Grants in 2024

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Features
By Illinois Humanities Grant Team

Read Time 6 minutes
December 13, 2023

Greetings! We hope our many partners in the public humanities across the state of Illinois are doing well as we enter winter. The past year was a breakout year for the Illinois Humanities grants program, with some 95 grants made, totaling more than $400,000! Looking ahead to the new year, we wanted to share some of our plans for funding opportunities in 2024 in hopes that we can partner together in the coming year. We hope you’ll find what you need to create a successful proposal and to stay up to date with grants by subscribing to the Illinois Humanities newsletter. 

As you have probably heard us say repeatedly, we are continuously indebted to the remarkable people we get to partner with across the state! We mean it when we say that we strive to be as accessible as possible and to simplify processes accordingly. We aim to give half of Illinois Humanities grants to Cook County-based initiatives and half to non-Cook County initiatives. We also believe in the growing resources we are providing our partners through convening opportunities, capacity building, and communications support. And finally, there is a remarkable suite of public programs happening at Illinois Humanities that we hope you’ll explore and find new ways to engage with us and our community of partners.  We’re all richer for collaborating! Now, with this in mind, we’re happy to share an overview of Illinois Humanities grant opportunities, webinars, and resources in 2024. Here's to a fantastic and productive 2024! 

Grant Funding

General Operating Grants  
Applications open: May 16, 2024 
Deadline: Sept. 16, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. CT 

These $10,000 unrestricted grants support public humanities organizations with budgets of $250,000 or less. Recipients must be tax-exempt, based in Illinois, and must align with the definitions of public humanities organizations listed on our resources page. (If you believe your organization fits the bill but don’t see the right category here, you are welcome to make the case for your eligibility.) To increase our impact, we are looking at offering this as a multi-year grant in the coming year.

Learn More 

View the latest cohort of General Operating grant recipients here 

Vision Grants  
Applications open: Now for the January 16 deadline, and again on Feb. 1, 2024  
Deadline: Jan. 16 and May 15, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. CT 

Vision grants are project grants of up to $2,000 to cover planning and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) projects and accessibility initiatives. Eligible organizations include public humanities tax-exempt organizations from across Illinois, with priority to organizations with budgets of $1 million or less.

Learn More

View the latest cohort of Vision grantees here 

Action Grants  
Applications open: Now for the January 16 deadline, and again on Feb. 1, 2024  
Deadline: Jan. 16 and May 15, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. CT 

Action grants are project-based grants of up to $4,000 for innovative public humanities projects that explore the digital humanities, audience engagement, or audience growth and diversification. From oral history projects to filmmaking, these initiatives inspire risk-taking in the public humanities, paving the way for others to follow. These are for a wide variety of tax-exempt organizations, including nonprofits, university departments, chambers of commerce, public libraries, high schools, and others. Priority is given to organizations with budgets of $1 million or less.

Learn More

View the latest cohort of Action grantees here.

Multiplier Grants  
Applications open: Feb. 1, 2024  
Deadline: May 15, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. CT 

This year, Illinois Humanities is reintroducing Multiplier Grants, a project-based grant opportunity of up to $10,000, previously offered for many years, that supports strategic partnerships in the public humanities and community building. More specifically, they support: a) partnerships with a wide or extended scope; b) place-based public humanities collaborations aimed at building community; and/or c) public humanities collaborations that strengthen a given sector, network, or coalition.

Learn More

View the last cohort of Multiplier grantees here.

Activate History Microgrants  
Applications open: Now for the March 1 deadline, and again on Sept. 3, 2024  
Deadline: March 1 and Sept. 3, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. CT 

These microgrants of $750 support local stewards of archives and collections to engage the public in learning about local history. Nonprofits (with preference towards those with a budget of $400,000 or less) are eligible, as are individuals.

Learn More

View the latest cohort of Activate History grantees here.

Envisioning Justice Grants  
For individuals, collectives, and organizations 
Applications open: May 1, 2024 
Deadline: July 16, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. CT 

Envisioning Justice offers two grant categories: One for individuals totaling up to $5,000, and one for collectives and organizations totaling up to $10,000. These grants support initiatives that utilize the power of the arts and humanities to create understanding and action about mass incarceration and its impact on communities in Illinois.

Grants for Individuals          Grants for Organizations

View the most recent cohort of Envisioning Justice grantees here 

Accessibility and Documentation Stipends: All of the above grant categories (except for General Operating) include the option to request stipends of up to $250 to support event and program accessibility, as well as with documenting events and programs by hiring photographers and videographers. Accessibility includes all efforts meant to provide accessibility where it is needed – from offering American Sign Language to CART transcription to providing childcare or transportation.

Foreground Rural Initiative Grants

While we won’t be offering an open call grants opportunity for Foreground in 2024, this exciting fresh initiative continues to move forward! There is now a Western Illinois hub of Foreground partners anchored at The HUB Arts and Cultural Center in Rushville, as well as a southern hub, co-anchored by Legacy Training, Inc., and Artspace 304 (in Grand Chain and Carbondale respectively). Stay tuned for opportunities to engage with our Foreground partners by subscribing to the newsletter.

Resources and Webinars

Visit our website to watch recent webinars and find other Tools for Grant Seekers.

We will host a few webinars for interested grant applicants in 2024. To receive an invitation when registration opens, please subscribe to the Illinois Humanities newsletter.

  • February 21 at 1:00 p.m.: Vision, Action, and Multiplier Grants webinar 
  • May 8 at 1:00 p.m.: Envisioning Justice grants webinar 
  • June 26 at 1:00 p.m.: General Operating grants webinar 
  • Watch a recent Activate History grants webinar on our YouTube channel.

Contact the Grants team

For questions regarding General Operating, Vision, Action, Multiplier, and Activate History grants, contact us at communitygrants@ilhumanities.org. For questions regarding the Envisioning Justice grants, contact us at ejustice@ilhumanities.org. Contact us at statewide@ilhumanities.org for questions about Foreground Rural Initiative grants. 

Illinois Humanities Grants Team

Joanne Hsu, Grants Program Manager 
Mark Hallett, Director of Grants Programs
Matt Meacham, Statewide Engagement Program Manager
Fairouz AbuGhazaleh, Director of Statewide Programs 

An earlier version of this article indicated that Action, Multiplier, and Vision grants would reopen on January 17, 2024. This date has been updated to February 1, 2024. Applicants can begin applying to the next round of Action, Multiplier, and Vision grants on this date. Please contact the Grants team at communitygrants@ilhumanities.org with any questions.