Community-Engaged Media Grants

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This year, we are launching a new grant program to fund community-engaged media projects in Alaska. Alongside this launch, we are working to restructure our grantmaking program in alignment with the recommended practices of the Equitable Grantmaking Continuum developed by NonprofitAF.com and RVCSeattle.org.


Since 2019, the Alaska Humanities Forum’s Community | Media | Possibility initiative has been hosting programming designed to reimagine the relationship between media-makers and communities in Alaska. Between fall 2020 and spring 2021, the Forum organized a range of programming focused on the question: what’s possible when community and media connect?

Inspired by recommendations and learnings from that programming, the Forum is launching the Community-Engaged Media Grant, a cohort-based grant program to support projects that bring community stakeholders and journalists/media makers together to tell stories that reflect and serve lived experience across Alaska.


Key Details

The Alaska Humanities Forum expects to award five $10,000 grants to fund community-engaged media projects in Alaska. Proposals should be submitted by community stakeholder and journalist/media maker teams.


Key Dates

  • September 1, 2022: Community-Engaged Media Grant application opens
  • September 15, 2022 at 11:59pm: Optional draft review deadline
  • October 1, 2022 at 11:59pm: Final application deadline
  • October 21, 2022: Announcement of grant awards
  • October 28, 2022: Initiation paperwork due
  • November 1, 2022: Grant funding period begins
  • October 31, 2023: Grant funding period ends (by request, funding may be extended)


Resources

Before applying, please be sure to review all documents linked below:  

HOW TO APPLY

We offer several ways to apply to the Community-Engaged Media Grant. You can view a preview of the application here.

  1. Online. To complete the application online, please visit the Forum’s Submittable page at https://akhf.submittable.com. If this is your first time using Submittable, you will need to create an account. As you complete the application, you may save drafts and return later.
  2. By email. Applicants may complete the application by submitting typed or handwritten answers by email to Shoshi Bieler at sbieler@akhf.org. If submitting your application by email, please use the PDF application linked here. Please note this PDF includes fillable fields.
  3. By video or audio recording. Applicants may complete the application by submitting video or audio recordings of all application answers. To submit your application via recording, please contact Shoshi Bieler using the contact information below to determine the best submission platform for your needs.
  4. By phone. To apply by phone, please contact Shoshi Bieler using the contact information below.

If you would like to submit your application another way, or if you have any other questions about the application, please contact the Forum’s Grants team using the contact information below.


Grant Overview

COMMUNITY | MEDIA | POSSIBILITY: WHAT'S POSSIBLE WHEN COMMUNITY AND MEDIA CONNECT? 

At its best, media provides us with the information we need to make decisions about our lives, our communities, our society, and our government. Media allows us to monitor and influence the sources of power that shape our lives. By reflecting and honoring lived experience, media provides us with complex and deep understanding of issues, and shares stories that can shape community dialogue.

Core to the Forum’s Community | Media | Possibility programming is the recognition that traditional journalism's well-intentioned efforts to provide a disinterested, neutral recounting of current events may end up perpetuating extractive reporting practices that center the journalist as an “objective” framer of others’ narratives. At the same time, community-based media makers whose work is rooted in and reflective of their communities are often underfunded.

In spring 2021, Forum fellows, advisors, and community participants issued a series of recommendations for reimagining media in Alaska, all of which centered on the importance of genuine relationship-building and collaboration between media-makers and the communities they serve. Together, they envisioned a media-making process that:

  • Is collaborative. In order to serve and reflect community needs and lived experience, media must inherently be co-developed, co-created, and co-evaluated with the communities it serves.
  • Fosters a culture of storytelling and listening. Rather than seeking distance and “objectivity,” media projects should facilitate a community-driven framing process that embraces complex and deep understanding of issues.
  • Redistributes access. Rather than seeing itself as an isolated industry, media should embrace its role as a stakeholder in communities and redistribute journalistic resources, platforms, and tools to and through communities.
  • Seeks reconciliation. Traditional journalism must acknowledge, grapple with, and seek to rectify past harms done. Media projects must be designed and implemented within this context.


THE COMMUNITY-ENGAGED MEDIA GRANT

Inspired by the recommendations and learnings from Community | Media | Possibility, as well as the work of organizations including Journalism That Matters, City Bureau, and the Agora Center for Journalism, the Forum is launching the Community-Engaged Media Grant program.

The Community-Engaged Media Grants will provide flat $10,000 grants to support partnership projects between community stakeholders and journalism or media organizations in Alaska. Please note that 50% of the grant is intended to go toward the media project, and 50% of the grant is to be provided to community stakeholder partners as an honoraria. No match is required.

The resulting media project must be collaboratively designed and implemented between the grant project partners, must be based in Alaska, and must be accessible to the public. Beyond that, we’re open to the many potential forms and facets of community-engaged media.

Applications are due October 1, 2022. Applicants will be notified of their award by the last week of October. The project period for the grant is November 1, 2022 to October 31, 2023. In other words, the money must be spent and the project must be completed by October 31, 2023. Upon request, grantees may be given up to two three-month extensions.

Given the dynamic nature of this kind of project, the proposal does not require a specific project plan or budget – rather, it focuses on the project partnership, process, and plans for community involvement. Our intention is that project teams will use awarded funding to figure out what their project is, and then implement it. Through this structure, we hope to provide projects with the flexibility to shift and change as they develop. If you are not sure whether your vision fits the definition of community-engaged media, please reach out to the Forum’s Grants team.

