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National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities

General Information

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act into law. The act called for the creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as separate, independent agencies. The NEA and NEH continue to fund and support programs in the arts and humanities, and grants can be awarded to individuals or institutions. 

Some agency-specific information: 

National Endowment for the Arts     National Endowment for the Humanities


Submitting a Grant Application

To find grant funding opportunities at NEA and NEH, you can utilize the following resources:

Application instructions vary widely between programs; you will need to read the specific instructions associated with the funding opportunity announcement carefully.
Some general guidelines for applying for grant funding from the NEA and NEH are available for individual or group applications:

Proposals to both NEA and NEH are submitted through You can learn more about using by visiting the online user guide

For assistance with developing a proposal, see the Proposal Preparation & Project Development section below, or visit the Research Development website

If you didn't find a funding program at the National Endowments that fits your project, you can also try state and local organizations:

Funding Priorities

When developing a project idea, it is helpful to relate your idea to current priorities:

You can also see what projects have been recently funded by the NEA and NEH



The NEA Guide provides details on the programs and activities that the NEA supports, as well as funding deadlines for their various grants. Included is information on Grants for Organizations, Literature Fellowships, Lifetime Honors, and Partnerships. Download here

The NEA offers grants for arts projects in the following artistic fields:

The NEA also works with more than 20 other federal agencies, state and local governments, state and regional arts agencies, and private nonprofits on projects that provide opportunities for Americans to experience quality arts programming. Learn more about these partnerships.


The NEH has eight divisions and offices: 

  • The Division of Preservation and Access awards grants to preserve, maintain, and improve access to primary sources in the humanities, in both digital and analog form.
  • The Division of Public Programs supports projects that bring the humanities to large and diverse audiences through libraries and museums, television and radio, historic sites, and digital media.
  • The Division of Research Programs makes awards to support original scholarship that advances knowledge and understanding in all areas of the humanities, funding individuals as well as teams of researchers and institutions.
  • The Division of Education Programs works to strengthen humanities education through programs aimed at pre-collegiate and post-secondary levels of study.
  • The Office of Federal/State Partnership collaborates with 56 state and territory humanities councils to strengthen local programs.
  • The Office of Challenge Grants offers grants that "challenge" local, state, and national institutions to respond to opportunities that exist in the humanities ecosystem.
  • The Office of Digital Humanities offers grant programs that address the way digital technology has changed the ways we read, write, learn, communicate, and play.
  • The Bridging Cultures Initiative engages the humanities to promote understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives.

The NEH also has several special priority areas  that represent critical areas of the humanities as identified by the NEH Chair: 


The grant review processes for NEA and NEH follow similar structures. 

NEA Review Process     NEH Review Process
After an application is submitted to NEA, it goes through the following steps:
  1. NEA Program Staff 
    Staff reviews proposals for eligibility and completeness
  2. Expert Panel Review
    Panelists review and rate each application in accordance with published review criteria
  3. National Council and Chairman Review
    The Council makes funding recommendations, and the Chairman makes the final decision
Detailed information on this process can be found on the NEA website.
When a proposal is submitted to NEH, it goes through the following steps:
  1. Panel Review
    Knowledgeable peers form a panel to review each application and advise on its merits
  2. NEH Staff
    Staff makes funding recommendations based on peer review evaluations and available funding
  3. National Council on the Humanities
    The Council reviews recommended applications and provides recommendations
  4. NEH Chairman
    The Chairman makes the final funding decision
Detailed information on this process can be found on the NEH website.

To gain even more experience with the review process, you can apply to be a review panelist for both the NEA and the NEH.

Proposal Preparation & Project Development

Résumés and Biographies

NEA and NEH requirements for biographies and résumés vary widely between programs and grant opportunities; make sure to read the grant application package carefully to ensure correct preparation of your biography or résumé.

Some common elements are listed below, but they may not apply depending on the specific program requirements:

  • "Brief"; NEA frequently gives a character limit, NEH typically limits to 2 pages
  • Current and Past Positions
  • Education
  • Relevant professional activities and publications
  • Proposed role in the project


Budget requirements can vary widely between programs; make sure to read the grant application package carefully to ensure correct preparation of your budget. 

NEA BudgetsNEH BudgetsNDSU Budgets

NEA provides detailed instructions for budget development for grants to organizations in the grants section of their website. An indirect cost guide is also available. 

If your application is recommended for funding, you will need to fill out the Project Budget Form.
Instructions and Tips for NEA Project Budgets are also available.

NEH provides the following forms and guidance:
NDSU provides the following forms and guidance:

If you have questions regarding budget development, contact Sponsored Programs Administration.

Data Management Plan (DMP)

A data management plan is required for some NEA and NEH grant programs. Consult the grant application package for specific instructions.

Some examples of data management plan requirements from NEA and NEH:

The NEA Research Labs Program requires a data management plan documenting how any raw data and metadata resulting from the proposed project will be maintained during and beyond the life of the agreement. At a minimum, the plan is required to include:

  • Types of raw data and metadata produced
  • Standards used for raw- and meta-data format and content
  • Policies for sharing the raw- and meta-data with researchers and the public
  • Plans for archiving the raw- and meta-data, and for ensuring continuous access to them 

The NEH Office of Digital Humanities offers this specific guidance for data management plans. It suggests addressing: 

  • Types of data that might be generated and shared, and under what conditions
  • How data are to be managed and maintained until they are shared with others
  • Factors that might impinge on the ability to manage data 
  • The lowest level of aggregated data that project directors might share with others
  • The mechanism for sharing data and/or making them accessible to others
  • Other types of information that should be maintained and shared regarding data
resources for creating a Data management plan

Program Evaluation

An evaluation plan may be required for some NEA and NEH grant programs. Consult the grant application package for specific instructions.

