The Library of Congress was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant titled “Of the People: Widening the Path” to fund a new, multi-part initiative to connect more deeply with Indigenous, Black, Hispanic, and other communities of color by exposing grantees to the Library’s expansive collections, using technology to enable storytelling and offering more internship and fellowship opportunities. Part of that grant establishes the four-year Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI) within the Digital Strategy Directorate. In this post, we invite applicants for the CCDI Artist in Residence or Scholar in Residence grant program.
Artist or Scholar in Residence program: The Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI) Artist or Scholar in Residence program will fund an Artist in Residence or a Scholar in Residence in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Each Artist/Scholar in Residence will serve for 2 years, supported for $50,000 in their first year and $100,000 in their second year. Individuals selected will be either artists or scholars whose artistic or scholarly work connects with the intersections of technology and cultural heritage, and engages with the legacies of racial division in the United States. Proposed projects will help the Library and the American people imagine new ways of preserving, accessing, and sharing the stories of underserved communities, connecting the nation’s past to its future.
During the first year of the residency, the artist or scholar in residence will be expected to visit the Library for at least 10 days in person during their first year, and to utilize Library of Congress resources in their first year, and to participate in occasional CCDI activities. They should plan to work with Library staff and collections to refine their proposed project plan and to undertake necessary research in preparation for their second year. During the first year, the artist or scholar in residence will be required to submit quarterly project updates, and to participate in meetings and events at the Library. Before the second year of the grant, the artist or scholar in residence will produce a fully revised and expanded work plan and budget to reflect the developments in the first year for approval by Library staff.
During the second year, the artist or scholar in residence will be expected to visit the Library for at least 20 days in person to engage more deeply in the scholarly and artistic life of the Library. In addition, the technical, artistic, and/or scholarly product should be created and shared during this year, resulting in a public-facing research or artistic publication, project, exhibition, or event.
The scholar or artist in residence will be supported by the CCDI staff, who will introduce the artist or scholar in residence to Library colleagues, ensure access to appropriate collections materials, and otherwise liaise between the artist or scholar in residence and the Library.
How to Apply and Important Dates
Read the Notice of Funding Opportunity fully and carefully to plan your application. The notice contains detailed guidance about application requirements.
- Additional help is available by
- Register to attend an informational webinar if available (dates below)
- “How to Develop and Write a Grant Proposal” [updated Aug. 28, 2019]
The Library will host a series of webinars to walk through the Notice of Funding Opportunity, and to answer questions. These webinars will be recorded and linked below.
September 29 at 3 PM EST: VIEW RECORDED WEBINAR
October 19 at 3 PM EST: VIEW RECORDED WEBINAR
October 27 at 3 PM EST: Video coming soon
- December 14, 2021. Questions about applying for this funding opportunity may be submitted through email to [email protected] with the subject of” NOFO 030ADV21R0696″ until 5:00 p.m. on this date. No questions will be accepted after this date.
- December 21, 2021. Applications for this funding opportunity are due by 12:00 p.m. (noon ET) on the date identified here. Full application packages should be emailed to the Library by this time. Applications must be submitted by email to [email protected] See Section D.3 Application Package and Submission Requirements in the Notice of Funding Opportunity for more information.
Using the Notice of Federal Opportunity (“the Notice”) as a Planning Tool
The Notice of Federal Opportunity (the “Notice”) states application requirements organized across distinct sections. Each section is important and provides detailed information and definitions related to specific aspects of the application process:
- Sec. A: Program Description giving background, the purpose of the grant, program expectations and deliverables, and an overview of the selection process. ***
- Sec. B: Federal Award Information summarizes key elements of the opportunity including the period of performance, estimated start date, and estimated funds available and number of awards.
- Sec. C: Eligibility Requirements details both who may apply for the grant and other conditions affecting a satisfactory application.
- Sec. D: Application and Submission Information gives a full description of the needed elements of the application itself, including project proposal information, project budget information, and required forms, as well as details on when and how to submit the application package itself. It includes the list of steps to be completed in order to apply, including***
- Request a DUNS number, if needed, and register with the federal System for Award Management.
- Submit a proposal narrative using the outline provided in the Notice of Funding Opportunity
- Submit a Budget Plan Worksheet Template, Budget Narrative, Spending Summary and Plans using the appropriate forms available with the Notice
- Sec. E: Application Review and Award describes how an application will be evaluated and how the Library will notify successful applicants. ***
- Sec. H: Federal Awarding Agency Contacts provides information regarding technical and administrative contacts for the program.
*** While all information is important to the purpose, requirements, and expectations of the grant program, these three (3) sections are critical to helping applicants plan, outline, and create their grant proposal.
