HumanitiesDC
   

Soul of the City Partnership Grant for Youth Programs

Request for Proposal

RFP Issued: November 7, 2019

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Application Deadline

All proposals must be received by July 31, 2020, 11:59pm EST.

Project Period

This opportunity is for projects conducted between September 15, 2020, and September 15, 2021.

Award Amount

Applicants may request up to $30,000 depending on the scope of their projects. Applicants may submit one project application for this grant program in FY2020.

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

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 the staff member listed below for support. When contacting us, please include the following in your query:

Staff Contact

Grants Manager: Andrea Carroll McNeil

About HumanitiesDC

HumanitiesDC is the State Humanities Council for Washington, DC, and one of 56 such institutions found in every state and territory of the United States, each affiliates of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Founded in 1980, our mission is 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.

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.”

Summary

Soul of the City is designed to provide young people, ages 14 to 19, an opportunity to explore the role of the Humanities in asking and answering critical questions about the world. The Soul of the City grant supports the development and execution of a high-quality, Humanities-driven, youth program. This award recognizes innovative models that empower and engage young Washingtonians through programs and projects that build civic engagement, and leadership skills. Successful applicants will propose programs that employ social emotional learning, engaged scholarship, and experiential learning.

What are we looking for?

The Soul of the City partnership grants program accepts applications for projects that will result in the creation and piloting of a curriculum that will be submitted to HumanitiesDC and distributed freely for the benefit of educators across the city. Proposed youth programs should:

Incorporating the Humanities
The Humanities represent a broad range of fields, many of which are interdisciplinary. Teaching through the Humanities allows for rigorous, engaging, and innovative scholarship that enhances the educational experiences of students. The Humanities as a field is dedicated to investigating what makes us human and how we experience the human condition. To that end, we are dedicated to creating environments where young learners are encouraged to think deeply and critically, take ownership of their own learning, and explore the world around them.

City as a Classroom
Washington, DC presents many extraordinary opportunities to introduce young people to the humanities disciplines. Programs can use the city’s museums, libraries, historic locations, landmarks, people, stories, buildings, public art, streetscapes, environments or other elements to introduce participants to Washington’s local, national, and international dimensions.

Community Partnerships
HumanitiesDC was founded in 1980 as the DC Community Humanities Council, and our commitment to encouraging grassroots scholarship has been a continued to be a part of our grantmaking. All proposed grant projects must demonstrate both how the community will benefit from the project and be actively involved in its creation. Rigorous scholarship is an important part of any funded proposal, but the best applications will propose projects that create partnerships between academia and the public.

Strong Scholar Involvement
One of the goals of HumanitiesDC’s partnership grant programs is to encourage productive relationships between humanities scholars and the public. All proposed projects must specify a scholar, and how that person will guide the project throughout the grant cycle. Typical scholars have an advanced degree in the humanities discipline most closely related to the proposed project and many have university affiliations, but an appropriate scholar does not always need these credentials. In every case, applicants must demonstrate the scholar has the appropriate expertise to serve in that role on the project and that the identified scholar has committed to working on the project throughout the grant cycle.

Final Products
Each Soul of the City grant application must provide for three common outputs:

Both the curriculum documents and the evaluation report will be collected and archived as part of HumanitiesDC’s DC Digital Museum.

Eagerness to Work Closely with HDC Grants Officers
HumanitiesDC grants officers strive to establish strong partnership-level relationships with their assigned grantee cohort. In the HumanitiesDC cohort model, Grants Officers work closely with grantees with regular check-in and information-sharing meetings,professional development and capacity-building workshops, and networking opportunities. Grants officers work with HumanitiesDC’s communications staff to promote grantee events and activities, and to seek press coverage for every funded project. Finally, grants officers provide capacity-building and technical assistance, serving as a sounding-board, giving advice and feedback on project activities and, ultimately, taking delivery of the final educational product.

Other Required Proposal Elements

Cash Match Requirement

This grant program requires a 1:1 match designed to help applicants raise funds from non-government, third-party sources. The match may be comprised of any combination of cash or in-kind contributions. Funding from HumanitiesDC, the District of Columbia Government, or the United States Government may not be used to satisfy the match requirement.

Common Characteristics of Successful Applications

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

Fiscal Sponsorship

Organizations without 501c3 non-profit status may apply through an organization serving as a fiscal sponsor provided that the fiscal sponsor organization meets all eligibility requirements in this RFP. Under this arrangement, the fiscal sponsor organization takes on all financial and legal obligations of the grant award. Fiscal sponsors may support no more than three grant programs at a time. Applicants applying through fiscal sponsors must use the fiscal sponsor’s organization account within the HumanitiesDC grants portal to submit their application. If the fiscal sponsor does not have an account, an authorized official from the fiscal sponsor organization must create one. Fiscal sponsors may not collect more than 10% of the total grant award as a fee for their services. During the grant period for projects awarded via fiscal sponsorship, the fiscal sponsor organization contact and the project director will both be required to correspond with and submit information to HumanitiesDC’s grants officers. Fiscal sponsors should not be involved in the overall planning or execution of project deliverables—if HumanitiesDC finds evidence during the grant period that the fiscal sponsor has attempted to exploit the fiscal sponsorship policy to improperly submit multiple applications for projects in which they have a considerable stake, the grant agreement may be terminated by HumanitiesDC.

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:

Examples of Disallowed Costs:

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.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access

All 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.

Organizations applying for funding from HumanitiesDC 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 braille 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 or the District of Columbia government represent that this link leads to the latest version of the subject law.

Technical Assistance Workshops

HumanitiesDC schedules at least four technical assistance workshops for prospective applicants prior to the deadline for each cycle. Several of 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 in this grant’s Calendar of Events, and on our website calendar 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, and all awarded applicants are required to submit an automated clearing house (ACH) form which is made available through the online grants portal.

Additional Requirements and Information

  1. Project directors working on each awarded partnership grant will be required to attend an initial kickoff awards ceremony on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, from 12:00-2:00pm.
  2. This grant requires a 1:1 match in any combination of cash or in-kind contributions.
  3. All partnership projects 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 project directors as well as ensuring that all project work is progressing smoothly.
  4. The grants staff cohort leaders will schedule several required check-in sessions with partnership project directors over the course of the project period.
  5. All partnership projects must participate in joint marketing and communications campaigns with HumanitiesDC during the grant period.
  6. Applicants will be expected to identify the final educational product that will be archived in the DC Digital Museum.
  7. Applicants will be expected to assign individuals to the following roles:
    • Organizational Sponsor · The chief executive or presiding board member of the applying or sponsoring non-profit organization.
    • Project Director · The person who will guide the daily operations of the project.
    • Humanities Scholar · A person with strong knowledge of both the project topic and the discipline or field.
    • Project Bookkeeper · The person responsible for maintaining a record of expenses against the grant award. This person cannot be assigned to any of the other project roles.

Terms

  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 submit quarterly 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 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. 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 inthe 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.