Everything you need to know about applying for the grant is below, but, if you would rather have a conversation about the opportunity, give us a call. We would love to talk to you. Contact Laura Benson, assistant director of grants and administration, at 651-772-4244 or laura@mnhum.org.

Information Session

MHC will host an information session via Zoom for anyone interested in applying on Monday, November 22 at 10:00 am. You will receive the Zoom information after you register.

If you are unable to participate in the live session, the recording will be available online afterward.

Register Now

Grant Overview

Through the 2021-23 Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, MHC will award $4,750,000 in grants to individuals and nonprofit organizations in Minnesota working to create, celebrate, and teach the art, culture, and heritage of diverse Minnesota communities.

These funds will be administered according to the intent and language of MN State Legislature Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 8, (d): “$2,500,000 the first year and $2,500,000 the second year are for a competitive grants program to provide grants to organizations or individuals working to create, celebrate, and teach the art, culture, and heritage of diverse Minnesota communities, including but not limited to Asian and Pacific Island communities, the Somali diaspora and other African immigrant communities, Indigenous communities with a focus on the 11 Tribes in Minnesota, the African American community, the Latinx community, and other underrepresented cultural groups, including communities of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, to celebrate the cultural diversity of Minnesota.”

The process, scope, and criteria for this appropriation were designed through rich conversations and meaningful input shared between MHC and a diversity of Minnesotans. MHC is honored to administer these funds in support of projects that amplify and celebrate diverse Minnesotan communities.

Individuals and nonprofit organizations will have three opportunities to apply over the next two years: Winter 2021, Summer 2022, and Winter 2022. All funds, regardless of when awarded, must be spent and projects completed by September 30, 2023.

Grant Goals

Aligning with the intent and legislative language of this grant opportunity, the goals of these grants are to:

  • Preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota;
  • Provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity;
  • Support the development of culturally diverse humanities programming by individuals and organizations; OR
  • Empower communities in building identity and culture.

Aligning with the outcomes of the Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, these grants should also:

  • Amplify arts, culture, and heritage in Minnesota AND/OR
  • Increase the depth and breadth of Minnesotans who will connect with arts, culture, and heritage.

Eligibility

  • 501c registered public charities (per IRS) based in Minnesota
  • Nonprofit organizations with a fiscal sponsor based in Minnesota (Note: Organizations with fiscal sponsors will be required to show a contract as part of the application process and fiscal sponsor fees may not exceed 10% of the project request)
  • Individuals based in Minnesota (Note: individuals may apply with a fiscal sponsor or on their own and assume all related tax implications)
  • Organizations must be in good standing with the IRS and not appear on the OFAC Sanctions list
  • Individuals and organizations must be up to date on reporting and state requirements for any funds previously awarded by the Minnesota Humanities Center

Selection Process and Timeline

The selection process will be one or two steps, depending on the size of your request. Funding recommendations will be made by independent review panels comprised of community members.

Requests may not exceed $75,000 for projects up to one year and no more than $150,000 for projects up to two years. All projects must be completed by September 2023.

If applying in English is a barrier, please contact Laura Benson, assistant director of grants and administration, at laura@mnhum.org or 651-772-4244.

Step One: All Applicants – Short Form Application

All applicants will submit a short form describing their proposed project.

Applications requesting $20,000 or less will be reviewed and awarded based on this short form.

Applications requesting more than $20,000 will be assessed and may be invited as a Semifinalist into Step Two.

Step Two: Projects over $20,000 only – Full Proposal and Conversation

Semifinalists will submit a full proposal about their project. After submitting a full proposal, semifinalists may have a phone or video call with panelists to talk about their proposals, share additional information, and answer questions from the panel. Semifinalists requesting less than $25,000 are not required to participate in a call with panelists but may choose to if they would like.

Timeline
11:59 p.m., December 13, 2021 – Application Deadline for all applicants
January 10, 2022 – Notifications of awards up to $20,000 and Semifinalists
January 26, 2022 – Semifinalist Full Proposal Deadline
Week of February 14 – Conversations with Semifinalists and Panelists
February 28, 2022 – All Semifinalist Notifications

Grantees will be announced publicly in March 2022.

