Maine Indian Basketry exhibit


Grants Program

Assisting nonprofit organizations in Maine to develop public projects


Jerome Bennett
(207) 773-5051


Democracy, Journalism, and the Informed Citizen

Applications were due October 15, 2018
Projects must be completed by March 15th, 2019


Miss the deadline for this special grant category?  No problem, your initiative will qualify for our mini and/or major grants.

What do we need to know for a democracy to thrive? What role does the local press play in helping us stay informed? What role does journalism play in our lives? What are some challenges that social media platforms bring to traditional news sources? How do we determine what to pay attention to when we are exposed to so much media content? How can we identify hidden biases in the information we consume? These are only a few of the many questions to be asked – no doubt you have your own.

There are no simple answers, but we think there is wisdom to be gained by inviting Mainers across the state to discuss these important issues. Our goal is to expand Mainers ‘ understanding of what news is and can be, and to explore the role of journalists and other media representatives. We encourage you to apply.

What can the grants support?

The grants support programs and projects bringing community members together to explore issues related to journalism, democracy and the informed citizen. Projects may be entirely new, or build on existing activities or initiatives. They may be simple or elaborate, large or small. The point is to get people thinking and talking together. When in doubt, ask us if your idea for a project might fit.

What could projects look like? 

That is up to you? We want to support programs and projects that engage communities in discussions that will be meaningful to them. Think about:

  • Who you would want to engage in this discussion,
  • Who you could partner with to plan it,
  • What kind of experts would make your project rich (Please reach out to MHC staff if you need assistance connecting with expert for your project)
  • What you would like to explore,
  • How would you like to explore it,

Here are a few ideas to get you started, but we don’t want you to be limited by these:

  • Work with high school students to develop a project.
  • Host a skill-building workshop to evaluate different sources of news.
  • Invite one or more speakers to make a presentation, followed by discussion.
  • Create an exhibit, podcast, video, or on-line content that is shared and potentially discussed with the public.
  • Perform a play, show a film, read books, or have a public reading of works followed by discussion.
    * Please reach out to MHC staff if you need assistance connecting with scholars and experts for your project.

Who can apply?

  • All Maine non-profit organizations are invited to apply. This includes, but is not limited to, government organizations (such as a federally recognized Indian tribal government or organization or    state/local/city government) and education organizations (school or school   district, public or private institution of higher education).
  • As this is a special one-time grant opportunity, we will accept applications from organizations that have been awarded an MHC related grant this year (though preference will be given to those who have not).
  • Organizations receiving this grant may apply for other MHC related grants.
  • Applicants cannot have an overdue final report for a previous MHC grant.

GRANT GUIDELINES: In addition to the guidelines below, please refer to our general guidelines for applicants.

  • Projects need to have a clear connection to the grant’s theme and/or related issues, be humanities–centered, and need to engage the public.
  • Involve someone knowledgeable on issues you want to explore in your project/program so that, together, all may deepen their knowledge and understanding of your topic (for example- journalists, historians, media professionals and/or others). You can ask MHC for help identifying someone.
  • A 1:1 match of in-kind and/or cash is required. Please reach out to MHC staff if you feel this may be a barrier to applying.
  • Applicants are required to certify that no grant funds will be used to pay for organizational operating expenses (such expenses can be counted toward your match).
  • Grantees and participants need to evaluate the program; grantees submit a final report.
    Award amounts are from $300 up to a maximum of $3,000  

Application Process

  • Projects must be completed, and final reports submitted, by March 2019

Download the application as a word document
Download the grant guidelines
Download our Excel budget form

Please contact Jerome Bennett or Lizz Sinclair at MHC with any questions you have! (773-5051)



This program is part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” Initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry. 

We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.