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About the Office of Challenge Grants

By offering matching funds, challenge grants help local, state, and national institutions secure their humanities resources and activities for the long term. The “multiplier effect” is crucial to achieving this goal: recipients of a challenge grant must match every federal dollar with three (in some cases, two) nonfederal dollars. The NEH challenge funds and the matched nonfederal funds can be used for many long-term institutional purposes. For example, the money may be used to purchase capital equipment and upgrade technology, renovate or construct facilities, and increase library holdings or museum collections. Challenge grants can also be invested to build endowments supporting an institution’s staff or programming well into the future. Many different sorts of nonprofit organizations have made use of challenge grants—museums, tribal centers, libraries, colleges and universities, scholarly research organizations, state humanities councils, public radio and television stations, and historical societies and historic sites.