Posts Tagged ‘Grant Writing’

Grants 101: Healing through the Humanities

Humanities Programs in Focus, Tips for Grant Writers | December 1, 2016 | By:

A poem and artwork by a participant in an Untold Stories workshop

It’s through the reflection allowed by the humanities that we gain the perspectives that help us heal.

by Meg Turville-Heitz

We’ve been looking at measuring the impact of humanities programs through evaluation. Last time, I wrote about evaluating impact internally – how we improve our own programs with honest post mortems. This article focuses on our external impact and talking about why the humanities matter. Read More

Grants 101: Taking measure of your humanities project

Tips for Grant Writers | September 22, 2016 | By:

Electric flash

It was a fabulous project. The best project. Everyone said so …

Taking measure of your humanities project

by Meg Turville-Heitz

Evaluations. Ugh, why? You’ve completed your project and it’s time to move on to the next thing. Sometimes it feels like a forced exercise in number crunching and self-scrutiny that can kill the buzz from your successes. Other times it may leave you feeling like you are sugar-coating a big lemon.

Evaluations get a bad rap. Really. Good evaluations promote better projects – both our ability to offer guidance, and your ability to design great programming. Evaluation can help institutions improve how they do their work and provide a way to talk about why the humanities matter. Thus we’re taking a step back and looking again at how we measure what we measure. We’re realizing we can do better. And there are some pretty compelling reasons why we need to. While reporting numbers and dollars is a function of grant funding everywhere, it’s really the impacts that matter, especially in the humanities.  Read More

Our New Grant Program Director is Here!

Humanities Programs in Focus, Tips for Grant Writers | July 14, 2016 | By:

New WHC grant program director's farm

This is where our new Grant Program Director, Meg Turville-Heitz, calls home.

We are excited to introduce you to Meg, our new Grant Program Director!

Hi! I’m Meg, the new WHC Grant Program Director.  I’m the newest member of the Wisconsin Humanities Council staff and I’ve been asked to introduce myself. Pleased to meet you! I’m eager to learn about your public humanities programs and work with you on your grant applications.

I’m a writer; writing an introduction should be easy. But I have that Midwest “humble” ingrained from birth, that tendency to not crow, to blush at praise, and to self-deprecate whenever there are opportunities to shine. Add to that an irreverent and somewhat gallows-minded sense of humor and I spend a lot of time kicking myself, mostly metaphorically, with under-the-breath “I shouldn’t have said that” moments.

But I digress.

Read More

Grants 101: Be Good, Be Brief, and…

Tips for Grant Writers | December 2, 2015 | By:


Be Good, Be Brief, and…Be Gone, a board member of the historical museum I once directed used to advise me.  A retired corporate executive and the organization’s treasurer, he was fond of dispensing aphorisms with a wink in his eye.  He taught me, a graduate student with more words than available pages, the importance of a one-page memo.  He taught me how to get to the point.

One challenge of writing a strong grant proposal is Read More

Announcing Grants for Northern Wisconsin

Tips for Grant Writers | August 12, 2015 | By:


Whether you think of it as north of HWY 8, HWY 29, or HWY 10, northern Wisconsin is known for many things—snow, bears, outdoor sports, lakes and woods and some would say, a unique Up North culture. Joel Friederich, an Associate Professor of English at UW-Barron County, is doing all he can to add literature to the mix by strengthening what he calls a ‘NW Wisconsin literary landscape.’ 

This weekend is the second annual Northwest Wisconsin Writers Festival. How a connection to place can inform and ground writing will be one of the topics of discussion among authors and audiences. The featured authors, Nickolas Butler and Marnie Mamminga, are both known for stories and characters set in northern Wisconsin. Read More

Grants 101: Working With Humanities Experts

Tips for Grant Writers | July 1, 2015 | By:

Grant Program Director Mark Livengood shares some tips for grant writers periodically here as part of Humanities Booyah. Mark consults in person and over the phone with people all the time, listening to ideas and talking through potential public humanities projects. He is approachable and insightful. He also notes that some questions come up again and again. This week he gives us some of his talking points on the subject of Humanities Experts. 