The NEA provides resources on program evaluation and performance measurement through their Office of Research & Analysis.

The NEH does not provide general guidance on program evaluation, but does include it as a component of some grant applications so it is necessary to read the application guidelines carefully.

Some general resources for developing evaluation plans include:

Resources for using logic models in your evaluation plan:
Logic Model Planning and Development:

Logic Model Examples:

If you are looking for an external evaluator or need some assistance in developing an evaluation plan, please contact the Research Development office at

Institutional Information

Sponsored Programs Administration maintains an Institutional Information page which includes: 

  • NDSU authorized organizational representative
  • Official NDSU address for sponsored projects
  • Indirect cost rates
  • Fringe benefit rates
  • Proposal routing procedure
  • Audit reports, and
  • Frequently used numbers: 

    • NDSU's EIN #: 45-6002439
    • DUNS Number: 80-388-2299
    • Congressional District: ND1
    • Cage Code: 40341
    • NDSU's Animal Welfare Assurance #: A3244-01
    • USDA Research Facility Registration #: 45-R-002
    • NSF's Institutional Code # assigned to NDSU: 00 29975 000
    • Human Subjects Assurance: FWA00002439
    • Number of NDSU employees 

ABoilerplate Description of NDSU contains general campus information that can be used or customized as needed.  

PTF and Proposal Process

Sponsored Programs Administration provides information on proposal processing for university approval, as well as the Proposal Transmittal Form (PTF) which is required for proposal routing. 

The proposal process at NDSU is detailed in the graphic below: 

Handout: Proposal Submission Flowchart

Program Officers

Tips for Contacting Program Officers

Congratulations on making the important step to visit with a grant program officer.  Statistics show that making a personal connection with your program officer will increase your chances of getting funded immensely.  Following are some tips, based on past experience, to help make your visit as successful as possible.


  1. Identify a program officer.
    NEA program officers can be identified through this list of agency contacts. You can find an NEH program officer by visiting the website of the appropriate division or office.
  2. Prepare a concept paper / abstract. 
  3. Make contact with the program officer. 
  4. Talk / meet with the program officer.
  5. Follow up after the meeting.


To plan for the visit, prepare a brief 1-2 page concept paper that you can hand to the program officer at the beginning of the meeting. You should be ready to discuss a specific proposal. The format is flexible, but include:

  1. Overall goal and objectives of the proposal.  SMART objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  2. Describe the problem to be addressed. Use Heilmeier’s Catechism -
  3. Refer to your unique personnel, resources, collaborations, whatever strengths will stand out in your proposal
  4. To the extent possible, use the agency’s format, style, and terminology.
  5. For the title of the concept paper, use an eye-catching newspaper-like headline (think of benefits and potential impact of proposal).  This is not going to be the same as the title of your subsequent formal proposal. 
  6. Use headings, color, and institutional branding, and employ meaningful graphics to assist in telling your story.
  7. Ask others to review and provide feedback.


  1. Well before meeting, send an email to introduce yourself.  Attach your concept paper & biosketch in agency format.  Ask to set up a ½ hour meeting. Try to avoid peak review panel season if possible, a busy time for them.
  2. Prior to the meeting, confirm the date, time and location. 
  3. Be on time.  At the meeting, listen closely for his/her advice and recommendations. Program officers will sometimes be willing to advocate for your proposal or refer you to other programs if appropriate, or even find other pockets of funding at times.  This type of ‘inside information’ can be invaluable to you.
  4. Plan to keep the meeting within the planned time constraints, but take your cue from the program officer.
  5. To keep communication open, follow up with a thank you note to the program officer, including a brief written summary of the conversation.  Also share this with university administrators and any collaborators.


  1. Do your homework on the grant agency beforehand so you have a good understanding of how it works.
  2. Though 1-on-1 is best, if a face-to-face ‘live’ meeting is not possible, Skype, Facetime, or even a phone call is a good alternative, better than no contact. Proposals are too much work to be submitted as ‘a shot in the dark.’
  3. Customize questions. For NSF, ask about ideas for broader impacts. For NIH, ask which study section to target.  
  4. Do NOT ask who is on the review panel, but it’s appropriate to ask about the types of expertise of reviewers who will be on the panel.  Do NOT ask if a Congressman can help or provide a letter of support.  Do NOT ask for a copy of a funded application, or if a particular person got funded - that information is available elsewhere.  
  5. DO ask how proposals from early career applicants are handled, if applicable to you.   For other appropriate questions to ask program officers, as well as other good advice, see Can We Talk? Contacting Grant Program Officers 

Download this handout



Proposal Writing Tips

NEH Resources:

Some general proposal writing resources are listed below. They include print and video guides from agencies, foundations, and other grant writing groups. 

Print Resources

Video Resources

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Last Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2018 3:58:11 PM
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