Applications Open for the Community Collections Grant Program!

Four young boys pose at an outdoor festival

Puerto Rican Festival, North Common, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1987. Photograph by Tom Rankin. Lowell Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1987/042: LFP-DD-C006 ).

The Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center are thrilled to announce the official launch of the Community Collections grant program. These grants will support individuals or non-profit organizations in producing cultural documentation–photographs, interviews, audio or video recordings about their community from the community’s perspective. Materials gathered through this program will become part of the Library’s permanent collection, while locally-held copies can enhance (or seed) community archives. This exciting program is part of the larger Of the People initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation that creates dynamic opportunities for more people to engage with the Library. All activity under the initiative will expand the Library’s efforts to ensure that our historical record reflects a diversity of experiences, thus weaving a more inclusive American story.

Formal Notices of Funding Opportunity can be found on Grants.gov for individuals and for organizations. The due date for applications is September 13, 2021 [UPDATED on September 3, 2021). Grants will be up to $50,000 ($60,000 if applicants intend to host a public program in their community), and will support projects of up to 12-months in length.

Support for applicants can be found here (individuals and organizations, and will be updated as more resources become available.

Since shortly after its inception in 1976 through the American Folklife Preservation Act (Public Law 94-201), the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress has maintained a significant ethnographic archive. Now numbering about 6.5 million items and comprising just over 3400 distinct collections, the AFC archive contains documentation of diverse cultural communities and traditions spanning the late 1800s on through today. Beyond caring for these collections, the AFC has also actively built the collections by conducting large scale folklife survey projects between 1977 and 1998 around the country, training people in cultural documentation methods, and offering financial support through the Archie Green Fellowship program to build the Occupational Folklife Project. The Community Collections grant program builds on—and expands–such efforts.

Digital flyer for grant program

28 Comments

  1. Mary Klingberg
    July 23, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    I am interested in the Russian-Jewish community in South Florida, and if they have inter-married if their families live nearby, if they speak Yiddish, and if they pass on memories or stories from the Holocaust to the millennials in their own families and others outside their community.

    • John Fenn
      July 28, 2021 at 9:48 am

      Thanks for your interest in the grant opportunity. Take a look at the guidelines and support documents as you continue to think through your project ideas!

  2. Jeanette Barnett
    July 23, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    This is a wonderful opportunity, I would be proud to help.

  3. Dr. Betty Jones Smith
    July 23, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Deep South Cherokee Keetoowah Foundations is an American Indian Charity in Southwest Georgia! I am the Genealogist for the Henderson Roll American Indian!
    I am interested in Documenting the history of Randolph and Quitman County!

    • John Fenn
      July 28, 2021 at 9:46 am

      Thanks for the interest in our new grant program. As you shape your project, be sure to familiarize yourself with the grant guidelines and the support documents we’ve created (one for organizations, and one for individual applicants). Good luck!

  4. Jacob Morrison
    July 26, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    Why do you guys always make the words hard to understand and loosely ask the wrong questions so that 9 out 10 people get denied or you guys say, “we have questions, or we need more info?” explain to the people that you guys claim to repsent

  5. Hazel Domangue
    July 29, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    I have a for-profit business with a DUNS and SAM, but I am applying for a grant under Individual. Can I get a DUNS and SAM under my own name, or do I use the ones under my for-profit business. Can I apply for this grant for individuals?

    • John Fenn
      July 30, 2021 at 8:15 am

      It is possible to apply as an individual without using a DUNS or registering at SAM.gov. Review the Notice of Funding Opportunity for individuals (specifically section D.4), as well as the affiliated support document on this blog.

  6. Cassandra Williams Rush
    July 29, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    I established and opened the C Williams Rush African-American Museum of Arts & Culture in my home town of Kingstree (Williamsburg County), SC in 2010 to share my collections of art, textiles, Christmas items, pottery, stamps figurines, Black Memorabilia, dolls, books,etc with the school children, community and attract visitors and tourists, with economic development in mind. This county is 65% Black, consequently, there is a high poverty rate, unemployment rate, etc. After arriving and opening the museum, I realized the rich history, culture and many AA contributions had not been documented. I became the self-appointed, volunteer African American Historian and began researching various individuals and events. My research was documented in the local newspaper, Kingstree’s THE NEWS. This is presently being compiled into a book and an exhibition on Williamsburg County Early Blacks will open on September 3, at the Rush African-American Museum.

