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.

Program Description

Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC) will award new competitive Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage funds to American Indian and immigrant individuals and nonprofit organizations. MHC is honored to have the opportunity to administer these funds, and support organizations and communities to amplify and celebrate the rich diversity of arts, culture, and heritage in Minnesota.

These Cultural Identity funds will be distributed in three rounds of competitive grants in the first year of the 2019-2021 legislative biennium (through June 2020), and one round during the second year of the legislative biennium (through June 2021). Over the course of the first two rounds, up to $35,000 will be dispensed through microgrants — up to $5,000 per award. During the third round, the remaining funds will be awarded in larger amounts.

Microgrants will be awarded in fall/winter 2019, while we co-design round three – the larger grants – with community. Those larger grants will be planned over the fall and winter of 2019, and the call for proposals for those larger grants will open January 2020.

The fourth round of funding for these Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage grants, in year two of the legislative biennium, will open July 2020, with grants funds to be spent and projects completed no later than October 2021.

Program Goals

These funds will be administered according to the intent and language of Minnesota State Legislature Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 8, (d) : “The Minnesota Humanities Center must operate a competitive grants program to provide grants to programs that preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota or that provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity or to programs that empower communities to build their identity and culture. Priority must be given to grants for individuals and organizations working to create, celebrate, and teach indigenous arts and cultural activities and arts organizations and programs preserving, sharing, and educating on the arts and cultural heritage of immigrant communities in Minnesota.”

Therefore, the goals of these grants are to:

  • Preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota
  • Provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity
  • Empower communities to build their identity and culture.

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

  • Amplify American Indian arts, culture, and heritage in Minnesota and/or increase the depth and breadth of Minnesotans who will connect with American Indian arts, culture, and heritage.
  • Amplify immigrant arts, culture, and heritage in Minnesota and/or increase the depth and breadth of Minnesotans who will connect with immigrant arts, culture, and heritage.

Note: Minnesota Humanities Center will use 4.3% of the appropriation for the administration of these funds.

Shared Definitions and FAQs

American Indian/Immigrant Organizations: Organizations will be considered an American Indian /immigrant organization if the majority of their staff and/or board is American Indian or immigrant, the mission of the organization is to serve American Indian /immigrant communities, and/or the majority of the organization’s programming is for American Indian /immigrant communities.

Immigrants: Peoples who now call this place home and recently came from other lands. MHC acknowledges immigrants and refugees are not the same. We recognize people who have been forced to leave their country of origin to escape war, persecution, or natural disasters may not consider themselves immigrants.

American Indian: The term American Indian is the preferred name used by the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council and refers to the indigenous peoples of this land, honoring their sovereignty and relationships to this land and the US government. MHC believes and supports the principle that the peoples with the longest relationship to this land are to be called by whatever names they give themselves. There are many different peoples bearing such names as Dakota, Anishinaabe, Ho Chunk, and so on. These are the “real” names of the people. It is the intent of the authors of this legislation that the term indigenous is synonymous with American Indian, Dakota, Anishinaabe, Ho Chunk, Indian people, etc.

2019-2021 Legislative Biennium: July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021.

Arts and Cultural Heritage Programming: The legislative language identifies the arts as an expression of culture and cultural heritage. Any arts related activities in these proposals should have a clear connection to the applicant’s identified culture and cultural heritage. MHC is not a general arts funder.

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 the activities and actions – reflecting, making meaning, connecting, questioning, etc. – that help us learn about our humanity and the human experience.

Q: Can our organization receive more than one Cultural Identity grant?
A: Yes! An organization may apply and receive both one microgrant and a larger grant, as long as they are an eligible organization and the microgrant is completed before the larger grant begins. An organization cannot receive two microgrants. If an applicant does not receive a microgrant in round one, they may apply again in round two. An applicant does not need to receive a microgrant in order to receive a larger grant.

Q: Can we apply in partnership with another individual or organization?
A: Collaboration is welcomed but not required. Only one organization may be the lead applicant. Proposals and projects that propose collaboration will still be assessed on the same criteria as those proposals from single organizations and individuals.

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.

Eligibility and State Funding Requirements

Who is eligible: Individual artists and nonprofit organizations – either a 501c registered public charity (per IRS) or nonprofits with a fiscal sponsor. Individuals and organizations must be based in Minnesota, in good standing with the IRS, and up to date on reporting and state requirements for any funds previously awarded by the Humanities Center.

