The humanities are the genie in the bottle of the world. They are to economics what a magic flute is to a cash register, to science what a bird of paradise is to a lab rat, and to most political systems what a disco ball is to a ball and chain. That's why I'm high on Humanities Washington.

Tom Robbins
Author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
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Spark Grants

Spark Grant Guidelines

2016 Spark Grant Timeline

• Letter of intent due: May 13, 2016
• Full applications due: June 27, 2016
• Grant applicants notified of funding decisions: Week of September 26, 2016
• Funded grant activity can begin: October 1, 2016

Spark Grant Guidelines

Spark Grants bring to life Humanities Washington’s mission of sparking conversation and critical thinking to help create informed, engaged communities across our state. Spark Grants support projects at large and small organizations that encourage thoughtful consideration of issues and provide social, historical and philosophical context to better understand our complex world.

While there are many opportunities for individuals to access information – e.g., the media, Internet, books – there are relatively few outlets for people to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns about this information with other people, especially those with viewpoints different from their own. Spark Grants are available to help “spark” and sustain these important conversations.

We are especially interested in supporting programs that bring together diverse groups of people. To serve broader audiences and promote partnerships, Spark Grants will only be awarded to projects that are the result of a collaboration between two or more organizations. In addition, these projects must be:

  • Based in dialogue and discussion
  • Open to the general public
  • Free or low-cost to attend


Project formats may include:

  • Lectures and readings
  • Community conversations
  • Reading and discussion groups
  • Public forums
  • Panel presentations


Spark Grants can be used to fund public programs that build on themes developed in a larger project, such as discussions in conjunction with exhibitions or film festivals.


Who is Eligible for Funding

Any nonprofit organization or public agency is eligible to apply for a Spark Grant. While applicants do not need to be incorporated or have tax-exempt status, they must be organized for nonprofit purposes and funded activities must clearly serve a Washington state audience. In addition:

  • Organizations may apply for a Spark Grant only once in a calendar year.
  • Organizations that have previously received Humanities Washington funding must submit a final report before applying again with a new project.


Individuals are not eligible to receive Humanities Washington grants.


Award Amounts

Spark Grants are awarded through a competitive grant process. Award amounts range from $1,001 to $7,500. Please note that Humanities Washington has limited grant funds to award, and not all eligible applicants may receive funding. Please review the list of permitted project costs and matching funds requirements.

How to Apply for a Spark Grant

Please review the How to Apply page to see if your project is eligible for funding and to access the online application form. We also strongly recommend that you review the Application Tips before starting your application.


Grant Writing Consultation

Humanities Washington staff is available to consult with applicants on draft proposals by telephone or in person by appointment prior to any application deadline (a minimum of four weeks before the deadline is advised). We strongly recommend that you review the Application Tips before starting your application and/or contacting staff. Calls and emails are returned to applicants in the order they are received in our office. We will contact all applicants who submit a Letter of Interest to discuss the proposed project.

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