Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants

Office of Challenge Programs

Grant Snapshot

Maximum award amount


Open to


Expected output


Period of performance

Up to five years

Application available


Expected notification date

Project start date

The Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Program has been discontinued. The application deadline of May 17, 2023, was the final competition offered for this program.

The purpose of the program is to strengthen the institutional base of the humanities by enabling infrastructure development and capacity building. Awards of federal matching funds aim to help institutions secure long-term support for their core activities and expand efforts to preserve and create access to outstanding humanities materials. 

  • Capital Projects support the purchase, design, construction, restoration, or renovation of facilities for humanities activities. This includes costs related to planning as well as the purchase and installation of related moveable and permanently affixed equipment for exhibiting, maintaining, monitoring, and protecting collections (whether on exhibit or in storage), and for critical building systems, such as electrical, heating ventilation and air conditioning, security, life safety, lighting, utilities, telecommunications, and energy management. 

Fundraising is a critical part of NEH Challenge grant awards: up to 10 percent of total funds (NEH federal matching funds plus certified gifts) may be used for fundraising costs during the period of performance.

  • Three levels of awards with different match ratios: For requests up to $150,000 the match ratio is 1:1. From $150,001 to $500,000 it is 3:1. For Chair’s Special Awards of $500,001-$1,000,000, it is 4:1.
  • The Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge program no longer supports Digital Infrastructure projects.
  • Only one annual deadline offered.
  • Check the NOFO for adjustments to recommended and required page limits and formatting instructions.
  • In compliance with the recently passed Build America, Buy America Act (Pub. L. 117-58 § 70901, et seq.), beginning May 14, 2022, all iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in projects involving construction, renovation, or facility infrastructure must have been produced in the United States.

Disclaimer: This is not a complete list of all changes to the Notice of Funding Opportunity

Watch the 2023 Infrastructure and Capacity Building webinar 

  • 40-minute presentation
  • Closed captions available

Download a transcript of the webinar (PDF)
Download the webinar slides (PDF)

Review your application package

Read the Notice of Funding Opportunity to ensure you understand the expectations and restrictions for projects delivered under this grant and that you are prepared to write the most effective application. 

Application Materials

Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants: Capital Projects Notice of Funding Opportunity 2023 (PDF) application package for Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants

Program Resources

Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants Frequently Asked Questions, 2023

Administration of NEH Challenge Infrastructure and Capacity Building Grants (for awards with prefix CHA issued on or after February 1, 2022) | The National Endowment for the Humanities

Certification of Matching Gifts for NEH Challenge Grants Form (PDF)

Instructions for the Supplementary Cover Sheet for NEH Grant Programs

Sample Work Plan

2022 New Recipient Webinar

2022 New Recipient Webinar transcription

Resources for Historic Preservation and Environmental Review 

NEH Overview of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act 

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)

Frequently Asked Questions about the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Sample Application Narratives

New York Public Radio, Preservation and Digitization of the New York Public Radio Archives (PDF)

Cabell County Public Library, Construction of a New Branch Library (PDF)

Dubuque County Historical Society, Preservation and Restoration through Campus Improvements (PDF)

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Multidisciplinary Display of Permanent Collection Artwork (PDF)

Reynolda House Roof Renovation (PDF)

University of California, San Diego, Construction of the Institute of Arts and Humanities (PDF)

Register for a SAM number and an account on

Confirm that your SAM registration is current and verify your access to If you have not already done so, you must create a user account to register and log in to SAM and is a secure sign in service used by the public to sign in to participating government agencies. Create and link your account now. 

Complete your application package

Follow the instructions in the Notice of Funding Opportunity and

Submit your application package on

You will receive a confirmation from when you’ve successfully submitted your application. Subsequently, you will receive up to five more notices confirming different stages in the application process. Verify that you have received all confirmations. Note that email filters may send these messages to your spam or junk folder.

Program Statistics

In the last six competitions the program received
The program had a
funding ratio
The program made
per year