The Notice also provides information regarding expectations of grant management and legal considerations that will apply if the Library awards a grant to an applicant, including:
- Sec. F: Project Management and Reporting summarizes the Library’s expectations of an awardee including project planning, interim and final reporting, and communications with the Library’s program team.
- Sec. G: Federal Award Administration describes the legal and regulatory framework applying to the grant including applicable Library and federal regulations, general terms and conditions, disclosures, and intellectual property right considerations.
- Sec. I: Other Information defines the payment schedule for awards
Federal Systems and Forms
As a government agency, the Library of Congress complies with federal rules regarding the distribution of funds.
- Grants.gov In order to download the Notice and associated forms and documents, visit the application on grants.gov, click on “Related Documents” and download all necessary forms. Applicants cannot submit an application via grants.gov.
- SAM.gov Applicants must register as an entity on SAM.gov (System for Award Management). For SAM, it may take 12-15 days or longer for a submitted registration form to be processed and the registration activated. Applicants are encourages to register early to avoid delays. To register on SAM.gov, review the Getting Started Information and available Quick Start Guide for Grant Registrations.
- Forms The application package must contain the federal form
- Form SF-424 Application for Federal Domestic Assistance-Individual is a standard cover sheet for applications included with the Notice and also available for download from Grants.gov
Questions and Answers
Grant program overview
- What’s the purpose of this program? The Library of Congress will expand the connections between the Library and diverse communities and strengthen the use of Library of Congress digital collections and digital tools. The Library of Congress seeks to award a grant to support the creative and wide-ranging use of Library collections and the connective powers of technology to serve Black, Indigenous, Hispanic or Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander or other racial and ethnic minority populations within the United States in sharing stories about America’s past, present, and future.
- Where can I learn more about the necessary process to apply for this grant? All information about this opportunity is available in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. Click “related documents” in grants.gov and download the Notice there.
- Can I make an appointment to discuss my proposed project? The Library of Congress does not provide one-on-one feedback on project proposals for this grant program. If there is a specific question, please email [email protected] with subject “NOFO 030ADV21R0696″ and the response will be posted weekly at the bottom of this page. Questions received after noon Eastern time on December 14, 2021 will not be answered.
- I’m not sure if this is the right program for me. Are there other funding opportunities available? Over the next several years, the Library will offer several programs as part of the “Of the People” program. Areas of interest, funding available, and the number of awards may vary. All funding opportunities will be listed on the “Of the People: Widening the Path” Funding Opportunities page for easy reference. Bookmark the page or subscribe to blog (RSS or email) to stay informed.
- Who is eligible to receive this grant? Eligible applicants must be individuals who are U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents. . Additional information about eligibility is found in Section C of the Notice.
- Are applicants in the U.S. territories eligible to apply? Yes, applicants located in the U.S. territories meet the eligibility requirements.
- Will the Library accept multiple proposals from the same applicant? An eligible applicant may submit only one application under this announcement. Applicants may be included in multiple proposals as members of collaborative partnerships or within a single organization.
- What are the grant amounts the Library will award? The Library of Congress intends to award one pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity. The Library’s intention is to make grant awards of up to $150,000.
- How long is the funding period? The funding period is 24 months.
- If my proposal was selected, when would I receive funds? The Library expects to announce funding decisions on or before February 24, 2022. Once a decision has been made, many factors may affect the specific timing of payments to applicants as outstanding issues are resolved and the Grant Agreement is made available for review and acceptance. Once the Grant Agreement is fully executed, the Grant Officer will share instructions specific to each recipient on how to request payment. See Section F.2 Notice of Federal Award for more information.
- Can this grant be extended to additional years? This grant has a period of performance of 24 months. The timeline and budget should correspond to a 24 month period.
Application details and federal forms
- What is the application deadline? All proposals must be submitted via email to [email protected] no later than 12:00 PM (Noon Eastern Time) on December 21, 2021. No application materials are to be submitted via Grants.gov.
- What should be in an application packet? Refer to Section D of the Notice for detailed information. In brief, the application packet must contain:
- a SF-424 Application for Federal Domestic Assistance-Short Individual;
- a Proposal Narrative of no more than 8 pages describing the proposed project, the organization, key project staff/consultants, a description of past activity relevant to the project proposed, and necessary disclosures
- a Budget Plan Worksheet, i.e., a completed version of the Excel worksheet attached to the notice
- a Budget Narrative of approximately 2-4 pages explaining the connection between the proposed project and the budget plan
- Necessary appendix materials including disclosures and other notices as are relevant to individual applicants.
