Humanities Grants:Projects of Special Interest: Book Discussion Programs

The Schlow Library received PHC funds for an author talk by two-time Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry, an event highlighting the Centre County Reads project on The Giver.

Humanities Grants on Literature
Reading great books and sharing your thoughts about them with others…These activities are central to the humanities. Informal book discussions led by an expert facilitator help participants to discover new books and ideas, build relationships with diverse fellow community members, and develop a framework they can use when reading and interpreting literature in the future.

The PHC invites libraries and other nonprofits to sponsor book discussions using Humanities Grants. A PHC grant can cover honoraria for discussion leaders, books, and promotional expenses. Programs can range from one to six sessions. Larger institutions may consider hosting several discussion groups. Grants may also be used to plan more complex programs.

  • Quick Grant ($500)
    Deadline: Applications can be submitted at any time, but must be received at least 8 weeks before the project start date.

  • Small Grant ($501-$3,000)
    Deadline: Applications can be submitted at any time, but must be received at least 12 weeks before the project start date.

  • Large Grant ($3,001-$20,000, with a supplemental match of $6,000 from PHC possible)
    Deadline: Intent to Apply forms are due July 1. Applications for eligible projects have a postmark deadline of September 2. For projects that begin no earlier than the following February.

Possible Starting Points for Projects

Starting Point   Examples
A popular genre:   mystery, memoir, science fiction, horror, romance, and historical fiction
A place:   local, regional, or international writers
A cultural heritage:   African American, Latino, Native American, or Asian American authors
A prize-winner:   National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, PEN/Faulkner Award, or Booker Prize
A literary form:   novel, drama, poetry, satire, short story, and essay
A time period:   Victorian, modern, or contemporary writers

Program Guidelines

  • Organizations in rural counties and in urban communities that have never received a grant from the PHC are especially encouraged to apply.

  • Organizations that collaborate for county-wide programming are especially encouraged to apply.

  • Proposed programs need to involve humanities experts and community representatives in collaborative planning and implementation. The PHC can assist in locating humanities experts as well as other program resources.

The Application Process

  1. Review the current application materials.
    You can view the guidelines. To receive a complete application, you must print the PDF version of the application. If you wish, you may substitute "writable" Word and Excel forms for specified portions of the PDF application. To receive them by mail, contact the PHC. Then, determine if your proposed project meets the PHC's funding requirements and deadlines. Note: the downloadable materials are effective through 2011.

  2. Please note new requirements:
    With new federal regulations, all applicants must supply a DUNS (Date Universal Numbering System) number.

    PHC has entered into a partnership with the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project (CDP). Starting on July 1, 2011, Small Grant and Large Grant applicants will be required to submit a CDP funder report as part of their application. CDP reports are not required for Quick Grants. For help entering data and generating a funder report, contact CDP's help desk at (866) 217-2237 or

    Large Grant applicants must provide their EIN (Employer Identification Number).

  3. Submit your letter or application.
    Instructions for preparing and photocopying your proposal are included in the application forms. Incomplete proposals or applications postmarked later than the deadlines will not be accepted. We will notify applicants of all funding decisions. We recommend that applications be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.

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