Q: Are there only two deadlines?

A: Yes. July 19 and October 15, 2021.

Q: Will the eligibility, priorities, and types of expenses that we can apply for be the same in the July and October grant rounds?

A: There may be some changes for the October deadline in eligibility, funding criteria, and types of expenses that may be requested as we assess changing needs around the state.

Q: We don’t use the word “humanities” in our mission statement. Is that a problem?

A: No. To be eligible you must do a significant amount of humanities programming. Examples include discussion programs and exhibits that are developed with the involvement of a humanities expert. A humanities expert can be someone with an academic background or other demonstrated expertise in a humanities field such as history or literature. Tribal elders and other carriers of cultural knowledge are humanities experts.

Q: My organization serves the homeless/abused/elderly/disabled/hungry through social services. Are we eligible?

A: Any organization may be eligible if it provides humanities programs to the public. Organizations that do not define their core mission as the humanities, for example, a social service organization, may request funding for humanities programming. Additionally, they may request funds for strategic planning and capacity building, digital transition or in support of preservation and access programs, expansion of outdoor and virtual humanities programming and activities, equity assessments, and planning as long as these activities support the applicant’s humanities activities.

Q: My organization works in the arts and we also do humanities programming. Can we apply for general operating expenses?

A: If your organization’s core mission is the creation or performance of art, you may not apply for general operating expenses. You may apply for funding for your humanities programming and other humanities-related expenses.

Q: Is my arts organization eligible if we also get funding from the Wisconsin Arts Board?

A: Organizations that apply for Wisconsin Arts Board funding are also eligible to apply for Wisconsin Humanities Recovery Grants. The funding cannot overlap.

Q: Are matching funds required?

A: No.


Q: The grant portal says my email is already in use. I’ve never been to this site before, what do I do?

A: You (or for generic email addresses like “director@“) or a colleague may have applied to us at some point in the last 30 years using that email address. All of our online grant data is included in the grant portal. If it says your email address exists in the system, use the “forgot password” function to enter. Be sure to update any information for you (address, phones, etc.) and your organization, including address, EIN and DUNS number. These are required for eligibility.

Q: Does my organization need a DUNS number in order to apply?

A: As required by federal guidelines, applicants must have a DUNS number in order to receive funds. A DUNS number can take up to two business days to receive. You may acquire a DUNS number from the DUNS Request Service website.

Q: Doesn’t it take a long time to get a DUNS? What if we don’t get it in time?

A: It ordinarily takes 2 business days to receive a DUNS number. Applicants must have a valid DUNS number at the time that they submit their application.

Q: When do I have to apply?

A: Applications for the first grant cycle must be submitted by July 19, 2021 at 11:59PM.

Q: When and how will I be told whether my organization will receive a WH Recovery Grant?

A: All applicants will be notified via email, whether or not WH was able to fund your request. This notification will be sent no more than 30 days after the application deadline.

Q: Do we need a fiscal sponsor or fiscal agent?

A: The organization that is applying for the grant must also receive the funds. There is no separate organization termed “fiscal sponsor.” You do need a person from your organization – a staff person or board member, for example — to act as the fiscal agent. This person cannot be the same person as the project director. If your organization is a museum, library or historical society attached to a municipality or Tribal Government, those governmental organizations are the organization applying and you should fill out the “programming organization” information to identify the role you play in that organization.

Q: Can the Project Director and the Fiscal Agent be the same person?

A: No. The “Fiscal Agent” is the person responsible for maintaining financial records of grant expenditures and submitting financial reports to Wisconsin Humanities. The “Project Director” is the person responsible for the submission of the grant application and reporting the impacts of the funding. The “Project Director” and the “Fiscal Agent” must be two different people.

Q: Can you send me the application?

A: No. Applications must be submitted electronically through the application portal.


Q: In what ways must our funding request relate to COVID?

