Capacity Grants

Capacity Grants support consultant-led projects up to $9,999 to help Connecticut organizations strengthen their internal operations and ability to bring the humanities to the public.

On this page, you will find:

  1. Capacity Grants Overview
  2. Apply
  3. FAQs
  4. Resources for Grantees

Capacity Grants Overview

What are Capacity Grants?Sample Capacity GrantsGuidelines & ApplicationResourcesImportant Dates

Capacity Grants help Connecticut organizations that bring humanities to the public think strategically, better understand their audiences, assets, and operations, and plan for the future. They support a wide range of consultant-led projects that may include:

  • Board assessments and training
  • Strategic planning
  • Market assessments and planning
  • Audience assessments
  • Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) assessments, planning, and training
  • Financial assessments and planning
  • Development (fundraising) assessments and planning
  • Collections assessments and planning
  • Interpretive assessments and planning
  • Technology assessments and planning

For more information and examples of typical Capacity Grant projects, view the “Sample Capacity Grants” tab.

Audience Assessment and Planning

Who currently visits your organization? Who doesn’t visit? What programs and activities would excite your community most? Capacity Grants can help your organization conduct audience surveys, run focus groups, and more to gain a better understanding of your organization’s audience and create a plan for the future.

Sample Model Applications:

Collections Assessment and Planning

Do you know what your organization’s collections strengths are? Has your organization recently received an important new collection? Are there key collections that you need to digitize to be able to share them with the public? Capacity Grants can help you gain physical and intellectual control of your collections, identify your strongest humanities themes and stories, and prepare your organization to better share your collections with the public.

Sample Model Applications:

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Assessment, Planning, and Training

Does your organization’s current audience reflect the diversity of the community you serve? Is your institution accessible to all visitors? Capacity Grants can give your staff and board the training, tools, and plan to become a more inclusive community asset.

Sample model application coming soon.

Interpretive Assessment and Planning

What are your organization’s most compelling stories? Do your exhibitions and programs highlight your strengths? Capacity Grants can examine your current interpretation and make recommendations for future projects that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Sample Model Application:

Strategic Planning

Does your organization struggle to prioritize all the things it needs and wants to do? Do you have a plan or vision to guide your organization for the next three to five years? Capacity Grants can help your staff and board think about its mission and purpose and craft a prioritized plan to move forward for the future.

Sample Model Applications:

The sample grants included above are not an exclusive list of the types of projects Capacity Grants can fund. If you have a project idea you’d like to discuss, please reach out to Grants staff at grants@cthumanities.org!

Please note that application questions may change. Some sample applications do not reflect all questions asked in the current application. Click the “Guidelines and Application” tab to preview the current Capacity Grant application.

Guidelines:

Please read the Capacity Grant guidelines before applying. The Capacity Grant Guidelines outline eligibility requirements, eligible expenses, matching requirements, grant duration, and more.

All Capacity Grant applications should identify the consultant you plan to work with and provide their proposal.

View Grant Guidelines

Funding Priorities:

Priority for Capacity Grant funding is given to organizations that highlight the ways that they currently present and interpret the humanities to the public and articulate how their project will strengthen and improve their ability to do so moving forward.

CT Humanities seeks to fund projects that include significant humanities scholarship and content; explore topics and stories in an inclusive, diverse, and equitable manner; and commemorate the 250th anniversary of the formation of the United States consistent with the America 250 | CT Commission’s guiding themes. You can find more information about our funding priorities here.

What are the humanities?

The humanities are fields of learning that help us to understand and appreciate human history, culture, values, and beliefs. They include (but are not limited to) history, cultural studies, civics, literature, and art history and criticism. For a more complete view of the humanities, click here.

If your organization is at the intersection of the humanities and any other field (such as the arts), you must be able to clearly articulate how your organization regularly brings the humanities to the public and how this project will help you improve your ability to continue to do so.

Preview the Application:

To preview the current Capacity Grant application, click here. Please note that all character limits include spaces.

After speaking with Grants staff about your project, apply through the CTH Grant Application Portal.

Need help with navigating the CTH Grant Portal? Looking for resources to help your organization with its data collection? Seeking resources to help develop and strengthen humanities projects?

