Spring Grant Deadline Is Feb. 28

Humanities Programs Vital in 2021

As the nation continues to navigate the tumult of a public health crisis and civil unrest, humanities programs are as vital as they've ever been.

Non-profit organizations in South Dakota can advance our nation's healing by offering such programs —and the South Dakota Humanities Council is here to help. The statewide non-profit is gearing up for its next round of major grant funding: the deadline is Feb. 28 for programs taking place after May 1. Grant requests can be for up to $7,000.

Applicants that tailor their projects to SDHC's programmatic needs (outlined in these grant guidelines) can receive funding to facilitate humanities discussion and research programs that entertain, educate and inspire the general public.

These valuable funding opportunities are available in the spring and the fall of every year.

What are Major Grants?

Major Grant programs can come in various formats – workshops, presentations, reading/discussion events, exhibits, media projects, and more. Projects should be free and open to the public and should attract a diverse audience. Additionally, for the spring 2021 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 with programs fitting two categories: discussion (up to $7,000) and research projects (up to $2,500).

SDHC also offers smaller grants ($1,000 and under) with applications accepted on a rolling deadline and awarded as funding allows.

All projects must advance the South Dakota Humanities Council's mission and promote the humanities in American public life. SDHC's Mission: The South Dakota Humanities Council celebrates literature, promotes civil conversation, and tells the stories that define our state.

Successful applicants advance that mission while exploring various humanities disciplines.

Recent Grants

Grants are competitive. However, applicants can increase their chances by following the grant guidelines and reading about past grant awards. For example, the grants listed below were awarded during the Fall 2020 cycle.

  • Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls was awarded $2,500 to create a permanent visual display to celebrate Northern Plains Tribal Artists.
  • Lakota Youth Development in Herrick received $4,373 to host "A Lakota Culture Symposium" via Zoom on Apr. 9, 2021. The event will feature elders and knowledge keepers' perspectives on traditional health systems and ways to maintain health across Lakota country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Plains in Brookings received $6,000 to host via Zoom an Intergenerational Diversity and Inclusion Book Club event on Aug. 9, 2021.


So, what are the criteria for discussion and research grants?

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

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. A contract covering copyright, distribution, credits, and disclaimers signed by the grantee is required if a media program is approved. 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 study. 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 to understand one another better.

Learn More and Apply

Please visit http://www.sdhumanities.org/grants for more information and to apply. With questions, email melinda@sdhumanities.org or call the SDHC office at (605) 688-6113.