We have clearly stated  criteria for judging grant proposals listed in our Grant Guidelines. One is that projects should be firmly grounded in the humanities: “Strong public humanities programs engage humanities experts and community members so that both local knowledge and academic expertise are respected.”

So what, exactly, do we mean by ‘humanities expert?’

Ojibwe artist Wayne Valliere works with students

Ojibwe artist Wayne Valliere works with students as part of a 2013 WHC Major Grant-funded project called “These Canoes Carry Culture: Birchbark Canoe Building for At-Risk Youth.”

When describing the grant proposal they’re working on, people sometimes ask me “What does the WHC mean by humanities expert?”  I usually mention the definition included in our grant guidelines.  In the spirit of the WHC’s Working Lives Project, I’ve reformatted that definition into a brief position description for a WHC humanities expert: Read More

Grants 101: Writing a Strong Budget Description

Tips for Grant Writers | February 25, 2015 | By:

by Mark Livengood, WHC Grant Program Director, writing to an imaginary applicant as if responding to an imaginary grant proposal draft.

Pen, calculator and WHC budget form 

To:  Grant Applicant

From:  Mark Livengood, The Friendly Curmudgeon

Re:  Your Budget Description

Overall, your major grant application is looking really good.  The project description clearly communicates interesting humanities content, identifies solid humanities experts, and suggests the involvement of strong community partners.  In terms of your project budget, the figures balance and you have more than the required one-to-one match.  Nice work.

Still, several of your proposed expenses will likely raise questions from reviewersRead More

Grants 101: Grant Consultation

Tips for Grant Writers | November 5, 2014 | By:

Photo from the Milwaukee Public Library

“The Rotunda and Eagle at the Milwaukee Public Library” by Peter Murphy used by permission from Doors Open Milwaukee

As a new executive director at Historic Milwaukee, Inc., I took the opportunity to call in fall 2013 regarding future grant submissions.  After a highly productive conversation, I learned that our project would be a good candidate for a major grant.  In early 2014 I emailed a draft of the grant application and we reviewed it over the phone a few weeks later.  I had specific questions regarding our budget, our proposed humanities experts, and our marketing expenses.  Since we had received a prior grant for the same project, there were suggestions about how our proposed event differed from the previous event, including lessons learned by our organization.  

~Stacy Swadish, Executive Director of Historic Milwaukee, Inc., which received a WHC major grant in June 2014 for Doors Open Milwaukee

Consulting with grant applicants is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job as Grant Program Director.  Not only does it enable me to synthesize my training and experience in interesting ways, it also teaches me a great deal about the wide range of dedicated people and the public humanities projects they are developing across the state.  The catalog of funded projects on this website highlights projects awarded WHC grants since 2011.  

Grant consultation happens in various ways.  Read More

Our new grant applications are here to make things easier

Tips for Grant Writers | March 26, 2014 | By:

Historic black & white photo of a woman breaking a bottle of champagne on board a ship

This photo is part of the Kewaukee Public Library’s collection of historic images recently made public called “Kewaunee Ships of War.” Here a woman christens a new vessel by breaking a bottle of champagne.


We know that writing a grant application can be hard work.

Mini-Grant awards come in all sizes, but none are larger than $2,000. And although your chances as a WHC applicant are much better than, say, winning the Powerball Lottery (since we fund close to half the proposals submitted every year), buying a lottery ticket might seem easier. Developing a project and writing a convincing application requires a good deal of effort. Read More

Grants 101: The Importance of Detail

Tips for Grant Writers | February 11, 2014 | By:

Farmer on a tractor in a field of alfalfa.

Rex Dobson cutting hay, June 2005. Photo by Mark Livengood, used with permission from the Rex Dobson Ruby Ellen Farm Foundation.

“The devil’s in the detail,” one of my friends, a life-long farmer, used to say. This compact traditional expression fit him as well as the red wool cap he wore nine months of the year. Taciturn in disposition, he was widely acknowledged for producing the best bales of hay for miles around, a distinction due, no doubt, to the close attention he paid to the details of his fields and his machinery.

Had my friend written a grant to the WHC, I’m confident his proposal would have reflected such concern.

Read More