Request for Proposals
RFP Issued: December 18, 2020
This RFP is open to individuals and organizations.
January 28, 2021, 11:59pm ETAll Humanitini events proposed at this deadline must take place within the corresponding project period below.
- April 15, 2021 – September 30, 2021
Prospective Curators will provide three preferred program dates that fall within the project period on their applications and will be asked to indicate whether they would be able to accept an assigned program date.
Applicants may request up to $5,000.
Applicants may submit one project application for this grant program in FY2021.
Please read this request for proposals in full before submitting an application.
HumanitiesDC endeavors to make its applications as open and accessible as possible. If you are unable to access any materials on our site, please contact the staff member listed below for support. When contacting us, please include the following in your query:
- Nature of the accessibility issue
- The web address of the content you are attempting to access
- Your preferred format for the content
- Your contact information
Andrea Carroll McNeil – email@example.com
HumanitiesDC is the State Humanities Council for Washington, DC, and local affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Founded in 1980, the Humanities Council of Washington, DC (HumanitiesDC) aims to enrich the quality of life, foster intellectual stimulation, and promote cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of local history in all neighborhoods of the District through humanities programs and grants. Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to the mission of HumanitiesDC. For 40 years HumanitiesDC has been committed to amplifying the wide-ranging voices and perspectives of the District. As a grantmaking organization, it is our responsibility to justly promote, encourage, and support our diverse community. To deepen our commitment to honoring our city’s rich cultural heritage, HumanitiesDC has committed revisit our practices to ensure they are fair, equitable, diverse and inclusive.
What are the Humanities?
Potential projects may focus on: “language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.”
HumanitiesDC is offering the opportunity for graduate students and others conducting and presenting original humanities research to become Humanitini Curators. Each Curator will create a public humanities program based on their research or area of expertise. As part of the application, prospective curators will need to fully describe this research topic, and where it is situated within a wider humanities field. This opportunity is part of the Humanities Grant Program supported with funding from the District of Columbia Government through the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
The public programs will follow HumanitiesDC’s successful Humanitini model that brings thoughtful humanities discussions to Washington, DC’s happy-hour scene. View the Curator guide for producing a Humanitini program here. Curators must budget for a professional videographer to film their Humanitini program and edit the footage, and an ASL interpreter to provide interpretation at the program. If the program is conducted virtually, it must be recorded and edited for submission to HumanitiesDC. Curators will also write an evaluative report on the challenges and successes encountered while translating their research for a public audience.
Strong connection to a humanities discipline
Prospective curators must identify one or more humanities disciplines to which their project is connected. They must be able to demonstrate that they have conducted extensive research on the topic they hope to translate into a public program.
Topics that are both thoughtful and entertaining
The Humanitini is informative and educational, but it is also a fun and engaging experience for audiences. Curators’ program ideas should be suitable for a happy-hour conversation in a bar or restaurant.
Informed, diverse panels and capable moderators
Ideal panels will be comprised of speakers from both inside and outside academia.
A plan for attracting an audience of at least 30 people
If proposing an in-person event, the strongest requests will have a tentative commitment from a Washington, DC bar or restaurant to host the program.
A commitment from a professional videographer to film the Humanitini program and edit the footage to create a high-quality record of the program.
Other Required Proposal Elements
- Identification of the project’s Washington, DC Ward(s) served
- A description of the key personnel who will work on the project
- A timeline of project activities and milestones covering the full grant cycle
- A marketing strategy for the project
- A budget (in a provided template), and a budget narrative
- A detailed plan for complying with relevant provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
You will also be asked to provide expected audience data – this is for informational purposes only and is used for reporting to HDC’s funders.
Risk Management and Ongoing Monitoring:
Applicants may also submit: audited financial statements, a board list and structure, and bylaws to demonstrate their organization’s stability. These materials combined with the organization’s past performance on HumanitiesDC-funded projects will determine whether any eventual award is considered low, medium, or high risk, and will affect the level of ongoing monitoring of the award throughout the grant period.
HDC will assign a risk-level to an award when it is made and will share it with the grantee. The quantity and frequency of reports, check-ins, and site visits will be determined based on the risk-level.
Cash and/or In-Kind Match Requirement:
There is no match requirement for this grant opportunity. Applicants are encouraged to supplement HumanitiesDC funding with other sources.
How to Apply
The HumanitiesDC grants portal can be accessed at http://grantapplication.wdchumanities.org. Please be sure to review the grant qualifications, terms and conditions for the program you are interested in before beginning an application. If you or your organization have applied for a HumanitiesDC grant before, please DO NOT create a new account. If you are having trouble accessing your existing account, please email the staff contact indicated in this RFP.
