Humanities Grants Guidelines
Sample Rejected Projects
These sample projects are entirely made-up but highlight some of the most common unfundable requests that VHC receives: arts projects vs. humanities, advocacy-based projects, human services projects, classroom augmentation, and book publishing.
Example 1: An organization seeks funding to put on one of Shakespeare’s plays.
Reason for denial: The study of the arts (history, criticism, and theory) is a humanities discipline. However, the act of performing a play is an art.
What would make a better proposal? Seek funding to have Shakespearean scholars discuss the history and cultural significance of the play following the performances.
Example 2: An organization wishes to hold a lecture series focused on how to stop racism in Vermont.
Reason for denial: Although laudable, this type of project is considered advocacy since its purpose is to promote a cause. VHC cannot support advocacy-based projects. Nor does this project have any evident humanities content.
What would make a better proposal? Propose a lecture series that examines how various historical events, conditions, and cultural interactions of different groups of people have influenced race-relations in Vermont today. Or, create a reading and discussion series that includes titles, some of which are fiction, in which race relations are a central theme. Use literature to explore the heritages, experiences, and lives of people of different races.
Example 3: An organization seeks funding to teach English to refugees in Vermont.
Reason for denial: This project is more of a social service, meant to help a disadvantaged segment of the population, than a project focused on the humanities.
What would make a better proposal? Create a literature-based discussion program using children’s books on various humanities themes to help the group develop a love of reading. (Or, better yet, simply apply to run a VHC Connections program which does the same thing.)
Example 4: A school wishes to do a special unit on the Civil Rights Movement and requests funding for books on the topic and to bring a guest speaker into the classroom.
Reason for denial: While the Civil Rights Movement is clearly a humanities topic and VHC does offer funding for curriculum development, this project would reach a limited number of students for a short span of time and does not include plans for distribution of the curriculum to other schools.Therefore, the proposal is more classroom augmentation—paying for a classroom set of books and a guest speaker—than true curriculum development or educational outreach.
What would make a better proposal? Collaborate with other schools or community organizations (such as museums, historical societies, or libraries) to broaden the scope of the project, perhaps including school exchanges or field trips to related cultural organizations. Also, devise a plan to share the curriculum and materials with other teachers and schools.
Example 5: An organization seeks funding to publish a book on some aspect of Vermont history and to donate copies to local libraries.
Reason for denial: VHC grants are meant for public programs. Without any kind of program element attached to such a project, it is hard to know if libraries and people would utilize the books once they are published.
What would make this a better proposal? Collaborate with various libraries to host speakers, lead discussion groups, or hold other special events to augment the information presented in the books.