Responsive Program Grants

City Repair

*September 2021 update: Oregon Humanities' Responsive Program Grants have been retired, but we will be announcing new grant opportunities soon. To receive regular grant updates, sign up for our newsletter.

Responsive Program Grants enable nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribes in Oregon to address urgent or timely issues in their communities. Awards of up to $2,000 are intended to center those most affected by a topic in order to elevate perspectives that have historically been undervalued and particularly to support programming based in and led by rural communities and/or communities of color. Oregon Humanities is committed to intentionally challenging and dismantling disproportionately oppressive systems, Responsive Program Grants are one way we contribute to this work. We devise and implement policies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in order to build a culture of transparency, trust, and accountability internally and in the work we do externally.

For our 2021 funding cycle, we have $25,000 to award (maximum award $2,000). Our Responsive Program Grant funds are awarded in 4 cycles (awarding roughly $6,000 per cycle) to be responsive to emerging needs and allow more even distribution of funding across a year.


First Quarter

  • Application Opens: January 4, 2021
  • Applications Due: March 1, 2021
  • Funding Announced: March 30, 2021
  • Programming and Reporting Deadline: March 30,  2022

Second Quarter

  • Application Opens: April 1, 2021
  • Applications Due: June 1, 2021
  • Funding Announced: June 30, 2021
  • Programming and Reporting Deadline: June 30, 2022 

Third Quarter

  • Application Opens: July 1, 2021
  • Applications Due: September 1, 2021
  • Funding Announced: September 30, 2021
  • Programming and Reporting Deadline: September 30, 2022

Funding Priorities & Goals

Given the disproportionate impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the history of social inequities in the state and the communities more severely impacted, we are dedicating 60% of the funds to organizations led by rural communities and/or Black, Indigenous and communities of color across Oregon. 

We understand that programming will look different for your organization during this time. We invite creative reimagining of what programming could look like for you and your community. Oregon Humanities advises building in virtual programmatic safeguards/flexibility given the uncertainty of in person meetings during this time.

Eligibility and Funding Requirements

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 amplify perspectives that have been institutionally undervalued, particularly programming based in and led by rural communities and/or Black, Indigenous and communities of color.  Programs can be in multiple languages or be in a language other than English, but applications and reporting must be submitted in English.

Organizations are eligible for a Responsive Program Grant if all of the following apply:

  • Applicant is a nonprofit organization and/or federally recognized tribe in Oregon
  • Applicant has not been awarded a Responsive Program Grant in the current grant year (2019-2020)
  • The proposed project is open or accessible to the general public

Selection Process

  • All eligible applications will be reviewed by a committee of Oregon Humanities staff members.  

  • The review committee will meet to compare scores and make selections for funding.

  • Applicants selected for funding will be notified via email.

  • Applicants that are not selected will also be notified with feedback via email to help with future proposals. 

  • Applications will be scored based on the following assessment criteria. 

Application Assessment Criteria

Oregon Humanities’ Responsive Program Grants support a diversity of program subjects and formats that explore challenging topics and fit the criteria below.

  • Timely and responsive 

Program topic must demonstrate relevance to or response to feedback from the community and the intended audience(s) of the program. 

  • Center those most affected

Program planning, topics, content, format and outreach should respond to and engage with the life experiences, perspectives, and knowledge held by those most impacted by 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 towards addressing complex topics in the community with actionable steps identified by the organization.

Click here to apply for a Responsive Program Grant


Grantees are expected to submit a program event form online to notify Oregon Humanities once events have been confirmed. A final report form is also to be completed online by the deadline for the award cycle.


By signing and submitting a Responsive Program Grant application, the executive director of the applicant organization and the program director are acknowledging compliance with applicable certifications regarding nondiscrimination statutes, debarment, and suspension, as follows.

  • Certification regarding debarment, suspension, ineligibility, and voluntary exclusion—lower-tier covered transactions, 45 CFR 1169

  • Certification regarding nondiscrimination statutes:

    • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), which provides that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination.

    • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of handicap in programs. 

    • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.

    • The Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended (42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subject to discrimination. 

    • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101-12213) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment (Title I), state and local government services (Title II), places of public accommodation and commercial facilities (Title III).

ADA access

Any entity that provides service to the public must certify that it is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 USC Sec. 12101, et seq. and subsequent revisions. Helpful information may be found online at 


Frequently Asked Questions

Oregon Humanities Responsive Program Grants award up to $2,000 per grant.

What we have funded in the past:

Oregon Humanities Responsive Program Grants have supported work that helps communities lead conversations on race and racism after local hate incidents; explore the intersection between food security and race; bringing residents together to understand a local issue that became national news; supported community gatherings on grief and renewal; examining the intersection of race and domestic violence; and support the preservation of Native American languages through youth workshops.  

Is a match required for Responsive Program Grants? 

No, a match is not required.  

What do we mean when we say priority to rural and/or BIPOC-led organizations? 

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 submit racial demographic totals for their staff, and board members.  We acknowledge the various journeys each community is exploring with their equity work and encourage proposals from organizations that do not directly meet these funding priorities but center the communities they work with in program design, implementation, and evaluation.

Fiscal sponsor

Organizations that are not nonprofits may apply using a fiscal sponsor if the fiscal sponsor meets the eligibility requirements. (Nonprofit Association of Oregon has information on fiscal sponsorship.)  Prior to initiating a grant proposal with a fiscal sponsorship, you must contact Oregon Humanities at to gain approval.



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