- The grants.gov system does not allow me to apply for this grant. How do I submit the application? As in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, Parts D.3 and D.6 on page 6, all proposals are to be submitted by email to [email protected]
- How should the Standard Form (SF-424) PDFs and the budget narrative excel spreadsheet be submitted in the MS WORD electronic copy version of the proposal? The PDFs may be submitted as PDFs, and the excel spreadsheet budget may remain in excel format, with the MS WORD file(s) of the application. Files may be attached separately to a single or multiple emails to [email protected] Please make sure each submission email clearly identifies the proposal applicant(s) and proposed project title. See Section D.6 Email Submission Requirements.
- Are the cover page, budget attachments (Budget Narrative Template (excel) and Budget Justification (word/ PDF), the appendices and the standard forms (SF424) considered part of the proposal 8-page count limit? No, these documents, forms, attachments, and the cover page will not count against the 8-page limit.
- For the application, does the cover page and letters of support from an administrator count towards the 8-page maximum for the narrative? No. Those documents are separate from the narrative.
- The SF-424 asks for a UEI rather than DUNS Number. How should we complete the form? The transition from DUNS number to a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) created in SAM.gov was delayed. The transition date was shifted from 2020 to April 2022. You may use your DUNS number.
- In the SF-424 application, what is #4 “funding opportunity number” for the “widening the path” grant? For organizations, it is the Notice of Funding Opportunity Number 030ADV21R0696.
- Due to Adobe 8 restrictions, I cannot download Form SF-424 Application for Federal Domestic Assistance – Individual. Can you send me the form? Yes. Request an SF-424 form to [email protected]
- Appendices: Should the separate appendices be submitted as individual appendix files? The Library does not have a recommendation or preference, and it may depend on the email server or file size (please see the Notice for the Library’s maximum email size limit). All appendices may be combined into one PDF or submitted as individual PDF files. Please make sure individual files and emails are clearly labeled and connected to your application.
- Should the appendices be combined into a single PDF file with the Project Narrative and other attachments? The Library does not have a recommendation or preference and it may depend on the email server or file size (please see the Notice for the Library’s maximum email size limit). All appendices, project narrative sections, and other forms and attachments may be combined into one PDF or submitted as individual PDF files. Please make sure individual files and emails are clearly labeled and connected to your application.
- What information should I include in my project description? Applicants should use the project description to provide a reasonable explanation of the work they would like to perform and to demonstrate how the proposed work would align with the goals of the program overall. Applicants should also review the factors the Library will consider in evaluating applications to make sure their proposal addresses these points sufficiently. See Section E. Application Review and Reward for more information.
- Are project timelines and other visual charts allowed in the proposal? Yes, project timelines and other visual charts are allowed in the proposal and may be included in the body of the project narrative (8-page limit) or as a separate, supplementary appendix.
- I don’t want all the materials I collect or include in my project to be shared in the Library’s collections for public use. What should I do? The Library’s preference is for projects that extend an open license for non-commercial public use to the collection materials, but we encourage applicants to describe in detail any specific limitations they might predict for portions of the collection. See Section G.5 Intellectual Property Rights and Data Use for more information. The Library intends to be attentive to culturally sensitive materials that may be part of documentation gathered during a project, and will work with grant awardees to determine the most appropriate approach regarding access. In either the proposal or as a separate appendix document, applicants with concerns must describe any limitations on any intellectual property that will affect applicant’s performance of the grant or affect the Library’s (or the public’s) subsequent use of any deliverable under the agreement (e.g. potential documentation of copyrighted cultural material). In particular, the applicant must describe the intellectual property in sufficient detail, clearly state any limitations, and describe how the Library can use the work with the limitations described or proposed by the applicant.
Budget Narrative and Worksheets
- Why do I have to explain my budget information in two separate sections and formats? What’s the relationship between the Budget Plan Worksheet and the Budget Narrative? The Library requests two different perspectives on project budgets to aid in the evaluation of the overall project proposal:
- The worksheet asks applicants to provide a detailed view on the estimated costs of the project to demonstrate the applicant has fully considered the resources needed for the project and that only allowable expenses are included.
- The narrative ask applicants explain how the costs included are reasonable and necessary for project performance and demonstrate that grant funds would be used appropriately and wisely to support program objectives.
- How do I prepare a proposed budget? Applicants should consider their proposal and identify needed resources, goods, and services using the categories shown on the worksheet as prompts: Salaries Wages & Benefits; Travel; Equipment; Supplies; Contractual; Other. Items to include should be allowable under federal regulations and as specific as possible. Amounts to include should be reasonable for the scope of the proposed project – allocating too little money to resource needs can raise as much concern as allocating too much money. More information is also available in the CRS report “How to Develop and Write a Grant Proposal” [updated Aug. 28, 2019].
