Planning Grants

Planning Grants of up to $25,000 support the research, planning, and development of humanities projects, such as exhibitions, public programs, and interpretive digital media.

On this page, you will find:

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

Planning Grants Overview

What are Planning Grants?Sample Planning GrantsGuidelines & ApplicationFunding PrioritiesImportant Dates

Planning Grants help organizations conduct scholarly research and travel, gather feedback from key stakeholders, and make all the necessary preparations to develop, finalize, and implement their project plan.

Although a Planning Grant is not required to receive an Implementation Grant, and receipt of a Planning Grant does not guarantee Implementation funding, Planning Grant work is intended to provide the applicant with the knowledge and plan to be able to implement their project idea.

Planning Grant proposals must demonstrate significant humanities scholarship and content and articulate clearly defined goals that will be achieved during the project period. At the end of the Planning Grant, the project should have identified clear next steps such as a plan for the implementation of the project or a newly-identified area for further research and development.

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

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.

What about the arts? What about STEM?

CT Humanities supports the intersection of the humanities and other fields such as arts or STEM. Planning Grants can fund projects that explore this intersection of humanities and other fields. For example, the research and development of an exhibition on rising sea levels and its impact on our communities could be funded by a Planning Grant.

Exhibitions

Planning Grants can fund the research and planning of exhibitions. Such work may include time and travel needed to conduct scholarly research, preparation of objects for inclusion in the exhibition (securing of loan agreements, object photography, digitization, conservation, etc.), conducting surveys or focus groups with key stakeholders (scholars, educators, community members, etc.), and working with contractors to develop the exhibition’s graphic identity, layout, and marketing/publicity plans.

Sample Model Applications:

Discussion-Based Public Programs

Planning Grants can fund the research and development of discussion-based public programs, such as lecture series or program series. Planning work may include time and travel needed to conduct scholarly research, finalizing all details of programs (dates, venues, presenters, etc.), conducting surveys or focus groups with key stakeholders (scholars, educators, community members, program partners, etc.), and creation of a marketing plan.

Sample Model Applications:

Interpretive Digital Media Projects

Planning Grants can fund the research and development of interpretive digital media projects, such as digital exhibits, virtual tours, and documentary films. Such work may include time and travel needed to conduct scholarly research, investigation and analysis of software, hardware, and other technology to be used, conducting surveys or focus groups with key stakeholders (scholars, educators, community members, etc.), creation of sample text, wire frames, site maps, and structural layout and plans of the media to be created, and marketing plans for the finished product.

Sample model applications to come.

Curriculum Development

Planning Grants can fund the planning and development of humanities-based curricula to be implemented in person or virtually. Planning work may include time and travel needed to conduct scholarly research, working with educators and curriculum specialists to ensure that projects meet curriculum standards, prototyping pilot programs to gather feedback before final implementation, and development of a marketing and outreach plan.

Sample Model Applications:

Note: Projects often evolve during the planning process and not all planning grants lead to project development exactly as envisioned in the original application. CT Humanities works with applicants over the life of their project plan to assist them if changes or project delays occur.

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 Planning Grant application.

To view all recent awarded grants, click here.

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

View Grant Guidelines

To preview the current Planning 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.

CT Humanities seeks to fund projects with significant humanities scholarship and content that explores topics and stories in an inclusive, diverse, and equitable manner. You can find more information about our funding priorities here.

Application deadlines:

  • November 4, 2022
  • April 7, 2023

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

Grant period: 18 months starting from the date of the award notification

Vinland Map Exhibit Floor Plan, Mystic Seaport Museum

Apply

We are eager to help you submit a strong application. Before applying, organizations must contact CTH staff member Lian Partridge at lpartridge@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 Planning Grants

What types of organizations are eligible to apply for a Planning Grant?
To apply for a Planning Grant, your organization must 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 Planning 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 Planning Grant guidelines (see the “Guidelines and Application” tab above).

Do I need to receive a Planning Grant in order to apply for an Implementation Grant?
No. A Planning Grant is not required to receive an Implementation Grant, and receipt of a Planning Grant does not guarantee Implementation funding.

How much information do I need to include in my application?
The more information you can provide, the better. Typically, a competitive Planning Grant application will include a narrative describing the history of the project, aims of the planning stage of the project, and how you hope to implement the project after the planning stage, a list of project team members and why they are the right people for the project, a schedule for the research or development of the project, and clearly articulated goals for the planning stage of the project.

What information should I include in the Relationship to Participants and Subjects question?
The purpose of the “Relationship to Participants and Subjects” question in the application is to help reviewers to understand how your project incorporates the communities that will be discussed, explored, or involved in the project. If your project is an exhibit on local Indigenous history, how are the voices of the appropriate local tribes incorporated into the planning, execution, and/or contextualization of the exhibit? If your project focuses on a community that no longer exists, how are you involving the right people or organizations to ensure you are telling this story responsibly? For a preview of the current application, please view the “Guidelines and Application” tab above.

What are eligible expenses for grant funds?
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 feel free to reach out to Grants staff.

What are eligible matching funds?
Planning 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 valuing their time at $25/hr; 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 a Planning Grant and Implementation Grant open at the same time?
No. At any given time, an organization may have:

You are eligible to apply for an Implementation Grant or another Planning Grant after you’ve completed your final report and closed your open Planning 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 via check; 80% at the time of fully executed grant agreement and the remaining 20% after completion of the final report. You will find more information about the payment structure in your grant agreement.

Resources for Grantees

Have you received a Planning Grant? The following resources may be helpful throughout your grant period. You can also find an overview of the grants management process here.

Checklist for Grantees

Ensure that you don’t miss any grant requirements by following this checklist for grantees.

Final Report

In the final report, you will report on how your project went and how you spent CTH funds. To complete your final report, log in to the CTH grants portal. Under your project on your applicant dashboard you will see a line that says “Planning Grant Final Report.” Click “View” to edit and submit your final report.

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