Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants
Maximum award amount
Period of performance
Optional Draft due
Expected notification date
Project start date
The purpose of the Challenge Grants program is to strengthen the institutional base of the humanities by enabling infrastructure development and capacity building. Awards aim to help institutions secure long-term support for their core activities and expand efforts to preserve and create access to outstanding humanities materials. The program funds two distinct types of projects, each with its own Notice of Funding Opportunity:
- Capital Projects supports the design, purchase, construction, restoration, or renovation of facilities for humanities activities. This includes 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.
- Digital Infrastructure supports the maintenance, modernization, and sustainability of existing digital scholarly projects and platforms.
Fundraising is a critical part of NEH Challenge grant awards: up to 10 percent of total funds (Challenge matching funds plus certified gifts) may be used for fundraising costs during the period of performance.
What’s new in 2021
- Two deadlines per year: May 18, 2021 and September 28, 2021
- 5-year maximum period of performance
- Narrative reorganized and extended
- Work plan requires parallel fundraising and project activities timelines
- Three years of financial statements are not required at the time of application but need to be provided by approved applicants before receiving an award offer from NEH.
Disclaimer: This is not a complete list of all changes to the Notice of Funding Opportunity.
- 35-minute presentation
- 20-minute question and answer session
- Closed captions available
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. Note that this program has separate NOFOs for capital projects and digital infrastructure projects.
`Sample Application Narratives
As soon as you know you're ready to apply for this grant, make sure you register for a SAM number/D-U-N-S® number, and for a Grants.gov account. If you already have registered with these systems, make sure they are up to date.
Be sure to follow the instructions outlined in the notice of funding opportunity and and in the Grants.gov instructions.
You will receive a confirmation from Grants.gov when you've successfully submitted your application.
After you submit your application, Grants.gov will send you up to five e-mail messages confirming receipt of your application. These messages represent different stages in the application acceptance process. You should verify that you have received all confirmation messages. Please note that email filters may send these messages to your spam or junk folder.