- What are allowable costs? As a general rule, allowable costs are those that are reasonably part of, and of benefit to, the proposed grant project. Costs that apply to multiple projects or personal expenses are typically not allowed as direct expenses. For example, a camera or printer for applicant’s use in project fieldwork and other documentary work would not be included; reasonable costs of paper or ink for this program could be allowed. For specific questions, contact the Grant Officer to Ramon Samuel at [email protected] as directed in Section D2 Questions and Answers in the Notice of Funding Opportunity.
- Are travel costs allowable in the grant budget? Yes. Applicants should ensure any per diem costs (lodgings or meals and incidentals expenses per day) do not exceed allowable government rates as defined by the U.S. General Services Administration. For information on permitted per diem rate, applicants can use the GSA’s Per Diem Rates Look Up tool
- My project will only include some of the categories on the budget form. Do I need to fill in the other categories? For the sake of clarity, applicants should enter $0 for total expenses in categories where they have no planned costs.
- Are matching funds required? There is no mandatory cost share or matching requirement for this grant program.
- What happens if our proposal is selected for funding and there are budget or personnel changes? To make a change to a submitted proposal before the application deadline, contact the Grant Officer at LOC-grants.gov as directed in Section D2 Questions and Answers. Changes or modifications to a proposal after it has been selected for funding will be handled on a case by case basis by the Library. For modifications to an awarded project, please see the terms of the agreement created for how to proceed. In most cases, minor modifications may be requested as long as the original, funded intent of the award does not change. In extreme cases, grantees who are not able to fulfill the terms of their award may be subject to early termination or other terms as specified in their award agreement.
- Where in the Budget Plan Worksheet do we indicate cost sharing? If there will be no cost sharing, please indicate that in your Budget Narrative. If there is a cost-share, you may add a cost-share tab to the Budget Plan Worksheet and itemize, or alternatively, describe it in detail in terms of type of cost and amount in your Budget Narrative.
- Could you please provide the citation for specific allowable and unallowable costs? This is the link to 2 CFR 200, Subpart E – Cost Principles: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/2/part-200/subpart-E. Specific types of costs can be found under General Provisions for Selected Items of Cost (§§ 200.420 – 200.476).
- Is it acceptable to add a line item for contingencies to the budget? No. Please use the line items specified in the Budget Plan Worksheet.
Selection and award processes
- Who will review grant applications? The Library will assemble panels comprising Library of Congress staff and invited panelists. See Section E. Application Review and Award for more information.
- When will the Library communicate grant decisions? The Library intends to communicate funding decisions on or before February 24, 2022.
Other questions (submitted via email)
Questions submitted over email or through blog comments will be answered weekly in this section.
Questions from email
- I’m a student at…I want to apply for the grant but Grants.gov is offline, can you send me the grant application? Grants.gov does not appear to be offline. The NOFO can be viewed via the links here: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=030adv21r0696 or by following the links above on this page.
- How do I apply, is this still ongoing, and who’s eligible. Yes the NOFO is currently open and can be found via the link below. https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=030adv21r0696. Above on this page are also links to the full notice of funding opportunity as well as links to informational webinars and answers to questions.
- I have recently started a non profit organization… I saw your listing on grants.gov but was unable to follow the link to apply. Is there another way to apply for this grant? Applications for this grant are accepted as described in sections B (page 5) and D (page 6) of the NOFO via email. Please download the full Notice of Funding opportunity at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=030adv21r0696. And visit //blogs.loc.gov/ofthepeople/2021/09/ccdi-grant-asr/ where you can find additional information, links to upcoming webinars and answers to questions.
- I have a solo play that aligns with the mission of the grant. Can I submit a play for my proposal? Are playwrights & solo performers eligible to apply for the grant? Playwrights and performers are eligible.
- About the NOFO 030ADV21R0696, can it be applied for under a non-profit organization? Only individuals can apply for a grant under this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), please see the Library’s other NOFOs – 030ADV21R02215 (Libraries Museums and Archives) and 030ADV21R0227 (Higher Education) to see if you are eligible to apply.
- I would like to apply for the CCDI Artists in Residence Grant. Your website states that artists work … “connects with the intersections of technology and cultural heritage, and engages with the legacies of racial division in the United States.” … Please clarify if I would need to propose creating a new project that is related to race and technology, or a project about cultural/ racial subject matter for an online platform, i.e., a theater production created to be viewed online instead of in a theater. Please explain. The Library of Congress does not provide one-on-one feedback on project proposals for this grant program. Please see section E of the Notice of Funding opportunities to read about the criteria for proposal evaluation.
