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Media Projects: Development Grants

Grants to USA Nonprofits, IHEs, and Agencies to Develop Humanities
Television, Film, and Radio Documentary Programs

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Funding Source:

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National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) - Division of Public Programs

Deadline Date:

08/14/19 11:59 PM ET Receipt


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Grants of up to $75,000 to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribal governments, and higher education institutions for the development of humanities-related media projects. Applicants must create or verify the required registrations at least two to six weeks before the deadline.

The Media Projects: Development Grants program supports the collaboration of media producers and scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare documentary film, television, radio, and podcast projects that engage public audiences with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. Awards should result in a script (for documentary film or television programs) or a detailed treatment (for radio programs or podcasts) and may also yield a plan for outreach and public engagement. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship.

Projects must also demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced, and analytical. The approach to the subject matter must go beyond the mere presentation of factual information to explore its larger significance and stimulate reflection. NEH is a national funding agency, so the projects that are supported must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad general audience.

The Division of Public Programs encourages media projects that promote a deeper understanding of American history and culture and advance civic education. The Division of Public Programs also supports media projects that examine international themes and subjects in the humanities.

All projects applying to the Media Projects program should:

- Build on sound humanities scholarship
- Deepen public understanding of significant humanities questions
- Approach a subject analytically, presenting a variety of perspectives
- Involve humanities scholars in all phases of development and production
- Involve appropriate media professionals
- Employ appealing and accessible program formats that will actively engage the general public in learning

To be ready to apply for a Development Grant, you must already have settled on a subject, an approach, and a project team. In particular, you should have:

- Selected your humanities subject and assessed the major scholarship related to it
- Reached out to scholars and experts who work in the relevant subject area(s) to assemble a group of humanities advisers
- Consulted with the humanities advisers to clarify the interpretive ideas that the project will consider
- Formed a media team to see the project through its development period
- Considered how your content will appeal to public audiences and will convey what they should learn from the project
- Chosen the project’s format(s)
- Identified project resources (such as archival materials and potential interviewees)

Media Projects: Development Grants may support activities such as:

- Meetings with scholars
- Research and preliminary interviews (including scholarly research and development of humanities themes)
- Preparation of program treatments and/or scripts
- Production of a work-in-progress or trailer;
- Creation of partnerships for outreach activities and public engagement

For more information on film and television, and radio and podcast production project requirements, see:

For information on NIH areas of interest:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178021

Number of Grants:

Estimated Number and Type of Award(s): 5 grants

Estimated Size of Grant:

Most awards are made for up to $40,000, with a maximum of $75,000 for complex projects that will reach national audiences.

Term of Contract:

Awards are usually made for a period of performance of six to twelve months.

May 1, 2020: Successful applicants may begin work on their projects.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments are eligible to apply. Eligible organizations include institutions of higher education.

Eligible organizations are encouraged to partner with independent producers. Under this arrangement, the lead applicant submits the application on behalf of the partnership. The lead applicant must not function solely as a fiscal agent, but should make substantive contributions to the success of the project. If the application is funded, the lead applicant is considered the recipient of record and assumes all programmatic, financial, and legal responsibilities associated with the award.

Individuals and foreign and for-profit entities are not eligible to apply.

Media Projects: Development Grants may not be used for:

- Fictional films, including dramatic adaptations of literary works
- Projects that will satisfy requirements for educational degrees or formal professional training
- Projects intended primarily for students in formal learning environments (though projects may include components that can be used in classrooms)
- General operations, renovation, restoration, rehabilitation, or construction of station or production facilities
- Preservation or cataloging of materials and collections
- Promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view
- Advocacy for a particular program of social or political action
- Support of specific public policies or legislation
- Lobbying
- Projects that fall outside of the humanities; the creation or performance of art; creative writing, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and empirically based social science research or policy studies

NEH funds may not be used to support obscene, libelous, indecent, or defamatory content (including hate speech, personal attacks, or material constituting harassment).

Pre-Application Information:

The Division of Public Programs accepts applications for the two Media Projects programs (Development and Production) at two deadlines a year: in January and August.

Applications must be received and validated by by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on August 14, 2019, for projects beginning on May 1, 2020.

The Division of Public Programs encourages applicants to work with program officers from the outset of the application process. You may submit drafts or contact NIH with questions. Drafts, which are optional, must be submitted by July 3, 2019. A response cannot be guaranteed if drafts arrive after this date.

All organizations must submit their applications for NEH funding via Workspace. Before using for the first time, each organization must have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and register with

The registration process requires completing information in three separate systems:

1. Dun and Bradstreet:
2. System for Award Management (SAM):

In order to apply through, the applicant organization must first have or obtain a valid Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S®) number, and register (or have an active registration) in the System for Award Management (SAM). Note: If you are registering in for the first time, you must provide an original, signed notarized letter stating that you are the authorized Entity Administrator for the entity associated with the D-UN-S® number. Read the SAM update and FAQs to learn more about this process change. The initial SAM registration can take up to six weeks.

The initial registration process can take up to two weeks.

Eligible applicant institutions may submit multiple applications for separate and distinct projects under this announcement. Project directors may also submit applications for two different projects at the same time. If so, project directors should explain in the applications how they would allocate their time if they received more than one award.


- Before the August 14, 2019 deadline: Contact Division of Public Programs program officers (at 202-606-8269 or ) with questions and for advice (optional)
- July 3, 2019: Applicants that have not registered in, the System for Award Management (SAM), and should begin the process no later than this date
- July 3, 2019: Submit draft application by this date (optional)
- July 31, 2019: Applicants that have registered in SAM and should verify their registrations by this date
- August 14, 2019: Applications must be submitted through and validated by by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on this date
- August 14, 2019: If applicable, DVD samples must arrive at NEH on or before this date
- October-November 2020: Peer review panels take place
- March 2020: Meeting of the National Council on the Humanities, followed by funding decisions
- April 2020: Applicants are notified of the funding decisions
- May 2020: Institutional grants administrators and project directors of successful applications receive award documents by e-mail from the NEH Office of Grant Management
- May 1, 2020: Successful applicants may begin work on their projects

Successful applicants will be awarded outright funds, matching funds, or a combination of the two, depending on the applicant’s preference and the availability of funds.

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For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For questions, assistance, or to submit a draft proposal:

Division of Public Programs
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20506

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

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