Do's and Don'ts in Administering an NEH Challenge Grant (CH, CZ, ZH, and ZR awards issued prior to 2019)

Do read the offer letter carefully. It tells you the dates your grant begins and ends, and it contains the schedule you must follow for the release of federal funds. Also, read Administration of NEH Challenge Grants.

Don't fail to obtain, retain, and send to NEH copies of required documentation for all gifts. All restricted gifts over $5,000 must include a copy of a letter of transmittal; all unrestricted gifts must include verification of the gift's source, evidence that it is unrestricted, and the date the gift was donated. Familiarize yourself with the rules governing the eligibility of gifts for matching. Contact the Office of Challenge Grants or the Office of Grant Management at NEH if you have any questions about the eligibility of a gift.

Do comply with the special requirements for construction and renovation projects—that is, with the Davis-Bacon Act requirements and with the provisions of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Don't change the activities and costs that are to be supported through the challenge grant without consulting NEH. For example, if an endowment fund is to be created with the challenge grant, be certain that when the grant ends that planned endowment fund exists. Consult with NEH on all proposed changes in the grant.

Do keep careful records that can be passed on to future staff members involved with the Challenge Grant. You must keep records for at least three years after the grant closes. (NEH recommends that you keep these records permanently, as issues can arise far down the road, especially if your project involves an endowment fund).

Don't miss deadlines for certifications and reports. If you need an extension, contact NEH staff.

Do collect all pledges that you included in your certifications of gifts; all pledges must be paid (or replaced with other gifts) before the end of the grant period.

Don't forget to notify NEH of any changes in your organization's staff involved in administering the Challenge Grant. Changes in staffing are the single most common cause of mismanaged challenge grants that cannot withstand an audit.