Responsive Program Grants

Little Stone Project, 2017

At Oregon Humanities we are committed to helping communities across Oregon respond to timely or urgent issues and tensions by bringing people together to explore these challenging topics and strive for just communities. Our Responsive Program Grants enable non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribes in Oregon to address urgent or timely issues that might not otherwise be able to be addressed because of the quick, timely response that is needed for the program. Awards of up to $1,000 are made on a rolling basis to help support this work. Read program requirements and how to apply below, and download the 2019 Responsive Program Grant guidelines here.

Program Requirements

We fund programs that meet the following criteria:

  • Engage community members as active participants, not just as an audience
  • Explore issues or ideas from a variety of perspectives
  • Help participants make meaning for themselves and their community
  • Respond to an important public issue

These programs may be any of the following:

  • New/one-time/pilot programs
  • In-person events
  • Online or multimedia efforts that engage the general public including but not limited to podcasts and short documentary films
  • Created in response to local, statewide, national, or global issues
  • Part of an organization's regular programming and responding to timely community needs

Given the responsive nature of these types of programs, Oregon Humanities aims to award grants within four weeks of receiving proposals. Awards will be made until funding runs out or the end of our fiscal year (October 31, 2019), whichever comes first. In addition, Oregon Humanities offers communications assistance to all awarded projects. Successful grantees will be required to submit final reporting documents to Oregon Humanities within thirty (30) days after the completion of the funded project.

Applications accepted Between October 2, 2018, and September 30, 2019
Award decisions Reviewed on a rolling basis
Programs begin after November 1, 2018
Programs completed by December 31, 2019


Funding Priorities

Due to limited grant funds and our commitment to making humanities programming available in communities who have 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.

Strong fits to our Responsive Program Grants have included: helping communities lead conversations on race and racism after local hate incidents; bringing residents together to understand a local issue that became national news; examining the intersection of race and domestic violence; and responding to local interest to initiate a social justice film series. Each one of these examples was either based in and led by communities of color or a rural community.


Organizations must be incorporated and registered as nonprofits in the state of Oregon, or be one of Oregon's federally recognized tribes. Applicants do not need to be federally recognized 501(c)(3) organizations. We encourage applications from groups across the state, including those organizations that may not define their mission as humanities-based but who are actively doing the work of bringing people together to explore challenging questions and strive for just communities.

Organizations that are not nonprofits may apply using a fiscal sponsor if the fiscal sponsor meets the eligibility requirements. (Nonprofit Association of Oregon has information on fiscal sponsorship.) Please contact Oregon Humanities prior to initiating a grant proposal to discuss fiscal sponsorships.

Organizations are not eligible if any of the following apply:

  • They do not meet the eligibility requirements listed above.
  • They have already been awarded a Responsive Programs Grant in the current grant year.
  • The proposed project is not open or accessible to the general public.

What Responsive Program Grants do not fund:

  • Private events
  • Organizational promotional materials or events
  • Individual research or activities
  • Courses for credit or school programs
  • Scholarships, fellowships, or awards
  • Individual art projects such as books and feature-length films
  • Writing or publishing projects
  • Tickets or scholarships for events
  • Host fees for Conversation Project events or other Oregon Humanities programming
  • Creation of visual arts, performances, or living histories
  • Health and social service delivery
  • Capital projects (i.e., renovation or purchase of equipment, buildings, or land)
  • Museum collection acquisition
  • Permanent staffing costs not directly associated with the program
  • Lobbying or fundraising activities
  • Activities that advocate for a particular political or social party, agenda, policy, or action
  • Indirect or overhead expenses

How to apply

The applicant organization must complete our online grant application form. This form consists of basic information about the organization, topic, and program details. The questions include the following:

  • Please describe the current, public issue or event to which you are responding. Tell us why your organization is suited to engage your community on the subject and why the community is interested in this program. (Do not assume our grant reviewers know about your organization, community, or topic.)
  • Help our grant reviewers understand what the program will be like for a participant. Who is facilitating/presenting at this program? Describe the proposed program and timeline.
  •  Why is this program needed now? How will this program explore challenging topics and strive for just communities?
  • How will this program help create a meaningful response to this issue or event by the community? What do you hope will be different for the participants and the community?
  • (Optional) Is the proposed program and organization(s) based in and led by rural communities and/or communities of color? Please provide details about how the program planning and implementation are shaped by these communities.
  • Estimate of the program’s total cost and the grant request to Oregon Humanities, including what the requested OH grant funds will cover. (Please note that there is no matching requirement.)

Applicants may receive only one Responsive Program Grant per cycle and programs must be completed by December 31, 2019. Applicants are notified as soon as a funding decision is made (no longer than four weeks after applying).

Potential applicants are welcome to contact Program Coordinator Louisa Mariki at (503) 241-0543, ext. 117, or to discuss the program idea and best way to frame the work prior to submission.

Click here to complete the online application

Oregon Humanities Funding Requests

Oregon Humanities has limited grant funds to award. The maximum Oregon Humanities Responsive Program Grant is $1,000.

Requested Oregon Humanities funding may support program-related expenses including but not limited to salaries/volunteers 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.

ADA Access: Organizations and event spaces must be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Helpful information can be found at

Grant Period: All program expenses and activities must take place during the grant period that you define in your proposal. 2018 Responsive Program Grant activities must be completed before December 31, 2018.