All HumanitiesDC grant applications are accepted via an online grant portal. Applications must be successfully submitted by 11:59pm on the day of the deadline. Applicants will receive a confirmation email when their proposals have been successfully submitted. Applicants should contact the applicable HumanitiesDC staff member immediately should they encounter any technical issues or if they do not receive a confirmation email. Incomplete or late applications or applications failing to meet the guidelines or eligibility requirements will not be assigned to the evaluator panels nor will they be considered for funding. HumanitiesDC does not accept mailed, emailed, or hand-delivered applications or required attachments. HumanitiesDC will accept reasonable accommodation requests from applicants with disabilities in advance of the application due date to assist them in submitting grant applications via mail, email, or hand-delivery. To make a request for reasonable accommodation contact the grants staff member listed on this RFP and allow time for the approval of the request.
Eligibility Requirements (Organizations):
- Must be an IRS designated 501c3 non-profit organization.
Must be registered with, and authorized to do business in, the District as either a “Domestic” entity (that is, an entity that was incorporated in the District) or a “Foreign” entity (that is, an entity that was incorporated in another state).
Must register and comply with the regulatory requirements of the following agencies:
District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) – Corporations Division (indicating an “active” business license status at the time of application and agreeing to maintain such status throughout the grant period).
District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR).
District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES).
- United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Must be able to obtain a certification of “Citywide Clean Hands” (CCH) from the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue.
- Must have a principal business office address that is in the District of Columbia and is accessible to onsite review. Post office boxes will not be accepted.
- Must be in good standing with HumanitiesDC. Applicants with outstanding or delinquent reports or final products from previous HumanitiesDC grants must submit them completed and without deficiencies at least 30 days before the deadline for which they wish to apply.
- Prohibited applicants include: private clubs and organizations that prohibit membership based upon race, gender, color, religion, or any other classes identified in the District of Columbia Human Rights Act; for-profit (commercial) entities; political organizations; foreign governments; federal government entities; and District of Columbia government agencies.
Eligibility Requirements (Individuals)
- Must be aged 18 years or older.
Be a legal resident of the District of Columbia for at least one year prior to the application deadline and must maintain residency during the entire grant period.
Have a permanent DC address as listed on proper identification or tax returns. PO Boxes may not be used as a primary address.
Must not hold any open grants awarded or administered by HumanitiesDC at the time of the application deadline.
Must be in good standing with HumanitiesDC. Applicants with outstanding or delinquent reports or final products from previous HumanitiesDC grants must submit them completed and without deficiencies at least 30 days before the deadline for which they wish to apply.
All grant recipients are responsible for reporting their respective grant award(s) as income on federal and local tax returns (in accordance with applicable law) and are strongly encouraged to consult with a tax professional and the United States Internal Revenue Service.
Eligibility Requirements (Applicable to both Organizations and Individuals)
Must be either planning or executing a program (or representing an organization planning or executing a program if serving as a fiscal sponsor) that:
o adheres to the summary and description outlined in this RFP.
has 100% of its geographic focus on Washington, DC or one of its neighborhoods.
will occur within the grant period
will have residents of Washington, DC as its primary audience.
By submitting a proposal, applicants certify that they are in compliance with all relevant eligibility requirements. Awarded applicants may be asked at any time during the grant period to provide proof of eligibility. Any awardees found to be ineligible after the award date will be required to return all grant funds to HDC.
100% of awarded grant funds must be applied to direct program costs. This may include salary, consulting fees, and/or honoraria for individuals working on the project, but cannot include indirect costs, overhead, rent, utilities, or administrative fees. Other disallowed expenses include: food and beverages, tuition and scholarships, debt reduction, re-granting, costs related to fundraisers and special events, expenses unrelated to the execution of the project, and funding to foreign or domestic government agencies.
Examples of Allowable Costs:
- Project supplies and equipment
- Venue rental fees
- Speaker or scholar honoraria
- Project transportation
- Equipment rental
- Marketing and promotion
- Exhibit design or construction
- Project consultant fees
Examples of Disallowed Costs:
- Office rent, overhead, and utilities
- General office supplies and equipment
- Food and beverages
- Costs associated with the production of visual or performing arts projects
- Projects designed to be attended or used by a limited audience such as an organization’s membership
Applicants may contact HumanitiesDC’s grants staff with questions regarding allowable costs. Grantees will be required to detail all expenses in quarterly and final reports.
Accessibility and ADA Compliance
All organizational applicants must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The ADA provides civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, services rendered by state and local government, places of public accommodation, transportation and telecommunication services. Organizations funded by HumanitiesDC must make reasonable accommodations to ensure that people with disabilities have equal physical and communications access as defined by federal law.
Applicant organizations with more than 14 full time employees must include, in their grant applications, a response to the “Accessibility” section of its grant application that includes the following information:
1. The process for formulating accessibility plans (e.g. creating an accessibility advisory committee, board and staff disability rights training, budgeting for reasonable accommodation requests, etc.).
2. The current process/status of an organization’s physical accessibility. If the location is not barrier-free, include in the grant application a plan for project/program modification that ensures access in a barrier-free environment, when needed.
3. The current progress/status of the organization’s accessibility in presenting activities – communications access (e.g. TDD, large print, or brail materials; audio description or assistive listening devices, ASL interpreted programs, etc.) and marketing/advertising.