Note: 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 IRS compliance.

We are also required to check all applicants against the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Sanctions list.

Fund requirement: The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which underwrites this opportunity, 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.

The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund prohibits funds from being used to:

  • 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 program proposal
  • Cover expenditures incurred before the date we authorize you to begin work
  • Support benefits and fundraisers
  • Purchase promotional giveaway items like t-shirts, keychains, etc.
  • Fund out-of-state travel

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

Microgrants - Selection Process and Timeline

Independent review panels made up of community members will review and make award recommendations to MHC.

October 2019 – Microgrants Open Call
November – Microgrants Open Call/Deadline (Round One: Apply by 11:59 p.m. Nov. 1, 2019, notified by Nov 20, 2019)
December – Microgrants Open Call/Deadline (Round Two: Apply by 11:59 p.m. Dec 4, 2019, notified by Dec 20, 2019)

All microgrant activities must be completed and funding expensed by May 1, 2020.

Grantees will be required to submit 1-2 reports sharing progress and financial updates. The dates of these will be outlined in the grant agreement. These reports are designed for grantees to provide MHC with the information that we need to submit to the state’s Legacy website.

Microgrants - How to Apply

Eligible organizations and individuals can submit proposals in any of the following formats: online form, postal mail, video, or phone message. You may also feel free to suggest an alternative method to MHC at least one week in advance of the deadline.

Complete proposals, regardless of format, need to include the following information:

  1. Individual or Organization Name
  2. Individual or Organization Address
  3. Organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) or fiscal sponsor information
  4. Project contact information (phone and email)
  5. If applying as an organization: What do you want to tell us about your organization? How does your organization reflect the community?
    If applying as an individual: What do you want to tell us about your work overall?
    For individual American Indian applicants: Share your lineal descent.
  6. What are the goals of your project? What do you want to achieve, and what does success look like?
  7. How will your proposed activities/project amplify and/or connect all Minnesotans to American Indian or Immigrant arts, culture, and heritage in Minnesota?
  8. How will your proposed activities/project honor and preserve American Indian or Immigrant cultural heritage in Minnesota?
  9. How much are you requesting? (Support from MHC will not exceed $5,000)
  10. What will you spend the funds on? (Please include types of costs, as specific as you can be – here is an optional budget template you can use).

Ready to submit? Respond to the questions above by one of the following methods:

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

Microgrants - Assessment Criteria

Microgrant projects will be assessed on the degree to which their projects:

  • Preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota
    Provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity
    Empower communities to build their identity and culture.
  • Increase the depth and breadth of Minnesotans who will connect with American Indian or immigrant arts, culture, and heritage and/or amplify and celebrate American Indian or immigrant arts, culture, and heritage in Minnesota.

Larger Grants – Community Co-Design

This funding is a result of an identified need from a group of American Indian leaders. MHC is honored to facilitate the process of awarding these funds. One of MHC’s core operating principles is that solutions come from community. Communities know their own needs. For these Arts and Cultural Legacy funds, we want to co-design the grant criteria and outcomes together with you. Because these are state funds, we will have some guidelines to adhere to, but, the heart of the grant should come from community.

In October and November 2019, you can plan with us in person, or share your thoughts by phone or online form. We would love to connect with you. To give you an idea of what questions we might ask, and information you might think about and share with us…here are some example prompts:

What information does the independent review panel need to have to review and assess proposals?
What can we do to make the grant process accessible?

To honor the time and talents of individuals engaged with us over these two months, modest compensation will be available. The co-design process will conclude in December 2019 to be finalized and published for the launch of the call for proposals in January 2020.

In-person sessions
Come meet with us! Share your thoughts and ideas at the Minnesota Humanities Center – 987 Ivy Avenue East, St. Paul, MN 55106.

5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Oct 7
Let us know if you are going to drop by (we will have snacks!): Email laura@mnhum.org

5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Oct 8
Let us know if you are going to drop by (we will have snacks!): Email laura@mnhum.org

Watch here for more times and locations for in-person sessions, especially in Greater Minnesota.

Phone: 651-772-4276. Call us! Be sure and let us know if you would like us to reach back out to you, or, you are just sharing your thoughts and do not need a follow up.

Online Form: Fill out the Cultural Identity Community Co-Design Online Form as many times as you like, as ideas come to you.

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.