American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking Frequently Asked Questions
This document was updated April 21, 2021
What is the period of public availability for this opportunity?
The period of public availability is April 7, 2021 until May 13, 2021 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.
Before submitting an application, your organization must have a current and active D-U-N-S® number and Grants.gov registration. Learn more about this multistep process.
Check your registrations well in advance of the deadline to ensure that they are accurate, current, and active; if they are not current at the time of Grants.gov submission, your application will be rejected.
You should allow several weeks for the registration process. If you fail to allow sufficient time to complete registration with SAM or Grants.gov, you will not be eligible for a deadline extension or waiver of the online submission requirement.
See D3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management in the Notice of Funding for additional information on the required registration process.
Have any registration requirements been relaxed for applicants to the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program?
In order to expeditiously issue funding and consistent with OMB memo M-21-20, NEH has relaxed the requirement for active SAM registration at time of application for the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program. Current registrants in SAM with active registrations expiring between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021 will automatically be afforded a one-time extension of 180 days. At the time of award, the requirements of 2 CFR § 200.206 continue to apply. NEH will not make an award to an applicant lacking an active SAM registration.
Will NEH accept proposals after the published deadline?
No. Applications must be received by the published deadline. Late, incomplete, nonresponsive, or ineligible applications will not be considered for funding under this notice.
Who is eligible to apply to the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program?
To be eligible for the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program, applicants must:
be either a U.S. nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status or federally recognized Native American tribal government; and
currently administer a competitive grantmaking program to organizations or individuals in the humanities.
Accredited public and 501(c)(3) institutions of higher education, units of state and local government, and individuals are not eligible to apply, but are eligible as subrecipients.
The 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils and interim partners are not eligible to apply under this notice and are not eligible as subrecipients.
Foreign and for-profit entities are not eligible to apply under this notice and are not eligible as subrecipients.
Individuals, foreign and for-profit entities are not eligible to apply.
See C3. Other Eligibility Information in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for additional subrecipient eligibility criteria and restrictions.
Our organization received an award under the NEH CARES: Humanities Organizations program in 2020. May we apply for an award under the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program?
Yes. If you were previously funded under the NEH CARES program, this will not impact your eligibility for the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program. Keep in mind that two or more applications for federal funding and/or approved federal award budgets are not permitted to include overlapping project costs.
May our organization submit more than one application to the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program? May we submit applications to both the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking and American Rescue Plan: Humanities Organizations programs?
Eligible applicants may only submit a single proposal under the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program. Eligible applicants may also submit a single proposal under the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Organizations program.
Does our proposed grantmaking program need to be new, or can we request funding to expand an existing program?
While you must currently administer a competitive grantmaking program to humanities organizations or individuals working in the humanities to be eligible to apply, you may propose to expand an existing grantmaking program or to establish a new grantmaking program to provide relief to humanities organizations or unemployed or underemployed humanities professionals. See A1. Purpose and C. Eligibility Information in the NOFO for information on how to structure a grantmaking program under this notice and eligibility criteria.
How much funding can we request?
You may request up to $2,000,000 if you are proposing a grantmaking program for individuals or up to $5,000,000 if you are proposing a grantmaking program for organizations.
How should we structure our proposed grantmaking program?
Grantmaking programs for organizations and individuals must be structured slightly differently. Grantmaking programs for organizations will issue subawards, while grantmaking programs for individuals must be structured as monthly stipends.
Applicants should propose subaward and stipend amounts which best serve the needs of their targeted audience and the scope of projects they wish to fund. NEH has not established minimum or maximum awards for subawards or stipends; however, to ensure that costs are reasonable, NEH reserves the right to reduce or otherwise amend the proposed amounts of subawards or stipends before an award is made.
For reference, NEH awards to individuals are $5,000 per month of full-time work ($60,000 per year), and American Rescue Plan: Humanities Organizations awards for applicants with operating budgets of up to $1,000,000 are capped at $50,000.
We started our first grantmaking program last year and would like to expand it through this funding opportunity. Can you offer advice?
Your organization is eligible if it meets the requirements stated in C. Eligibility Information in the NOFO. You should provide detailed information in your narrative and other application components that demonstrates your experience administering grantmaking programs. You must provide compelling evidence as the review criteria emphasize the quality of the proposed program and your organization’s capacity to manage it. (see E1. Review Criteria in the NOFO).