In addition to detailed plans for its compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C § § 12101 et seq.), each applicant must demonstrate how the project will be inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible throughout the District of Columbia, beyond participants with disabilities. Successful applications will consider a broad definition of “accessibility” by addressing financial, geographic, demographic, cultural and developmental access. For more information, applicants may access the complete text of the ADA here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/12101. Note that neither HumanitiesDC nor the District of Columbia government represent that this link leads to the latest version of the subject law.
Technical Assistance Workshops
HumanitiesDC schedules technical grants assistance workshops for prospective applicants prior to the deadline for each cycle. These workshops may be conducted via live webinars. These workshops, led by HumanitiesDC grants staff, provide information on grant qualifications, grant writing best practices, and navigation of the online grants portal. HumanitiesDC staff will not write applications for prospective applicants but will provide feedback on drafts. To request feedback, applicants must send a request by email to the grants staff member listed on the RFP no less than two weeks before the deadline. The technical grants assistance workshops are free and open to the public, but applicants are strongly encouraged to register via Eventbrite before attending. As the workshops are scheduled, the dates, times, locations, and registration links will be available on our website at https://www.wdchumanities.org.
Application Review Process
Qualified applications are submitted to a review panel comprised of Washington, DC residents with backgrounds and/or experience in humanities programming or scholarship. These panelists score the proposals assigned to them based on an established rubric that closely aligns with the questions in the application. After the reading and scoring period, panelists convene in person to discuss the merits and deficiencies of the applications in their cohort and to finalize their rankings under the guidance of HumanitiesDC grants staff and board members. All panelists, staff and board members are expected to remain impartial as they undertake their respective parts in the evaluation process. HumanitiesDC requires that all involved recuse themselves from review of any application that presents a personal or professional conflict of interest, and panelists must sign a statement acknowledging that they will adhere to this policy.
The rankings presented by the panelists are adjusted according to thematic, geographic, and audience diversity by the HumanitiesDC grants staff and a final slate of proposed projects are submitted to the HumanitiesDC board for approval.
Notification and Payment of Awards
HumanitiesDC will notify applicants of their status (funded or denied) no more than 45 days after the application deadline. Grant award recipients will receive an official grant award letter through the online system which will include a link to submit acceptance forms and to sign the grant conditions. Denied applicants will be given one week to request a summary of panelist comments.
For award recipients, the date of payment is subject to the availability of funds and the processing of required documentation. Awards are disbursed via direct deposit. Awarded applicants are required to submit a W-9 form, and an ACH form which is made available through the online grants portal.
Additional Requirements and Information
Project directors working on each awarded partnership grant will be required to attend an initial kickoff awards ceremony tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
2. All curators will be supported by a member of the HDC grants team. This HDC consultant or staff member will be responsible for providing support and advice to curators as well as ensuring that all project work is progressing smoothly.
3. The grants staff cohort leaders will schedule several required check-in sessions with partnership curators over the course of the project period.
4. All curators must participate in joint marketing and communications campaigns with HumanitiesDC during the grant period.
Awardees agree to document all grant expenditures and provide a final report at the end of the project period using forms provided by HumanitiesDC.
2. Successful applicants will be awarded the full award at the beginning of the grant period but will be required to submit interim progress and budget reports. Failure to complete these reports according to the schedule may result in intervention on the part of grants staff up to and including a request to return disbursed funds.
3. Any changes to the scope or budget (greater than 15% in any one category) of a partnership project must be communicated to HumanitiesDC in writing.
4. Awarded applicants will sign grant conditions that constitute a legally binding contract between HumanitiesDC and the applicant’s organization or fiscal sponsor. The signatory will be legally obligated to complete the project under the terms of the grant conditions.
5. Other expenses that cannot be attributed to this grant award include: food or drink of any kind, the production or materials for creative or performing arts projects, and fundraising or membership cultivation events.
6. All final products generated as part of this partnership grant opportunity will be collected by HumanitiesDC for inclusion in the DC Digital Museum. Awarded grantees will retain shared, non-exclusive copyright to retain copies, publicly distribute, and publish derivative works based on the materials they collect.
Reporting and Close Out:
Grantees will be required to close out their grants no later than 30 days after the end of the grant period. The financial portion of the final report consists of: a form comparing the original budget to actual expenditures, an itemized list of all expenditures against the grant, backup for all expenses (receipts, payroll, paid invoices, cancelled checks, etc.), and a timesheet (individual grantees only). The narrative report consists of evaluative forms for both the project director and the project scholar. All these documents and forms are submitted in the HumanitiesDC grant portal. The last part of the report is the final product and any accompanying documentation. Final products are submitted to HumanitiesDC via a Dropbox file request link specific to the grantee.
Failure to submit the report and final products in-full and by the deadline may result in the grantee being made ineligible to receive future funding from HumanitiesDC. Failure to complete the project may require the grantee to return all awarded funds.