frequently asked questions

What are SHARP grants?

The Idaho Humanities Council has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan. SHARP stands for Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan. The primary purpose of this funding is to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the coronavirus.  The funding is also meant to assist Idaho’s humanities-based organizations restore and sustain their core functions.

Who may apply for these grants?

In order to apply for these grants, an organization must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a recognized nonprofit by the Internal Revenue Service, educational institution, or local, state, or tribal government. For profit organizations are not eligible.
  • Have a mission that is grounded in the humanities and/or offer publicly accessible humanities programs serving Idahoans
  • Maintain a primary business address in Idaho
  • Have a current Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number

Examples include:

  • State, tribal, and local governmental agencies
  • Public radio and television stations
  • Museums
  • Historical societies
  • Public libraries
  • Colleges and Universities

What can the funding be used towards?

These funds may be used for the organization’s general operating support for public humanities programming as well as the development or support of specific humanities programming. Allowable costs include: salaries; rent; utilities; and scholar honoraria and other costs associated with programming.

Are there restrictions on funding?

Yes.  The following costs are not allowed:

  • unallowable expenses as defined in 2 CFR 200 Subpart E - Cost Principles
  • overlapping project costs with any other pending or approved application(s) for federal funding and/or approved federal awards
  • funds for activities supported by other non-NEH federal funds
  • competitive regranting
  • cancellation costs
  • equipment costs in excess of 20% of total project costs
  • travel (both foreign and domestic)
  • construction, purchase of real property, major alteration and renovation
  • environmental sustainability
  • collections acquisition
  • the preservation, organization, or description of materials that are not regularly accessible for research, education, or public programming
  • promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view
  • advocacy of a particular program of social or political action
  • support of specific public policies or legislation
  • lobbying
  • projects that fall outside of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, autobiographies, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and quantitative social science research or policy studies)

Does the grant require cost-share?

No.  Cost share is not required for SHARP grants, but it is welcomed.  Recipients will be allowed to provide this information in the final report, but it is not a requirement for funding.

How will funding be determined?

All applications will be reviewed by a committee of IHC board members. The final amount of each award will be based on the merit of the application and will depend on how many applications are received.

What are the award amounts?

Applications for specific humanities programs may not request more than $10,000*.

Funding for general support will be determined on an eligible organizations annual operating budget.  The maximum funding levels for general support are as follows*:

Operating Budget under $100,000                                             $5,000

Operating Budget under $500,000                                             $10,000

Operating Budget under $1,000,000                                          $15,000

Operating Budget over $1,000,000                                            $20,000

Operating Budget over $2,000,000                                            $25,000

*Additional funding may be awarded in extraordinary circumstances.

Can our organization apply for a general operating support SHARP grant and a programming SHARP grant?

Yes. However, costs from one grant must not overlap with costs from another grant. You will need to provide a detailed explanation of how these costs will not overlap.

We don’t use the word “humanities” in our mission statement. Is that a problem?

No. However, if you are applying for a general operating support SHARP grant you must do a significant amount of humanities programming.

How do I know if my organization is doing “significant” humanities programming?

Please describe your programming as requested in the application and make your case.

My museum/library/historical society is attached to the city government. Are we eligible?

Some museums and libraries are affiliated with units of local or Tribal government. These organizations are eligible for funding and are not required to have 501(c)3 status, however all other eligibility criteria are required. If your museum or library has a foundation or friends group with 501(c)3 status, they may apply on behalf of your library or museum. Eligibility is based on criteria for the museum or library, not the support organization.

We’ve had 501(c)(3) status for a long time but just began operations in Idaho. Are we eligible?

To be eligible, an organization must be physically based in Idaho and have been in operation for at least two years.

Is my organization eligible if we also get funding from the Idaho Commission on the Arts?

Applicants may NOT receive SHARP funding from additional sources, including ICA, if it is for the same project or general operating support.

My organization is attached to the University but not technically a department. Are we eligible?

If your organization has its own 501(c)3 that is not associated with a college or university it is eligible.

How do you define "recovering" from the pandemic? 

There are many ways an organization can recover from the effects of COVID-19, including the return to in-person humanities-based programming.  Other ways include establishing or maintaining virtual humanities-based programming.

I notice that travel costs may not be paid for with SHARP funding.  May other speaker costs be covered?

Yes. Travel, both foreign and domestic, may not be paid out of grant funds.  However, a speaker's per diem and/or honoraria may be paid for with SHARP funds.

How does my organization apply?

Applications will be submitted via IHC’s online grants management system.  If you do not have an account, you can create one by clicking the “Create New Account” button here.

How long does it take to complete the application?

We estimate that the application should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

When will I learn if I receive the funds?

You should know the results 2-4 weeks after the application due date.

What are the application deadlines?

July 15th, August 15th, and September 15th*.

*Dependent on funding availability.

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

Please contact Doug Exton, IHC Program Officer, with any questions regarding the application process.  His e-mail is