A: Organizations must demonstrate that they have been affected by the pandemic and may only request grant funds to pay for expenses that help them use the humanities to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from it.

Q: How much can we request?

A: The minimum grant award is $2,000. The maximum grant award is $20,000.

Q: Can my organization apply for both general operating support AND other kinds of expenses?

A: Organizations for whom the humanities are central to their mission, such as libraries, museums, historical societies, and institutions of higher education, may apply for grant funds to pay for general operating expenses AND ALSO request funds for humanities programs and other related expenses as listed in the guidelines.

Organizations for whom the humanities are NOT their core mission, such as arts organizations, churches, and social service organizations, may NOT apply to receive general operating expenses. These organizations may ONLY apply for humanities programming and other expenses as noted below.

Q: What are general operating expenses?

A: General operating expenses include expenses such as salaries, rent, utilities, office supplies, and equipment.

Q: Are there limits on the general operating expenses that can be requested?

A: Equipment expenses cannot exceed 20% of the requested amount. Indirect costs related to general operating expenses may not be requested.

Q: What can WH recovery grants pay for besides general operating expenses?

A: Any eligible organization may request funds for expenses related to:

  • humanities programming,
  • strategic planning and capacity building,
  • a digital transition or in support of preservation and access programs,
  • expansion of outdoor and virtual humanities programming and activities,
  • Equity assessments and planning related to the coronavirus and the economic crisis.

Organizations seeking support for humanities programming may consider applying for a WH Mini or Major grant. Please review the guidelines and deadlines for Mini and Major grants before deciding whether a WH Recovery Grant, or a Mini or Major grant, is the best fit for your organization. Mini and Major grants are offered a total of 7 times per year, year-round.

Q: Can you provide examples of what could be covered under “digital transition or in support of preservation and access programs?”

A: Funds can cover the equipment and expertise to help organizations with a digital transition. These could include digitizing a traditional library/archive collection for use online by distant patrons such as using funds to outsource the scanning of a local photograph collection. Funding could also support backing up and saving previously digitized or born-digital collections in a manner that helps support long-term access. For example, funds could be used to purchase external hard drives and rent cloud space to save original, high-resolution scans as backups. The cloud rental fees, however, could only be covered for the length of the project period, requiring a long-term funding plan. Funding could also be used to improve the systems distant patrons use to access the digital library/archives collections. For example, using funds to pay fees to Recollection Wisconsin to store and serve up collection information and images for researchers instead of using Flickr or your own website. Fees for storage could only be covered for the length of the project period, requiring a long-term funding plan. Additional kinds of digital transition and access equipment or expertise might involve equipment and staffing expertise needed to produce online programming or provide access such as wi-fi hotspots for library patrons.

Q. The guidelines say that “capacity building” activities can be funded. What kinds of activities and expenses are acceptable?

A: Funds for capacity building can pay for efforts an organization makes to advance the humanities-focused aspects of its mission through operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational improvements or efficiencies. Applicants will need to make the case for how grant funds will help them achieve these goals in the context of the impact and their response to the pandemic.

Q: We have in mind a project that might go longer than the October 31, 2022 completion date. Can we still apply for WH Recovery Grants?

A: If you don’t think the funds for your project will be encumbered by the October 31, 2022, end date, you should consider a Major or Mini Grant, or you might want to apply for only the portion of activities that will be completed in time. All projects must end by October 31, 2022.

Q: When will we find out if we receive a grant?

A: Applications will be reviewed, and decisions announced via email within one month of the July 19 or October 15 application deadline.

Q: Do we have to pay the money back?

A: No.

Q. What is meant by underserved communities?

A: “Underserved communities” are populations that share a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life. These include Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.

Q: Do we need to be registered with SAM.gov?

A: SAM.gov (System for Award Management) registration is NOT mandatory to apply for WH Recovery grants. However, it is encouraged.

Q: What are the fiscal rules and regulations for WH Recovery Grants?

A: See the Fiscal Rules and Regulations.