Annual Grants 

Applications open March 15; due April 30, 2021
Up to $15,000 per grant
Applications for 2021 closed on April 30, 2021. Learn about this year's awarded projects!

> Forum's Annual Grant Guidelines
> Federal Grant Guidelines

> Frequently Asked Questions
> Grant Writing Tips


The Forum's Annual grants support innovative, humanities-based projects across Alaska that:

  • Engage the public:

Engaged Alaskans participate in their community because they believe they have a stake in its future and feel empowered to influence that future. We fund projects that help people understand complex social issues relevant to Alaska through disciplines such as history, literature, and philosophy to provide a framework for examining how we think, what we value, and what it means to be human.
Examples: book, exhibit, documentary film, curriculum guide

  • Connect Alaskans:

Connected Alaskans know the people within their community and feel a sense of belonging springing from their appreciation of common ground, difference, and interdependence. We fund projects that open humanities resources to a diverse range of audiences across the state, exploring ideas and questions that help to document and interpret our human experience of the world around us.
Examples: podcast, website, digitization project

  • Inform through Alaska’s stories:

Informed Alaskans are aware of what is happening in the state, the history that has led us here, and the social and cultural contexts that influence how we interpret our past and present. We fund projects that nurture diverse, contemporary Alaska stories and preserve Alaska’s human history for future generations.
Examples: oral history, archival work, book, documentary film, native place name map

Project Categories include:

  • Publication - book, report, catalogue
  • Digital product - podcast, website, digitization/archiving
  • Film - including outreach and engagement
  • Oral history - including cultural literacy projects
  • Exhibit - virtual or in-person (as allowed)

All Alaska Humanities Forum grants require a dollar-for-dollar match. In other words, Forum funds may be used to cover up to 50% of the full-cost of a humanities project (match includes cash and in-kind donations).

We invite you to visit the grants gallery on our website at for a sampling of projects we have supported in the past. Additional stories of grant projects can be found in past issues of FORUM magazine, available online at

What are the humanities?

The humanities explore enduring questions about who we are, what we believe, where we have been, what we value, and why.

Humans use philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history, and language to understand and record our world. These modes of expression have become some of the subjects that are traditionally referred to as the humanities, which help us to feel a sense of connection to those who have come before us, as well as to those who share our world today.


Non-profit organizations; institutions of higher education; state, local, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments may apply for grants; for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply. Groups that have failed to meet grant requirements for previous Forum grants by the end of their grant period are ineligible for new grant funds.

Grant projects must be based in Alaska and impact Alaska communities. Preference will be given to in-state organizations and, given the two year window, those that can demonstrate timely completion of the project and use of funding.

  • Organizations must provide proof of non-profit status. Proper evidence includes 501(c)(3) letter or an IRS 990 form.
  • Organizations must have a DUNS number. Visit here to request a DUNS number for your organization.
  • Organizations must be registered in the system. Visit here to register your organization.
  • All grant applicants are required to certify that they are not presently debarred, suspended, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participating in federally funded programs.
  • All grant applicants are required to certify that they are not currently delinquent in the payment of a federal debt.
  • All grant applicants are required to certify that they are in compliance with the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards and all of the following federal nondiscrimination statutes: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.

Due to changes in federal regulations, the Forum cannot accept applications from fiscal agent sponsors. The sponsoring organization for the grant project must be making a substantive contribution to the project. Providing bookkeeping and related services does not constitute a substantive contribution.

The following projects are not eligible for grant award funding:

  • those that influence an audience toward a single position or present a one-sided, uncritical treatment of an issue (i.e., if public policy issues are involved, discussion must be balanced);
  • work for academic credit or toward the completion of a formal degree, including travel to professional meetings and academic conferences;
  • performances in the arts, unless their primary role is to foster analysis or interpretation using history, literature, philosophy or other humanities disciplines;
  • library or museum acquisitions and capital equipment projects;
  • endowments, loans or building construction, acquisition, or restoration (including historic preservation);
  • acquisition of equipment;
  • profit-making projects;
  • fundraising events;
  • projects that are not open to the public; and
  • projects NOT centrally concerned with the humanities.

Humanities Scholar or Tradition Bearer

Every annual grant project must include at least one humanities scholar or tradition bearer. These roles are important in informing the direction of the project and helping to establish the project framework.

Humanities scholars ordinarily hold an M.A., Ph.D. or other graduate degree in a humanities discipline. The project director may be identified as the humanities scholar if he/she meets the criteria.

Tradition bearers are elders and/or leaders who are respected by their communities for their traditional knowledge.

Use of Grant Funds / Allowable Expenses

Humanities Annual Grants are not meant to be a source of sustainable funding for existing ongoing programming. Requested Forum funding may support program-related expenses including, but not limited to, the following: contractual services, honoraria, domestic travel, supplies and materials, printing and duplication, postage and telephone, equipment and services, facilities rental, and publicity. An indirect cost rate of 10% de minimis applies for overhead operating expenses, unless the organization has an alternative pre-approved federal indirect rate and can provide documentation.

The following project costs are not eligible for grant funding, but may be counted towards the matching requirement:

  • Costs accrued prior to the grant funding period: the grant funding period begins after the grant has been officially awarded and the Letter of Agreement has been signed by both the Alaska Humanities Forum and the project director.

The following project costs are not eligible for grant funding and may not be counted towards the matching requirement.