    I am hoping all of my continuous work, research, video interviews, pics and documents would qualify to be housed at the Library of Congress.

    • John Fenn
      July 30, 2021 at 8:12 am

      Thank you for the comment, and for your important work as a researcher and steward of community history! Please do take a look at the funding opportunity guidelines and support documents linked in this post in order to determine if there is alignment with any ongoing documentation work you want to do.

  7. Nicole Lee
    July 30, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    This is an awesome opportunity for my non-profit organization, Warrior Moms. I’m having an issue applying for this, the apply button doesn’t work! Anyone having issues??

    I have registered for the webinar Aug, 11th.

    • John Fenn
      July 30, 2021 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks for the comment, and for planning to attend the webinar! Applications to the grant program must be submitted via email, as outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. While we are hosting the application materials on Grants. gov, the ability to submit through that platform is not available.

  8. Linda Hansen
    August 13, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    I am researching how cultural pockets are shared and differentiate between communities in the Ozarks and Southern Idaho. Do you allow comparisons? My research indicates that both cultures, despite their differences, had similar roots. As people migrated from the Ozark region, they spread their culture.

    • John Fenn
      August 16, 2021 at 10:11 am

      Hello, and thanks for reading the blog. Projects should focus on documentation of culture and community, and need not emphasize analysis. Review section A of the NOFO for more information on the types of projects this grant is intended to support.

  9. Jonathan Williamson
    August 31, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    How would one go about applying for this amazing opportunity?

    • John Fenn
      September 1, 2021 at 9:04 am

      Hello, and thanks for the question. To learn all you need to know about applying, follow the links in this post to the “support” pages for either individual or organization applicants (depending on the path you plan to take). On those support pages, you’ll find links to the Notice of Funding Opportunity, which is hosted on Grants.gov. At both the individual and organizational NOFO pages on Grants.gov, you’ll find a “Related Documents” tab that hosts the documents necessary for applying. Download all of them at once via the .zip file. Read through the entire NOFO document (a PDF), as it contains instructions and other details about applying.

  10. Sherry Williams
    September 2, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    I can not download forms after many attempt.
    I sent an email asking for an electronic version.

    • John Fenn
      September 2, 2021 at 4:33 pm

      Hello, and sorry to hear you are experiencing difficulty downloading the forms. We are not aware of others having difficulty getting the forms from Grants.gov, and hope that your problem is only temporary. Please do contact us with a description of the problem if it persists.

  11. Tracey
    September 6, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    Hello, Has the application deadline been extended to Sept 13 2021?

  12. tracey
    September 11, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Where can we demonstrate the cost-sharing element?

    • John Fenn
      September 13, 2021 at 11:38 am

      For Organizational applications, you should be able to demonstrate any cost-sharing in the Budget Template and/or the Budget Narrative components of the application.

  13. Karen
    September 13, 2021 at 11:06 am

    I read deadline for submission in noon, but I can’t find it again. What time zone?

  14. Jennifer
    September 13, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    Good day. This opportunity was just perfect for the intergenerational archival & exhibit project we have been engaged in. Could you tell us if a similar opportunity might come up again in the future? We learned of the RFP too late to put together a proposal that would rise to the power and relevance of our effort. Thank you. We regret missing out on the chance.

    • John Fenn
      September 13, 2021 at 1:43 pm

      Thanks for the note, and interest in the grant program. The Library plans to offer two more annual rounds of funding, so do follow this blog in order to catch announcements regarding future application periods.

  15. Carmen Jones
    September 13, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    Hi, I submitted by proposal before the deadline today but did not receive confirmation.

    Did the team receive my proposal?
    Thanks

    • John Fenn
      September 14, 2021 at 7:51 am

      Thanks for the note, and for your patience! We are working through a large number of submissions that came in over the past week, and with limited staff capacity at the moment. We are hoping to notify applicants to acknowledge receipt shortly.

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