Can we continue to use our existing selection process for selecting subrecipients for our proposed grantmaking program?
Your grantmaking program must follow NEH’s requirements to ensure that the proposed application and review process is open, competitive, fair, and objective. See A1. Program requirements and C3. Other Eligibility Information in the NOFO.
We see that the program restricts management and administrative (M&A costs) to 10% of our award. What are M&A costs?
M&A costs are for activities directly related to the management and administration of your award. These activities must be directly related to the management and administration of NEH funds, such as financial management and monitoring, and must be based on actual expenses or known contractual costs. Requests that are simple percentages of the award, without supporting justification, will not be allowed or considered for reimbursement.
M&A costs are not operational costs, they are the necessary costs incurred in direct support of the award or as a consequence of the award and should be allocated across the entire lifecycle of the award. Examples of M&A activities include solicitation, review, and processing of applications and subawards; managing and monitoring subawards; preparing and submitting required programmatic and financial reports; establishing and/or maintaining equipment inventory; documenting operational and equipment expenditures for financial accounting purposes; and responding to official informational requests from federal oversight authorities. Salaries treated as M&A costs may be charged as direct costs in accordance with 2 CFR §200.413(c).
See D2. Content and Form of Application Submission and D6. Funding Restrictions in the NOFO for information on completing the Research and Related Budget and unallowable costs for recipients and subrecipients.
How should we record subawards for organizations and individuals on the Research and Related Budget?
The term “subrecipient” is used throughout this notice to describe both individuals and organizations who receive funds re-granted by the applicant. However, for the purpose of the budget instructions and the appropriate classification of costs, applicants proposing grantmaking programs for organizations issue subawards and applicants proposing grantmaking programs for individuals issue stipends to participants. Applicants proposing grantmaking programs for organizations should include the total amount for subawards on line F5. Subawards/Consortium/Contractual Costs. Applicants must issue subawards rather than contracts to selected subrecipients. Applicants proposing grantmaking programs for individuals should include the total amount on line E2. Participant Stipends.
As a passthrough entity, what are our responsibilities for our subrecipients?
As a passthrough entity, you will be programmatically, legally, and fiscally responsible for the award. See 2 CFR §200.331(a) for information that must be included in subaward agreements. Per 2 CFR §200.331, recipients must monitor the activities of their subrecipients as necessary to ensure that the subaward is used for authorized purposes, in compliance with federal statutes, legislative requirements, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the subaward; and that subaward performance goals are achieved. Recipients must ensure that subrecipients track, appropriately use, and report program income generated by the subaward.
May we submit a draft narrative for preliminary review?
No, NEH staff will not review drafts for this program.
What required application components must we submit?
Your application will include a narrative, budget, and other required forms and attachments. See D2. Content and Form of Application Submission in the NOFO for instructions on preparing your application.
Whom should we contact if we have technical questions regarding the submission of our application in Grants.gov?
You should contact Grants.gov Applicant Support at @email for technical assistance, including assistance with bypassing the SAM registration requirement in Grants.gov. Always obtain a case number when calling for support.
You may also find answers to your questions on the Grants.gov Self Service Knowledge Base. In addition, Grants.gov maintains a library of instructional videos which may be helpful resources as you prepare your application.
Can you provide examples of how we might structure the M&A and indirect cost portion of the budget for the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program?
An applicant proposes a grantmaking program for organizations and requests $5,000,000. The applicant may request up to $500,000 for management and administrative (M&A) costs (10%). The remaining $4,500,000 must be used for subawards and allowable indirect costs.
An applicant proposes a grantmaking program for individuals and requests $2,000,000. The applicant may request up to $200,000 for management and administrative (M&A) costs (10%). The remaining $1,800,000 must be used for participant stipends and allowable indirect costs. Applicants proposing grantmaking programs for individuals may not claim indirect costs on participant stipends.
M&A costs must not be charged twice as both direct and indirect costs. (added April 21, 2021)
What should we consider when calculating indirect costs for our American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking budget?
While applicants should carefully review the budget instructions in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, there are a few program specific things to keep in mind when calculating allowable indirect costs: 1.) M&A costs must not be charged twice as both direct and indirect costs; 2.) Applicants proposing grantmaking programs for individuals may not claim indirect costs on participant stipends; and 3.) NEH will withhold indirect costs on subawards to organizations until after the submission of the subrecipient selection report. (added April 21, 2021)