Kyle Weismann-Yee to discuss program ideas at (503) 241-0543 or (800) 735-0543, ext. 112, or

Step One: Letter Of Interest

Complete the online letter of interest form by 11:59 p.m. on October 21, 2018. Letters submitted in any other format will not be considered. Please do not send supplemental materials. The program director listed in the letter of interest will receive a confirmation email when you submit your letter of interest.

Applicants and coapplicants may submit only one letter of interest per grant cycle. Once the deadline has passed, Oregon Humanities grant staff will contact the program director regarding whether a full proposal will be invited.

Not all eligible applicants will be invited to submit full proposals.

Step Two: Grant Proposal

If a full proposal is invited, you will be asked to provide answers to a series of questions about your program and to complete a one-page budget form. Proposals must be submitted via our online system by 11:59 p.m. on December 16, 2018. The link to the online proposal form will be sent to the program director listed in the letter of interest. Please do not submit supplemental materials. The program director listed in the full proposal will receive a confirmation email when you submit your proposal.

Oregon Humanities has limited grant funds to award. Not all eligible applicants will receive funding, nor will all applicants receive the full amount requested.

Funding Priorities

Oregon Humanities has limited grant funds to award. Not all eligible applicants will receive funding, nor will all applicants receive the full amount requested. Due to our limited grant funds and commitment to making humanities programming available in communities who've historically lacked access to funding and humanities programming opportunities, Oregon Humanities staff and grants committee takes into consideration whether proposed programming is based in and led by rural communities and/or communities of color. We also accept and encourage proposals from organizations or proposed programming that do not directly meet these funding priorities. 

We have revised our 2019 application to learn how the proposed programming fits with Oregon Humanities funding priorities. If you have questions, or would like to talk about your proposal and whether it is a potential fit for our Public Program Grants program, please contact program coordinator Kyle Weismann-Yee at (503) 241-0543 or (800) 735-0543, ext. 112, or


By signing and submitting the letter of interest form, the executive director of the applicant organization or institution and the program director are providing the applicable federal certifications regarding compliance with nondiscrimination statutes, debarment, and suspension, as follows:

Certification regarding debarment, suspension, ineligibility, and voluntary exclusion—lower-tier covered transactions, 45 CFR 1169: (a.) The prospective lower-tier participant (applicant) certifies, by submission of this proposal, that neither it nor its principals is presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in this transaction by any federal department or agency. (b.) Where the prospective lower-tier participant is unable to certify the statements in the certification, such prospective participant shall attach an explanation to this proposal.

Certification regarding nondiscrimination statutes: The applicant certifies that it will comply with the following nondiscrimination statutes and their implementing regulations: (a.) Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), which provides that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity for which the applicant received federal financial assistance; (b.) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance; (c.) Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance; (d.) Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended (42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance, except that actions which reasonably take age into account as a factor necessary for the normal operation or achievement of any statutory objective of the program or activity shall not violate this statute.



Letters of interest Submitted online by 11:59 p.m. October 21, 2018
Invited proposals Submitted online by 11:59 p.m. December 16, 2018
Award decisions announced Late February 2019
Funded programs begin After April 1, 2019



Organizations with budgets under $1.5 million and incorporated as nonprofits in the state of Oregon, as well as Oregon's federally recognized tribes, are eligible to apply. Nonprofit applicants do not need to be federally recognized 501(c)(3) organizations. We encourage proposals from groups across the state, including those organizations that may not define their mission as humanities-based.

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.

Organizations that have an open Responsive Program Grant may apply for a Public Program Grant in support of a different project.

Organizations may apply as coapplicants if both meet eligibility requirements. Coapplicant organizations assume cost-sharing responsibilities for program revenue and/or expenses.

Organizations are not eligible if any of the following apply:

  • They do not meet the eligibility requirements listed above
  • A final report from an earlier Oregon Humanities grant is outstanding
  • An earlier Oregon Humanities grant is still open
  • They have already applied for a Public Program Grant in the current grant cycle

Organizations that do not meet the eligibility requirements above but are developing programming that fits with the criteria outlined above are encouraged to collaborate with community partners or other organizations that are eligible to apply for Oregon Humanities funding.


Timeline/Grant Periods

All program expenses and activities must take place during the grant period defined in the proposal. Grant periods begin on the first day of the month during which expenses are incurred or activities take place and end on the last day of the month during which expenses and activities cease. When defining your grant period, please remember that all 2019 Public Program Grant programs must begin after April 1, 2019.


Oregon Humanities Funding Requests

Oregon Humanities has limited grant funds to award. The average Oregon Humanities grant is $4,500.

Requested Oregon Humanities funding may support program-related expenses including but not limited to salaries/volunteer hours, benefits, honoraria, travel, supplies and materials, printing and duplication, postage and telephone, equipment and services (including audio and video documentation of the program for preservation or dissemination purposes), facilities rental, publicity, and ADA access.

Additionally, applicants may request an indirect cost rate of up to ten percent of the total request to Oregon Humanities. Indirect costs are costs that are incurred by an organization in the execution of its activities but which cannot be easily connected to a particular activity, including (but not limited to) the following: general overhead costs, such as bank, payroll processing and audit fees; liability insurance; office equipment purchases or maintenance not directly related to the project.


Matching Requirement and Cost Share

Your Oregon Humanities Public Program Grant request should not constitute more than fifty percent of your program budget. All requests must be matched at least dollar-for-dollar with earned, contributed, or in-kind revenue from the applicant or coapplicant. Unallowable costs such as alcohol, entertainment, or first-class travel may not be used for cost share.

Funding provided for the program by the applicant and coapplicant, including grants or cash contributions received from third parties that are applied to the program, constitute cash cost share. Staff salaries and benefits, supplies, and program admission or registration fees (which must directly support the grant activities) are all part of the applicant's cash cost share.

In-kind cost share is the dollar value of goods, services, space, and volunteer time contributed to the program by third parties. For example, if a printer donates services and the value of the contribution can be documented, it should be reflected in your budget as in-kind cost share. Please be sure that in-kind contributions are reflected in both the revenue and expense sections of your budget. You may value volunteer time at $24.14/hour when calculating in-kind cost share.


ADA Access

Any entity that provides service to the public must be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Helpful information may be found online at


Final Report

All successful grantees will be required to submit final reporting documents to Oregon Humanities within ninety days of the end of their grant period.


OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements

All grant funds awarded by Oregon Humanities are federal in origin and therefore are subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars governing administrative requirements, allowable costs, and audit requirements. It is the applicant's responsibility to become familiar with these requirements, which may be found here.