The Fourteenth Amendment in American Life and Imagination Grants

Deadline April 25, 2016

A one-time-only grant program for organizations seeking to highlight the broad themes of citizenship, due process, and equal protection of the law in programming that takes place in 2016

14th amendment

The constitutional amendments adopted in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, known as the “Reconstruction Amendments,” have been called the basis of America’s second founding, a “broad and sure foundation” providing equality for all before the law. Through the Reconstruction period and beyond, these amendments have fundamentally shaped our ideas of citizenship, equality, and liberty.

Passed by Congress 150 years ago (thanks in large part to Maine’s own William Pitt Fessenden), the Fourteenth Amendment laid the groundwork for many of our most valued–and debated–rights. Some of the Supreme Court’s most famous and influential cases have hinged on the justices’ interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, such as Plessy v. Ferguson (18 May 1896), Brown v. Board of Education (17 May 1954), Loving v. Virginia (12 Jun 1967), and Obergefell v. Hodges (26 June 2015).

The goal of this grant category, offered in partnership with the Maine Arts Commission and the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, is to use the arts and the humanities to highlight and examine Fourteenth Amendment-related social and cultural issues. We particularly seek projects that explore current-day relationships between the amendment and resulting policy, practice, and mores in Maine. Projects may explore these issues literally, or at a greater, more theoretical/philosophical distance; we are not expecting academic responses.

Projects may be entirely new, or build on existing activities. Some suggested thematic areas may include:

  • Equality
    • Gender
    • Race
    • Sexuality
    • Educational opportunities
  • Liberty and the concept of due process (for example, the recent Ebola quarantine cases; internment camps)
  • Politics and representation
  • History of Reconstruction and the 14th amendment
  • Policing
  • Incarceration
  • Affirmative action in schools and/or the workplace
  • Immigration, citizenship, and belonging
  • The tension between the federal government and the states

Projects must take place between July 1 and December 31, 2016.

Only Maine nonprofits are eligible; applicants are required to certify that no grant funds will be used to pay for organizational operating expenses. A 1:1 match of cash and/or in-kind is required.

The maximum amount awarded will be $1,000.

Examples of eligible projects may include (but are not limited to):

  • Performance: A play, concert, reading, or other type of performance that reflects on or highlights Fourteenth Amendment issues.
  • Exhibit: Original art or photography that references Fourteenth Amendment themes.
  • Curriculum enhancement: Develop or modify arts or creative writing curriculum to include Fourteenth Amendment themes, including humanities-style reflection and discussion in addition to artistic output.
  • Podcasts: Create podcasts that focus on themes relevant to the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • Video/film: Create a short movie or series of movies related to Fourteenth Amendment themes.
  • Film series
  • Cultural celebration

While our preference is for arts and humanities projects, we will also consider humanities-only projects.

Application process

  1. Grant applicants are required to speak to MHC staff (Anne Schlitt or Lizz Sinclair, 207-773-5051) AND Maine Arts Commission (Kathy Shaw, 207-287-2750) to make sure their project fits the guidelines. (If you are applying with a humanities-only project, then you only need to speak to MHC staff.)
  2. Submission/Deadlines: April 25, 2016
  3. Review: Applications reviewed by MHC and MAC.
  4. Notification: Early May 2016. Projects MUST be completed by December 31, 2016.

Download a preview of the application as a Word document

The deadline for this grant category has passed.

Organizations receiving a Fourteenth Amendment Grant may also still apply for a Mini, Major, or Arts & Humanities Grant.

Funded by:


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Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.