  • Costs for providing alcoholic beverages during travel, at events, or during any projects involved with the grant (under Code of Federal Regulations Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter II, Part 200, Subpart E, 200.423)
  • International travel

Long-Term / Consecutive Grant Awards

The Forum may consider funding a long-term project for up to three consecutive annual funding cycles if proposals for each cycle focus on different project components or new phases. However, funding cannot be guaranteed over multiple cycles, as the funding parameters and the selection committee may change.

A Continuous/long-term project will not be funded more than three consecutive times in order to encourage grantees to find a wide range of funding support for their projects and allow Forum funds to be allocated to other funding needs. Applicants of long-term projects must submit new applications for each phase of the project for which they seek Forum support and each phase must involve a different component.


Before applying to an Alaska Humanities Forum grant, please read the Humanities Grant Guidelines in full.

All grant funds awarded by the Alaska Humanities Forum are subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars governing administrative requirements, allowable costs, and audit requirements.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to become familiar with these requirements.

Project Funding Period

A project may begin to accrue costs covered by the grant beginning May 30, 2021.

Applicants should select a project start date that corresponds to the beginning of project activity, as grant funding may not be requested until the project start date has occurred. Applicants will note that project start dates usually do not correspond to project event dates, as funding is often needed prior to the event.

Projects funded through the 2021 Alaska Humanities Forum grant program must be completed by May 1, 2023.  Project end dates should be in accordance with the end of project activity and with the knowledge that final reports are due three months after the project end date listed in the application.

Disbursement of Funds

Up to 90% of the funds may be disbursed upon approval of signed award documents and completion of an overview that describes how and when the funds will be used, along with intended key benchmarks/accomplishments to be achieved in the next 90 days.

Interim fund requests must include an overview of how previously requested funds have been used to date, and how and when the request funds will be used; cost-share and matching funds progress; key benchmarks/accomplishments to date and those intended in the following 90 days; and lessons learned as the project has progressed, including any challenges/obstacles.

The final 10% of funds is disbursed upon completion of proposed activities and approval of a final report. Funds must be used within 90 days of receipt and may be requested in smaller disbursements if needed.

Progress Reports

Grant progress reports are due with each grant payment request and at the completion of each Forum fiscal year (Sept. 30) until the project closes.

Final Report

All successful grantees will be required to submit final reporting documents to the Alaska Humanities Forum within ninety (90) days of the end of their grant period. Grantees with media projects must submit a copy of their final product for the Forum’s archives in addition to the final report.

Matching and Cost Share

Your Alaska Humanities Forum Grant request should not constitute more than 50% of your full project budget. All requests must be matched at least dollar-for-dollar with earned, contributed, or in-kind support.

“Cash” cost share includes:

  • All funding provided by the applicants themselves
  • Grants and contributions from sources outside the Forum
  • Admission or registration fees collected
    • Please note any admission or registration fees collected must directly support grant activities.

These funds may not be applied to a general fundraising pool or donated to another non-profit organization.

“In-kind” cost share includes:

  • The dollar value of goods, space, and services provided by third parties
  • Volunteer time contributed by third parties that is considered integral and necessary to the grant project.
    • You may value unskilled volunteer time at $28.19 per hour ( when calculating in-kind cost share.
    • You may value skilled volunteer time at a rate consistent with market rates for similar skilled work.
    • Note that some projects generate enough enthusiasm to produce a surplus of volunteer time. Although we encourage you to engage all interested volunteers, please only include integral and necessary volunteer time in cost share calculations.

Please note: cost share cannot be retroactive before the grant award.

Since Alaska Humanities Forum grants are federal in origin, any funding from federal sources may not be used towards the minimum matching requirement and must be reported separately as “ineligible cost share.”

Remember, all grant funds awarded by the Alaska Humanities Forum are subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars governing administrative requirements, allowable costs, and audit requirements. It is the applicant’s responsibility to become familiar with these requirements.

Review Criteria

The Alaska Humanities Forum reviews grant proposals against the following criteria:

Outcomes and Alignment with the Forum’s Mission and Vision

  • Will the project connect Alaskans through stories, ideas, and experiences that positively change lives and strengthen communities?
  • Will the project contribute to the Forum’s vision of a culturally diverse, economically vibrant, and equitable Alaska where people are engaged, informed, and connected?

Reach and Audience

  • Does the project directly engage with a large diverse public audience, including those that are typically underserved?
  • Does the project have a plan for sharing diverse perspectives related to the project’s specific themes and questions?

Intentionality and Feasibility

  • Does the project team have the capability and expertise appropriate for the project?
  • Is the project designed with a clear intention?
  • Does the project have a plan for determining the extent to which that intention is achieved?
  • Does the project include time to reflect on lessons learned along the way?


  • Will the project have a lasting legacy that is sustainable beyond the project period?

For projects that involve indigenous people, communities, issues, history, and stories:

Indigenous Intellectual Authority and Participation

  • Does the project proposal acknowledge indigenous intellectual authority?
  • Does the project include a clear plan for meaningful participation by the people and communities involved?

Key Dates

March 15, 2021 – Annual Grant program opens

April 30, 2021 – Final deadline for Annual Grant program

May 15, 2021 – Announcement of Grant Awards

May 30, 2021 – 2021 grant funding period begins

May 1, 2023 – 2021 grant funding period ends