Public Program Grants

Keith Iding

Once each year, Oregon Humanities’ volunteer board of directors awards Public Program Grants between $2,000 and $10,000 in support of programs across Oregon that explore challenging questions and strive for just communities.

We are currently accepting Letters of Interest for the 2021 grants cycle and they are due by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. A total of $100,000 will be awarded. In the past our average grant size has been $5,500.

  1. Timeline and Grant Periods
  2. Important Information for Potential Applicants
  3. Funding Priorities
  4. Criteria

Timeline and Grant Periods 

  • Letter of interest submitted online by 11:59 p.m. October 20, 2020

  • Invitation for full proposal announced by November 6, 2020

  • Full proposals submitted online by 11:59 p.m. December 4, 2020

  • Award decisions announced by mid-February 2021

  • Funded programming can begin after March 1, 2021

All program expenses and activities must take place after March 1, 2021 and during the grant period defined in the proposal by the applicant. Grant periods begin on the first day of the month during which expenses are incurred or activities take place and end on the last day of the month during which expenses and activities cease. Note that all programming must be completed by February 28, 2022

Important Information For Potential Applicants

Public Program Grant funds originate from federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. A requirement for all applicants of federal funds is to register with the System of Award Management (SAM) at SAM is a web-based, government-wide application that collects, validates, stores, and disseminates business information about the federal government's trading partners in support of the contract awards, grants, and electronic payment processes. If you have not registered with SAM, your organization will be required to submit a notarized letter stating you are the authorized entity administrator before SAM will activate your registration in

For organizations that have registered for a SAM account in the past but have not renewed their registration within the past year, you will need an active registration to receive an award. For organizations who have never registered for a SAM, the process can take up to 60 days.

It is important to begin this process while completing your Letter of Interest application because you will be required to produce proof of registration with SAM to submit a full proposal.

If you have questions about this process please contact

Funding Priorities

Oregon Humanities has limited grant funds to award and is committed to funding programming that centers those most impacted by a topic in order to elevate perspectives that have historically been undervalued—particularly programming based in and led by rural communities and/or communities of color. Programs can be in multiple languages or be in a language other than English. Reporting must be in English. 

A minimum of 60 percent of awarded funds will go to organizations that meet the qualification of being based in and led by rural communities and/or communities of color. Oregon Humanities uses the Oregon Office of Rural Health’s definition of rural as locations in Oregon ten or more miles from the center of a population center of 40,000 people or more. See this list of zip codes to determine if your organization, program, and services are located in a rural area. Applicants will have the chance to submit racial demographic totals for their staff, and board members in the Letter of Interest process..


Oregon Humanities funds a wide variety of programs and activities. For example: community dialogues, lectures, online engagements, storytelling formats that center undertold experiences, programming connecting exhibits to current experiences, culturally specific and intercultural events. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage applicants to follow the State of Oregon social distancing requirements and to articulate alternate program plans where relevant, such as virtual programming back up plans, rotating participants, or limited in-person participation.

All program subjects and formats must align with the following criteria:

  • Centering those most affected
    Program planning, topics, content, and outreach should respond to and engage with the life experiences, perspectives, and knowledge held by those most impacted by the topic.
  • Help communities explore complex topics
    Program format and content should help participants deepen their understanding of the topic and its complexities. Organizations should demonstrate why they are the ones to be leading this programming on the topic.
  • Build community voice and power
    Programming should demonstrate a strategy to amplify the perspectives and life experiences of those most impacted by the program’s topic and build toward addressing complex topics with actionable steps identified by the organization along with the community.
  • Timely and Responsive 
    Program topic should demonstrate relevance to or feedback from the community and the intended audience(s) of the program.

Requested Oregon Humanities funding may support program-related expenses that may include but aren’t limited to supplies and materials, project management salaries, printing and duplication, and ADA access. Additionally, applicants may request an indirect cost rate of up to 10 percent of the total request to Oregon Humanities. These costs may include but aren’t limited to payroll processing and audit fees and office equipment purchases or maintenance not directly related to the project.

Note: Available funding for the 2021 cycle of Public Program Grants may be affected by the 2021 federal budget.

Read about requirements, eligibility and how to submit a Letter of Interest here