How to get started:

1. Understand that most of our grants are for the development and implementation of public programs.

Indiana Humanities offers grants for programming support but usually doesn’t provide funds for general operations (except in rare cases such as the CARES and ARP pandemic relief funds). From time to time we also offer research fellowships to individuals.

2. Make sure you’re eligible to apply.

To be eligible for an Indiana Humanities programming grant, you must apply on behalf of an Indiana-based tax-exempt organization, such as a public library, museum, historical society, K-12 school, college/university, church, community organization or government entity. We do not award programming grants to for-profit organizations or to individuals, although individuals are eligible for our research fellowships.

3. Come to us with an idea for a humanities-related program that you want to offer to the public.

“Humanities” is a word one hears a lot, but the meaning is sometimes hard to grasp. By humanities, we mean the study of history, literature, languages, philosophy, archaeology, ethics, jurisprudence, comparative religion and world cultures. The humanities also encompass art history, theory and criticism, but not the creation, display or performance of art. (If you’re interested in the latter activities, we encourage you to talk to our friends at the Indiana Arts Commission). The humanities include social sciences that have humanistic content and/or humanistic methods, but this is not the same as social services. (So we don’t fund food banks, shelters or other humanitarian efforts, as important as that work is.)

If you’re seeking a grant from us, your program must be open to the public. You may design and market the program for a target audience, but in general, everyone in the community should have an equal opportunity to attend. Note that we do consider programs delivered in schools and prisons to be public, and in these cases you may offer them to select audiences (i.e., you don’t have to open them to the broader public). You may charge admission to an event funded with an Indiana Humanities grant, but the admission should be nominal (we recommend no more than the cost of a movie ticket).

4. Review our various grant offerings and look closely at the guidelines.

If you feel that your program is eligible for an Indiana Humanities grant based on what you’ve read above, the next step is to select the grant that aligns most closely with your project. We typically offer several grants each year, and we’ve listed each opportunity on our website. Some grants support very broad humanities programming, while others are targeted to specific topics. We offer some grants monthly, but we award others only once or twice a year. Each grant listing includes a call for proposals, which spells out the types of activities we support with the grant, the size of the award, the deadline, when the projects may begin and other important details. The call for proposals also includes the questions you’ll need to answer on the application, guidance on completing a project budget (we provide a template as part of the grant listing) and a scoring rubric so you can see how our review committee will evaluate applications.

Your program may align well with more than one grant, but realize that we typically don’t support the same program with multiple grants. You’ll need to choose the best grant based on the topic of your program, the award size, the timing and other factors. If you need help choosing the best opportunity, email grants@indianahumanities.org. or call us at 317.638.1500.

5. Complete an online application.

Once you’ve decided which grant to apply for, you’ll submit an application using our online system. Each grant listing includes a link to our online application portal as well as instructions for navigating the system.

On the application form you’ll need to provide us with a project title, the name of the project director, contact information and your organization’s federal Employee Identification Number (EIN). If we award you a grant, we’ll ask you to provide us with a DUNS (Data Universal Number System) number, and if your organization already has one, you may include it on the application as well. Remember that each grant’s call for proposals lists the narrative questions you’ll need to answer. In addition to uploading a project budget, you’ll need to include resumes of your team members and letters of support. Be aware that all this takes effort, so allow yourself plenty of time to apply.


If you have questions about applying for a grant (whether your program aligns with the goals of our grants, which grant to apply for, how to apply, etc.), please email us at grants@indianahumanities.org or call 317.638.1500. We’re glad to consult with you, and we prefer to do so early on so that you’re prepared to submit a successful application.