How to Apply

Before submitting, applicants should:

  1. Review funding requirements
  2. Review Assessment Criteria
  3. Review FAQs
  4. Preview the Short Form Application questions

MHC staff would also be happy to talk with you about your project ideas and provide feedback on your draft application. Please contact Laura Benson, assistant director of grants and administration, at laura@mnhum.org or 651-772-4244 any time before December 6, 2021.

Ready to submit?

Eligible applicants can submit your application in any of the following formats: online form, email, video, or audio message. You may also feel free to suggest an alternative method to MHC at least one week in advance of the deadline.

Regardless of format, applications must answer the same questions. See above for the application preview.

If you have questions or would like to submit your application in a way not mentioned above, contact Laura Benson, assistant director of grants and administration: laura@mnhum.org or 651-772-4244.

State Funding Requirements

The Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF) requires that proposed and/or awarded funds support new work or new additions to existing work. These funds must supplement, not substitute, other funding sources – in other words, this grant cannot replace expenses for ongoing projects.

ACHF prohibits funds from being used to:

  • Cover costs expensed before the grant agreement is fully signed
  • Start, match, add to, or complete any type of capital campaign
  • Support capital costs (such as improvements, construction, property, or equipment)
  • Pay for indirect costs or other institutional overhead charges that are not directly related and proportional to, and necessary for, the activities outlined in the project proposal
  • Support benefits and fundraisers
  • Purchase promotional giveaway items like t-shirts, keychains, etc.
  • Fund out-of-state expenses, including out-of-state travel

If an individual, organization, or project does not meet all the above requirements, we will not consider the application.

Assessment Criteria

The following criteria will be used by the independent review panels to assess LOIs:

  • Alignment with community
    • Does the project benefit a community or communities named in the legislative language? To what degree does the project respond to that community’s identified need or opportunity?
    • To what degree is the applicant part of a community or communities named in the legislative language?
    • How involved was/is/will the identified community or communities be in the project?
  • Alignment with grant goals
    • To what degree does the project:
      • Preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota;
      • Provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity;
      • Support the development of culturally diverse humanities programming by individuals and organizations; or
      • Empower communities in building identity and culture?
  • Alignment with state funding requirements
    • To what degree is the project new work or new additions to existing work (rather than replacing/supplanting existing funds for ongoing work)?

In addition to the criteria above, the panel may consider the diversity of the overall awardee pool, including geographic location, project topic, audience, etc.

Note: Semifinalist applications will be assessed on these additional criteria.

Shared Definitions and FAQs

2022-2023 Legislative Biennium: July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2023.

Arts and Cultural Heritage Programming: The legislative language identifies the arts as an expression of culture and cultural heritage. Because MHC is not a general arts funder, any arts related activities in these proposals should have a clear connection to the applicant’s identified culture and cultural heritage. Additionally, MHC does not define what is or isn’t a part of culture or cultural heritage; we listen to communities who can shape and share that.

Humanities: The humanities help us express, examine, and learn what it means to be human. They include our cultures, languages, ethics, civics, stories, religions, laws, philosophies, histories, and more. Humanities can refer to these disciplines as well as public activities – including storytelling, cultural preservation and education, community dialogue and place-based learning – that help us learn about our humanity and the human experience.

Q: How many applications can I submit? If I’m awarded in one round, can I apply for/receive a grant in a later round?
A: An organization or individual is only eligible to receive one grant per round, regardless of the amount of the grant. You may choose to submit more than one application at a time, but only one may be awarded per round. An organization or individual may apply and receive a grant in each of the three rounds, as long as they are for different projects or with clearly distinct expenses from a grant that was previously awarded.

Q: What does a successful project look like?
A: A successful project is one that addresses and reflects the needs of the communities served by the applicant seeking funding – you! In other words, we want you to define what success looks like in your community.

Q: Are planning grants allowed?
A: Yes, planning grants are allowed. Applicants may choose to apply for a planning grant, an implementation grant, or include both a planning and implementation phase of their project in their grant proposal. Projects will be assessed against the goals and criteria of the grant regardless of what type of grant is being requested.

Q: Can we receive feedback about our grant?
A: Yes, MHC staff are happy to help review drafts of your proposal no later than one week before the deadline, as well as provide panel feedback to you following grant notifications.

Q: What is the grant period for completing awarded projects?
A: The grant period begins when the grant agreement is fully signed by both the grantee and MHC, and must be completed no later than September 30, 2023.

