NEH Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants 2018

National Endowment for the Humanities logo

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)  has announced a March 2018 deadline for its Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge program, which offers grants to strengthen the institutional base of the humanities by enabling infrastructure development and capacity building.

The Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge program aims to help institutions secure long-term support for their core activities and expand efforts to preserve and create access to outstanding humanities materials. The program funds grants for pursuing those goals in two ways:

  • INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT:Applications designed to provide capital for directly supporting the purchase of equipment and software; the design, purchase, construction, restoration, or renovation of facilities needed for humanities activities; and collections sharing.
  • CAPACITY BUILDING:Applications that aim increase an institution’s humanities capacity with spend-down funds that generate expendable earnings to support and enhance ongoing program activities.Examples include the documentation of cultural heritage materials that are lost or imperiled; the preservation and conservation of humanities materials; and the sustaining of digital scholarly infrastructure.

Challenge grant funds (both federal and non-federal together) must enhance the humanities in the long term and should not merely replace funds already being expended.  Instead, they should reflect careful strategic planning to strengthen and enrich an institution’s humanities activities. Institutions may use challenge grant funds to meet both ongoing and one-time humanities-related costs, provided that the long-term benefit of the expenditure can be demonstrated.

Grant recipients must raise—from non-federal third-party donors—three times the amount of federal funds offered for grants up to $500,000, and four times the amount of federal funds offered for grants in excess of $500,000. (While grants up to $750,000 are available from this program, they rarely exceed $500,000.)

The deadline for applications is March 15, 2018, with winners of the grants being notified by email in August 2018 and projects packets in the mail by September 2018.

You can read the program overview and find the 2018 guidelines here:

Program questions should be directed to NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access at (202) 606-8309 or Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact NEH via Federal Relay (TTY users) at 1-800-877-8399.

Backstage Library Works can provide on-site expertise and equipment for digitizing local materials as part of your challenge grant. For help in defining your project’s scope and calculating costs, please contact your Backstage representative and ask about our digitization services. Call us at 1-800-288-1265 or email

Much of the content for this post comes from the NEH Grants program web page:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free