Click the button below to view our Resources for Applicants:

Resources for Applicants

Please also feel free to reach out to CTH Grants Staff at grants@cthumanities.org with any questions.

Application deadlines are typically the first Friday of November and May.

Upcoming Application deadlines:

  • November 1, 2024
  • May 2, 2025

Award notification: The first workday of January (for the November deadline) or July (for the May deadline)

Grant period: 12 months starting from the date of the award notification

Norwalk Pottery, Norwalk Historical Society

Apply

We are eager to help you submit a strong application. Before applying, organizations must contact CTH Grants Staff at grants@cthumanities.org to discuss your project idea. Applications submitted without prior communication with CTH staff will not be considered.

For an overview of the application process, click here.

Online Grant Application Portal

FAQs about Capacity Grants

What types of organizations are eligible to apply for a Capacity Grant?
To apply for a Capacity Grant, your organization must regularly bring the humanities to the public and be one of the following:

  • A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in the state of Connecticut for at least one year and governed by a board of directors that meets regularly
  • A municipality in the state of Connecticut
  • A Connecticut-based federally or State recognized tribe

Non-eligible applicants may choose to partner with an eligible organization to apply for a Capacity Grant, though in this case CT Humanities would be contracting with the eligible partner organization. You can find more information about eligibility requirements in the Capacity Grant guidelines (see the “Guidelines and Application” tab above).

Can I purchase equipment with Capacity Grant funds?
Yes. While the majority of Capacity Grant funds should go to the consultant(s) working with you on your project, funding may also be used to purchase equipment and supplies needed to successfully complete your capacity-building activity. Note that Capacity Grant funds cannot be used solely to purchase equipment and equipment costs may not exceed $5,000.

You can find a list of eligible expenses and funding exclusions in the grant guidelines (see the “Guidelines and Application” tab above). If you are unsure whether an expense is allowable, please reach out to Grants staff.

Do I need to go to competitive bid to identify my consultant?
No. However, successful Capacity Grant proposals will articulate how you selected your consultant and why they are the right fit for your organization and this project.

How much information do I need to include in my application?
The more information you can provide, the better. Typically, a competitive Capacity Grant application will include a narrative describing the background of the project, a description of how you selected your consultant and why this is the right consultant for your project, a detailed explanation of the work to be done during the grant period and schedule for completion, a clear articulation of how this project will help your organization to improve its capacity to bring the humanities to the public, and a proposal from the consultant.

What are eligible matching funds?
Capacity Grants require a minimum 1:1 match. These matching funds can come from any combination of the following:

  • External Funds – Funds raised to support the project, such as through donations or other grants.
  • Applicant Funds – Funds from your organizations spent on the project, such as salary for staff time or the purchase of equipment.
  • In-Kind Contributions – The value of any donated time or items for the project. For example, volunteers’ time can be valued and used to match the grant (for a typical volunteer, we recommend that volunteer time be valued at the current IRS or AARP recommended rate ($31/hr in 2023); for specialists donating their time, value their time at their regular rates).

Funding from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development or any other state agency cannot be used for matching purposes. For more information about matching requirements, view the grant guidelines (see the “Guidelines and Application” tab above).

Can I have two Capacity Grants open at the same time?
No. At any given time, an organization may have:

You are eligible to apply for another Capacity Grant after you’ve completed your final report and closed your open Capacity Grant.

How will my grant application be scored?
The Application Review Committee will score your application using these questions, which will be used as the basis of their discussion of all grant applications. You can find more information about the application review process here

Can I save a copy of my application?
Yes. In the CTH Grants Portal, open your grant application. Under your contact information, you should see three buttons. Click the middle button “Application Packet” to create a PDF of your application. 

How are funds disbursed?
Funds are disbursed in two installments: 80% at the time of fully executed grant agreement and the remaining 20% after completion of the final report. Starting in 2023, funds are disbursed via ACH transfers through Bill.com. If you have not previously received funds through Bill from CTH, you can follow these steps to register for Bill and connect to us for payment.

Resources for Grantees

Have you received a Capacity Grant? Visit the Resources for Grantees page here for information on grant management, a Public Relations Toolkit, and more resources!

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