Q: What should I consider as I am deciding how much to request?
A: MHC must follow state guidelines and policies, some of which require additional financial or reporting requirements depending on the amount of the grant award. The most important ones for applicants to consider are:

  • Grants that are $10,000 or more require grantees to submit more detailed financial reporting, such as a detailed trial balance vs. a summary trial balance.
  • Grants that are $25,000 or more require an additional financial review before a grant can be awarded – this entails applicants providing a financial statement, such as a 990 or financial audit, for MHC to review, which may take some additional time.
  • Grants that are $50,000 or more require a site visit and financial reconciliation, with additional requirements for grants on an advanced payment schedule vs. a reimbursement payment schedule.

Q: Can I include personnel costs in my proposed budget?
A: Yes! MHC encourages applicants to pay staff and contractors who are working on their proposed projects.

Q: Can more than one organization and/or individual submit a joint application if we’re partnering on the project?
A: MHC encourages but does not require collaboration on grant projects. However, only one organization or individual may be the “lead” applicant. The lead applicant will serve as the main contact and the one who will receive grant payments, if awarded, on behalf of the collaboration or partnership.

Q: If I am selected to be a semifinalist, what questions will I have to answer in the full proposal?
A: Applicants who apply for more than $20,000 and are invited to apply in the semifinalist round will answer these additional questions in our online grant portal.

Q: What happens after we’re awarded?
A: When we notify you of your award, we will also communicate details about next steps, including: collecting any additional information and paperwork (such as clarification or revisions to your proposal, if any, and collecting a W-9 and ACH authorization form in order to issue grant payments); sharing grantee resources with you; and setting up a meeting to talk through questions and finalize the grant agreement.

Expenses may be applied to the grant beginning on the date that the grant agreement is fully signed by both you and MHC – we cannot reimburse expenses that occur prior to that date.

Once the agreement is fully signed, your grant will be officially underway! Check out the Grantee Toolkit for more information about what being a grantee with MHC looks like.

Q: If awarded, what reporting requirements will I have to complete?
A: Grantees will be required to submit 1-2 interim reports and a final report, depending on the length of their grant period. These reports are designed for grantees to provide MHC with project progress and financial updates that we need to submit to the state’s Legacy website.

Q: What does “In good standing” with the IRS mean?
A: In good standing with the IRS means that the organization has completed all reporting requirements and can therefore receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. We use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search to confirm compliance.

Q: Who are the independent review panelists who will be assessing the applications and how are they chosen?
A: MHC shares a public call for panelists. Panelists are selected from this pool based on their responses and affinity or identity in relation to who the grant is intended for. Review panelists cannot apply for a grant through this opportunity. For this grant opportunity, all panelists will be part of Asian and Pacific Island communities, the Somali diaspora and other African immigrant communities, Indigenous communities with a focus on the 11 Tribes in Minnesota, the African American community, the Latinx community, and other underrepresented cultural groups, including communities of Black, Indigenous, and people of color. MHC gives panelists the choice to allow us to disclose their names before, during, or after the review process is complete, and each review panel may make a different choice. All panelist names are disclosed on the Legacy website after a grant round is complete.

Q: Who are the independent review panelists who will be assessing the applications and how are they chosen?
A: MHC shares a public call for panelists. Panelists are selected from this pool based on their responses and affinity or identity in relation to who the grant is intended for. Review panelists cannot apply for a grant through this opportunity. For this grant opportunity, all panelists will be part of Asian and Pacific Island communities, the Somali diaspora and other African immigrant communities, Indigenous communities with a focus on the 11 Tribes in Minnesota, the African American community, the Latinx community, and other underrepresented cultural groups, including communities of Black, Indigenous, and people of color. MHC gives panelists the choice to allow us to disclose their names before, during, or after the review process is complete, and each review panel may make a different choice. All panelist names are disclosed on the Legacy website after a grant round is complete.

Public Data Policy

Per Minn. Stat. § 13.599, the names and addresses of grant applicants become public data when MHC opens the grant proposals. All other data (except trade secret data as defined and classified in §13.37) in grant proposals, and data created or maintained by MHC as part of the evaluation process, become public data once a grant agreement is fully executed (signed by both the grantee’s authorized representative and MHC’s). Anyone can request to see or receive a copy of public data, which is maintained by MHC. Grant project information will be posted to the Legacy website.