- I am interested in applying for the Of the People grant, but the “apply” button is not clickable for me when I am logged in. I’m wondering if there’s something more I need to do to be able to apply? Thank you for any guidance. As stated in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, Parts D.3 and D.6 on page 7, all proposals are to be submitted by email to [email protected]
- Do applicants need to submit letters of recommendation? No.
- I have recently started a non profit organization . I saw your listing on grants.gov but was unable to follow the link to apply. Is there another way to apply for this grant? Applications for this grant are accepted as described in sections B (page 5) and D (page 6) of the NOFO via email. Please note that this opportunity is available only for individuals, and not for organizations. Please download the full Notice of Funding opportunity at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=030adv21r0696 and view the Q&As above for additional information, links to webinars and answers to questions.
- Do I need to request a DUNS number? I am an individual scholar, not an organization. If DUNS is needed, how do I apply for one? As stated in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, individuals can either register with SAM.gov, or fill out a vendor survey form, which will be provided during the award process.
- In Grants.gov, it does not have a package number to apply and when I enter the NOFO number, it cannot find it. What is the best way to apply? What action do you recommend and is there a package number? Or do you want us to submit the documents via email or some other way? As stated in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, Parts D.3 and D.6 on page 7, all proposals are to be submitted by email to [email protected]
- My colleague is in the US on an asylum visa, will that would prevent him being eligible? Eligible applicants must be individuals who are U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents. Additional information about eligibility is found in Section C of the Notice
- Do I need to submit letters of recommendation for my project? No.
- Is it possible to apply for a Connecting Communities Digital Initiative grant for a collaborative project? This opportunity is only available to individuals. However, an applicant can engage consultants or subcontractors as described in Section D.5.1.2 of the NOFO.
- I’m reaching out to inquire about the Info Webinars that recently passed. Is there a possibility that a recording of that webinar is available, or possibly that another will happen before December? When available the recording of the webinar will be posted in Of the People: Widening the Path blog. You can also visit the Of the People: Widening the Path website where the recording of the webinar will be posted here.
- I’m a writer planning to apply for a Connecting Communities Digital Initiative – Artist or Scholar in Residence Grant. I wonder if collaborative art projects are eligible for funding. This opportunity is only available to individuals. However, an applicant can engage consultants or subcontractors as described in Section D.5.1.2 of the NOFO.
- I’m wondering if this funding would support international travel for field research. Yes. Please review the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), section D.5.2 Budget Narrative (Justification), Spending Summary and Plans, where this information is explained.
- If a faculty member at our University wants to submit this award, will they be able to have our University receive and help administer the funds or will the faculty member be responsible solely for receiving the funds and any reporting required? The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Artist or Scholar in Residence grant states in section C.1 the eligible applicants and in section G the requirements for federal funds administration. The applicant, adhering to the policies explained in the NOFO, is the person who would manage the funds for the grant. More information can be found in the Of the People: Widening the Path blog.
- Does this application require a DUNS number? As stated in the NOFO, as an individual, an applicant will be required to either be registered and active in SAM.gov or complete a Vendor Survey Form as described in section D.4 of the NOFO.
- Is the principle artist/scholar allowed to budget a salary for herself under labor costs? Yes. Please review the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), section D.5.2 Budget Narrative (Justification), Spending Summary and Plans, where this information is explained.
- Can collaborative projects be funded? This opportunity is only available to individuals. However, an applicant can engage consultants or subcontractors as described in Section D.5.1.2 of the NOFO.
- Can international travel funds be supported? Yes. Please review the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), section D.5.2 Budget Narrative (Justification), Spending Summary and Plans, where this information is explained.
- Can attendance at an arts residency to work on project activities be supported? Yes. Please review the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), section D.5.2 Budget Narrative (Justification), Spending Summary and Plans, where this contractual information is explained.
- There are three different application deadlines listed on the amended Notice of Funding Opportunity: November 21, November 22, and December 21. Which one is correct? The deadline for the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative – Artist or Scholar in Residence Grant is December 21, 2021, the NOFO has been amended to clarify. More information can be found here.
- Can funding be used to support any of the applicant’s living expenses, if a portion are project related: rent, phone, utilities, etc? Please review the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), section D.5.2 Budget Narrative (Justification), Spending Summary and Plans, where this information is explained.
- When will replays of the information session(s) be available to view? When available the recording of the webinar will be posted in Of the People: Widening the Path blog. You can also visit the Of the People: Widening the Path website where the recording of the webinar will be posted here.