As a new grantmaking program, we envision this year as a first step toward supporting community-engaged media in Alaska. In the future, this grant program may expand to include opportunities for additional partnership structures, funding structures, and project types.


COHORTS

The Community-Engaged Media Grant will be a cohort-based program, in which all grantees will participate in several virtual gatherings throughout the year and engage in a support and learning network with other grantees doing community-engaged media work in Alaska. Project teams will also have the opportunity to pair with a “thought partner,” a media-maker working in the community-engaged media space. “Thought partners” are expected to meet with grantees three to four times over the course of the project period.

Grantees will be required to attend three virtual gatherings throughout the project period. We are also in the process of determining the feasibility of hosting one in-person gathering opportunity in Anchorage. More details about the cohort structure will be announced over the next month.



ELIGIBILITY

Proposals must be submitted as a community stakeholder/media organization team.

The community stakeholder partner may be a community-based organization or individual. Organizations do not need to have a formal legal status. Examples of individual partners could include someone well-connected in their community, someone doing meaningful work in their community, and/or a community-based media maker (for example: podcasters, writers, or filmmakers).

The media organization partner should be a 501(c)(3) organization involved in journalism or media-making in Alaska. The media organization partner will preferably have experience managing federal or state funding. The media organization partner is expected to serve as the project’s “Point of Contact” – meaning they will accept fiscal responsibility for the project and manage grant reporting and record-keeping requirements. Correspondence and communication with the Forum normally coordinates through the Point of Contact.

While we have a preference for proposals from pre-existing partnerships (meaning, partners have already collaborated on at least one project in the past), we will consider proposals from both existing and new partnership teams. While partners may apply to fund an ongoing project, we do not require or ask for a specific project plan or budget.

If you are not sure whether your team meets the eligibility requirements for this grant, please reach out to the Forum’s Grants team.

Applicant Requirements

The media organization partner must:

  • Provide proof of non-profit status. Proper evidence includes 501(c)(3) letter or an IRS 990 form.
  • Have a UEI number. See application for more information on how to request a UEI number for your organization.
  • Be registered in the SAM.gov system. See application for more information on how 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.
  • They are not currently delinquent in the payment of a federal debt.
  • 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


ALLOWABLE EXPENSES

The Community-Engaged Media Grant is 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 media organization partner has an alternative pre-approved federal indirect rate and can provide documentation.

Please note that the Community-Engaged Media Grant funds cannot be used to advocate for a specific candidate or piece of legislation. 

The Community-Engaged Media Grant funds awarded by the Alaska Humanities Forum are re-grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which are federal in origin. As a re-granting organization, the Forum passes along these federal funds to other organizations, but all re-grants remain subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars governing administrative requirements, allowable and unallowable costs, and audit requirements. These requirements may be found at this link.

Because of this, we do not always have complete control over the requirements and restrictions of the funds we pass along. We strive to be as transparent and flexible as possible within these requirements, so please do not hesitate to reach out with questions about what may or may not be possible to fund through your grant.

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; 
  • projects NOT centrally concerned with the humanities;
  • 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 authorizing official;
  • 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.


PROJECT FUNDING PERIOD

A project may begin to accrue costs covered by the grant as early as November 1, 2022. Projects funded through the Community-Engaged Media Grant must be completed by October 31, 2023. Upon request, grantees may be given up to two three-month extensions.


GRANT WRITING ASSISTANCE

The Alaska Humanities Forum Grants team is available to consult with applicants on draft proposals. To receive consultation, draft applications must be submitted by the draft review deadline, September 15, 2022 at 11:59pm.



FUNDING PRIORITIES AND REVIEW CRITERIA

The Forum’s volunteer Board of Directors reviews all eligible grant proposals and is responsible for all selection decisions.

The Alaska Humanities Forum prioritizes funding to projects that are led by and serve rural communities in Alaska, and/or communities of color and others communities that have historically been underserved. The Forum is committed to funding projects across Alaska.

While we have a preference for proposals from pre-existing partnerships (meaning, partners have already collaborated on at least one project in the past), we will consider proposals from both existing and new partnership teams.

The Forum’s Board of Directors will review Community-Engaged Media Grant proposals against the following criteria:

  1. The project team’s hopes and goals align with the Community-Engaged Media Grant program goals and guidelines.
  2. The proposal demonstrates the need informing the project and partnership.
  3. The proposal centers leadership by and service to rural communities in Alaska, and/or communities of color and other communities that have historically been underserved.
  4. The proposal includes a plan for meaningful participation by and feedback from the people and communities with lived experience of the project’s topic(s).
  5. The project team demonstrates intentionality in developing the project partnership.
  6. The project team shows a commitment to pursuing community-engaged media practices and principles.


CONTACT INFORMATION

Shoshi Bieler, Grants Program Officer

By email: sbieler@akhf.org

By phone: Due to a high volume of meetings during the day, I am often unable to respond to cold calls. If possible, please schedule a time with me at this link. Otherwise, you can reach me at (907) 770-8406.

 
 
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The Alaska Humanities Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that designs and facilitates experiences to bridge distance and difference – programming that shares and preserves the stories of people and places across our vast state, and explores what it means to be Alaskan.

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