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Humanities Tennessee Grant Program

Humanities Tennessee conducts an annual grant competition that supports humanities educational projects designed to serve Tennesseans who are not employed by, or enrolled in, post-secondary educational institutions.

Proposals are ranked by an outside review panel according to the following criteria, and grants are made by the Humanities Tennessee Board based on these rankings:

  • The quality of the project's humanities content is determined by the extent to which the content is critical and analytical, rather than merely descriptive; the qualifications and involvement of scholars and professionals in the humanities; and the significance and appropriateness of the humanities texts used by the project.
  • The appropriateness and potential involvement of the audience is determined by the extent to which the project engages the public actively, critically, and analytically in the study of the humanities; by the accessibility of the project to the intended audience and by the degree to which the project serves an audience that would otherwise have limited access to education in the humanities.
  • The long-term benefits of the project are determined by the degree to which the project, after the grant period, promises to strengthen or increase educational programs in the humanities for Tennesseans and sustain its audience's active engagement in the humanities.
  • The economy of the project is determined by the extent to which the project budget demonstrates an economical use of public funds and by the amount and quality of the project's cost-sharing support.

Here is a list of our most Recently Funded Projects

*New Funding Priority* In recognition of the centennial of woman suffrage, the Board of Directors prioritizes funding for projects that engage Tennesseans in collective reflection and conversation about the roles of women in Tennessee public life since suffrage; that explore the impact and legacy of their political and civic engagement in Tennessee; or that consider the current and future contexts for women in public life.

*Ongoing Funding Priority* The Board of Directors prioritizes funding for projects that engage Tennesseans in collective reflection and conversation about issues that often divide us; that provide context for contemporary themes; or that consider our roles as individuals in civic life.

Recently Funded Projects reflecting the Ongoing Funding Priority

Matching Requirements

Projects must provide cost-sharing support at least equal to the amount of the grant. Projects that are free to the public may meet this requirement entirely through in-kind support. At least 50% of the cost-sharing support must be in cash when the project is not free-of-charge to its audience. Humanities Tennessee may make its grants contingent upon the sponsor raising additional third-party support.


Any not-for-profit organization, institution, or governmental agency is eligible to apply for grant funds. Humanities Tennessee has awarded grants to museums, libraries, historical societies, colleges and universities, public television and radio corporations, arts organizations, municipalities, churches and religious organizations, neighborhood and community groups, social service agencies, and various state agencies. Most organizations receiving grant funds have filed the necessary materials to receive official IRS tax-exempt status, although small not-for-profit groups that have not received this status are also eligible for our support.

Media Projects

Though Humanities Tennessee provides scripting/pre-production grants to out-of-state organizations, only Tennessee institutions/filmmakers are eligible for grants for production and post-production/distribution. Humanities Tennessee does not accept proposals from "pass-through" agencies, but only from organizations that are directly responsible for the project. Production personnel will be required to submit samples of their past work.

Humanities Tennessee does not fund:

  • advocacy or social action; projects for fundraising purposes; construction or restoration costs; purchase of equipment; library or museum acquisitions; research or other endeavors intended primarily for the scholarly community, or academic courses for credit; performing arts as ends in themselves; food and beverage costs for audiences or alcoholic beverages; expenses incurred or paid out before a Humanities Tennessee grant award is made;
  • the regular expenses and on-going activities of the sponsor

Apply for a Grant

To request an application for a grant from Humanities Tennessee, please use our online Request for Application.

Deadlines for Grant Applications, 2019

Draft Deadline:  March 11
Final Submission Deadline: April 8
For Projects Beginning After: May 11

Humanities Tennessee Small Project Grant Program

Following the annual grant competition, any unallocated funds are available through Small Project Grants of up to $2,500. Our staff determines the availability of unallocated funds by May 31st each year. Small Project Grants are ranked according to the same criteria as the annual grant competition by an outside review panel.

***Small Project Grants are currently unavailable as no unallocated funds remain***

Apply for a Small Project Grant

Contact our program staff to find out if unallocated funds are available. If so, you may request a grant application by using our online Request for Application.

For Grant Recipients

Click here to access our Recipient Tools page where you will find logos, credit language, and reporting forms.