Request for Proposals

RFP Issued: April 25, 2022

Download RFP
Apply Now

Application Deadline

  • June 3, 2022, 6:00pm ET

Applicant Eligibility: Individuals and Organizations

Project Period

  • All Humanitini events (in person or virtual) proposed must take place within the project period. The Grant Period is August 1, 2022 – February 28, 2023. 

  • Prospective Curators will choose to have their Humanitini in November 2022, December 2022, January 2023 or February 2023. 

Access Assistance

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 Eli Yussuf, Grants Manager at 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

Award Amount

Applicants may request up to $5,000.

Applicants may submit one project application for this grant program in FY2022.

Please read this request for proposals in full before submitting an application.

Staff Contact

 Eli Yussuf, Grants Manager – 

About HumanitiesDC

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.”1


HumanitiesDC is offering the opportunity for others conducting and presenting original humanities research to become Humanitini Curators. Each Curator will create an in-person or virtual 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.

The public programs will follow HumanitiesDC’s successful Humanitini model that brings thoughtful humanities discussions to Washington, DC’s happy-hour scene. Download the Curator guide as a reference to in person Humanitini programs here. HumanitiesDC will set up and manage online registration for each program. Each curated project will be free for the public to attend. Curators must budget for a professional videographer to film in-person Humanitini program and edit the footage, and an ASL interpreter to provide interpretation for virtual or in person programming. 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.

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.

Funding Scope

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. Humanitini programming should be engaging to a variety of attendees and is not intended specifically for a scholarly audience. The programmatic content should spark interest and engagement among attendees. Programming should take place during happy hour or between 5:00 pm – 7:30pm on a weekday. 

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.

Cash and/or In-Kind Match Requirement:

There is no match requirement for this grant opportunity. However, if the program costs are more than the amount awarded in this grant applicants are strongly encouraged to share other secured and planned funding sources in the required Budget Narrative.

How to Apply

The HumanitiesDC grants portal can be accessed at  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 Eli Yussuf, Grants Manager at 

All HumanitiesDC grant applications are accepted via an online grant portal. Applications must be successfully submitted by 6:00pm 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.
  • By submitting a proposal, applicants certify that they or their fiscal sponsors 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.

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.

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.

Allowable Costs

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: 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

  • HumanitiesDC will have an FAQ sheet available on our website at Applicants will have three weeks at the beginning of the submission period to send questions to Eli Yussuf, Grants Manager at no later than May 13, 2022. The FAQ sheet will be updated on the website and shared with anyone that has submitted questions no later than May 16, 2022. 
  • A webinar will be held midway through the application period to address questions. The webinar is free and open to the public. Registration is recommended to attend, and additional information can be found on our website. 
  • Virtual office hours will be held to answer additional questions. Office hours are 20-minute one-on-one virtual sessions free and open to the public. Office hours will be offered May 23 – June 3, 2022. To schedule office hours please visit our website at 

Application Review Process

Qualified applications are submitted to a review panel comprised of Washington, DC metro area 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 or virtually 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 review. 

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 grant portal. 

Additional Requirements and Information: 

1. Project directors working on each awarded partnership grant will be required to attend an initial kickoff ceremony that may be held in person or virtually. The ceremony may be scheduled on or after August 1, 2022. 

2. All curators will be supported by a member of the HDC grants team. HDC staff members will also be available to provide some assistance with the Humanitinies event. 

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. 


  1. 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 participate in a check-in meeting to ensure programmatic efforts are on track, to discuss any impediments, and discuss joint outreach efforts for the program. 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 25% 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. Grantees (including anyone directly administering the project or program being funded) shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with District of Columbia Covid-19 requirements by either being: (a) fully vaccinated against COVID-19; or (b) qualifying for a vaccination exemption (as defined by the District of Columbia) and undergoing weekly testing and mask wearing while working on the grant-related project or program. See the Mayor’s Order here for more information. * 

    *Please note, due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic these requirements are subject to change during the grant period. 

Reporting and Close Out:

Interim reporting 

    • Grantees will be required to participate in an interim check-in meeting by phone or in person to evaluate project status and progress. This check-in will take place approximately 6 weeks prior to the scheduled Humanitini.

Close out

  • Grantees will be required to close out their grants no later than 30 days after the end of the grant period or March 30, 2023. 
  • The required final report will consist of a narrative, evaluation sheet and financial form requesting a comparison between the original budget to actual expenditures. Also required: 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). 
  • As part of the close out, HumanitiesDC requires grantees to submit a recording of the Humanitini to be placed on HumanitiesDC’s YouTube Channel, and for possible use in the promotion of the overall grant program. 
  1. From the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965 via