Humanities Program Grant Deadline is Oct. 15

From hosting famous authors and facilitating intriguing conversations to researching historical topics, the South Dakota Humanities Council's major grant recipients represent a variety of entertaining, educational and inspirational humanities projects.

The South Dakota Humanities Council encourages applicants to apply for these grant opportunities, which are awarded in the spring and the fall of every year. The deadline for the next major grant cycle is Oct. 15, 2020. Potential applicants should review the 2021 grant guidelines before proceeding to the application at

What are Major Grants?

Major Grant programs can come in a variety of formats – workshops, presentations, reading/discussion events, exhibits, media projects, and more. Projects should be free, open to the public, and attract a diverse audience. Additionally, for the fall 2020 cycle, SDHC encourages programs that can be conducted virtually due to current social-distancing circumstances.

Major grants allow non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations in South Dakota to fill educational and cultural gaps and support communities' self-identified needs and programs fitting two categories: discussion (up to $7,000) and research projects (up to $2,500).

In addition, SDHC also offers smaller grants ($1,000 and under) that are accepted on a rolling deadline and awarded as funding allows.

Grants are competitive. All projects must advance the mission of the South Dakota Humanities Council and promote the humanities in American public life. The grants explore various humanities disciplines. So, what are the criteria for discussion and research grants, and what kinds of projects have been awarded?


Discussion grants can fund public presentations such as conferences, lectures, presentations, festivals, and symposiums that engage the general public and scholar in a discussion of the humanities. The focus of the program should examine the topic from the view and perspective of the humanities.

Discussion programs can also contain a media element; for example, potential projects could include documentary films, radio and television productions, exhibits, website and social media projects, mobile web applications and humanities-related books or e-books. These projects encourage discussion in the humanities and utilize unique forms of media to advance the humanities. If a media program is approved, a contract covering copyright, distribution, credits, and disclaimers signed by the grantee is required. Discussion requests cannot exceed $7,000.


A research grant supports work to encourage scholarly research in the humanities, especially topics relevant to South Dakota culture and heritage. Applicants must include a plan for a minimum of one public presentation of the research. Requests cannot exceed $2,500.

The South Dakota Humanities Council awards approximately $75,000 in grants annually. SDHC's mission is to celebrate literature, promote civil conversation, and tell the stories that define our state. Major grant programs — and other SDHC programs — help people learn new information, consider different perspectives, and share ideas in order to understand one another better. Please visit for more information. With questions, email or call the SDHC office at (605) 688-6113.