Center for the Humanities

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Ongoing Programs Grants

The Center for the Humanities funds ongoing programs—speaker and film series, colloquia, workshops, exhibitions, and performances, and the like—that engage both the campus and the public in thought, dialogue, and reflection on issues and topics in the humanities over the course of a semester or academic year.

An Ongoing Program is a sequence of distinct events or activities, free and open to the public, taking place continually over the course of an academic year or semester. (Events or activities, such as a conference or gallery opening, that take place continuously or over a relatively compressed amount of time—a day or so—fall under the Small Conferences funding category).


The Board will meet on the first Friday of each month in the Fall and Spring semesters. Please submit funding requests one week in advance of any given meeting, to ensure consideration. In general, requests for retroactive funding will not be considered, but faculty may inquire with the Director if extenuating circumstances arise.   

Please Note: While the Board welcomes all proposals, it will prioritize individual/collaborative research over other activities and programming. The following guidelines specify the maximum amount of support available to programs and, when appropriate, the changes in those amounts over time. They do not, however, mean that the Board will necessarily award the proposal all or any of the funding requested. Apart from the merits of the proposal, the Board will consider its own total budget, the likely demands on its resources, and its programmatic priorities in determining whether to fund a proposal, and at what level.

Major Programs

The Center has adopted the following funding guidelines to ensure that valuable programs receive adequate initial funding, and that, as they become well established, they begin to become increasingly self-sustaining.

Major Program Grants fund large-scale programs: those that, over the course of an academic year, provide a robust schedule of programming and whose budget exceeds $5,000. These programs may occur only once or may recur year after year. Programs eligible for this grant should broadly appeal to interests represented both on campus and in the public.

A recurring program is eligible for funding of up to $10,000, from the Center for the Humanities, as the program’s sole underwriter, for up to three years total. However, if in its first three years of activity, the program receives outside support, the timeline for determining ongoing eligibility for funding will not change.

After three years, the Center will fund up to two-thirds of a series’s budget, up to $10,000 per year, so long as at least one-third of the budgetary needs has been formally requested from sources other than the Center for the Humanities. However, if that support does not materialize, the Center will consider, on a case-by-case basis, increasing its initial grant (but not beyond $10,000).

After six total years of support, the Center will fund programs up to $5,000, and will require evidence that at least half of the budgetary needs has been requested from sources other than the Center for the Humanities. Rarely, the Center will consider supplementing its initial commitment if outside support does not materialize.

Requests for funding renewal should be accompanied by a detailed report on recent years' activities.

Some major programs may take place with little regularity, under varying leadership, with slight changes in focus. The Board will determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether to apply the guidelines above to such proposals.

Special Programs

Special Program Grants fund programs that are relatively focused in scope or duration or involve a smaller number of participants than a Major Program. Special Programs may occur only once or may recur regularly. While a Special Program must be offered free and open to the public, it may focus on concerns primarily of interest to the academic community or to constituents of Drake University. These may include round-tables, colloquia, symposia, brown-bag discussions, speakers series, and the like.

Program sponsors are eligible to apply for renewal of Special Program Grant funding indefinitely without the obligation to seek outside funding; however, the Center encourages its applicants to pursue outside funding as a way of broadening the reach of the proposed programming. If more proposals are received than can be funded, those seeking outside support will have preference, all else being equal.

Special Programs are eligible for up to $5,000 in funding from the Center for the Humanities. If a program initially conceived and funded as a Special Program increases its scope from year to year, its sponsors should consult with the Director of the program regarding whether and when guidelines pertaining to Major Programs will take effect.

Other Guidelines and Criteria

To receive funding for a program of any kind, the proposal must:

  • explain how the program engages research or teaching or both in the humanities at Drake University
  • describe the activities and events included in the program
  • describe the contribution of those involved, or likely to be involved in the program
  • demonstrate its appeal to the audience it hopes to attract
  • provide a detailed budget for the entire program, even if only a portion of the program’s costs is requested

Applications should also explain whether funding or in-kind contributions have been sought from other sources, and if so, how much and from what sources.

Applicants should submit a detailed report of previous years' work when requesting funding renewal, or by the end of the first week of the fall semester in the fiscal year following the grant period, if no renewal is requested. The Center encourages program sponsors to gather both qualitative information and quantitative information, and to institute the use of more or less formal feedback mechanisms, in preparing these reports.

If the Center declines to fund the program as a whole, the applicant may, at her discretion, and in consultation with the Director, elect to apply for piecemeal funding for the program’s different events, activities, or provisions, following the guidelines of the specific program that would govern them. Those proposing programs that include invited speakers should consult the criteria for Invited Speaker funding, as well.

Managing Expeditures

The Center for the Humanities requires funding recipients and Center-supported program/event organizers to observe Drake University accounting guidelines. The University's tax-free status depends upon uniform observance of these guidelines. Expenses incurred in contravention of these guidelines will not be reimbursed. For more information, please read our grant management page.


Recipients of funding from the Center for the Humanities are asked to provide reports on the impact and effect of the activities funded.

Acknowledging the Center

The Center’s support must be acknowledged in the published work and, when possible, in announcements, presentations, and publicity materials connected to it. Please see the acknowledgments page for examples of appropriate formulations of acknowledgment.


To apply, please email your application and CV as attachments to The first two items in all applications should be (1) the amount requested and (2) the budget breakdown for the amount requested. We will also eagerly read about your project's details, timeline, and its importance to the Humanities at Drake and beyond, but we can only approve requests that include a total amount requested and a budget breakdown. 

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