Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants


Challenge Grants program awards help institutions build capacity to preserve and create access to humanities materials. The program funds two distinct types of projects, each with its own notice of funding opportunity:

  • Capital Projects supports the design, purchase, construction, restoration or renovation of facilities for humanities activities. This includes the purchase and installation of related moveable and permanently affixed equipment for exhibiting, maintaining, monitoring and protecting collections (whether on exhibit or in storage), and for critical building systems, such as electrical; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; security; life safety; lighting; utilities; telecommunications; and energy management.
  • Digital Infrastructure supports the maintenance, modernization, and sustainability of existing digital scholarly projects and platforms.

Local, state and tribal governments, state and local government agencies, institutions of higher education, nonprofits

Role In Creative Placemaking

These funds could be used to strengthen the infrastructure or build the capacity of an arts or cultural organization that serves as an anchor in creative placemaking in its community, such as a museum or library.


Requests for grants $500,000 or less must be matched at $3 in nonfederal gifts for every $1 in federal funds (3:1).

Requests for grants exceeding $500,000 and up to $750,000 must be matched at $4 in nonfederal gifts for every $1 in federal funds (4:1).

Public or 501(c)(3) nonprofit community colleges and postsecondary two-year institutions of higher education, historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions of higher education, and tribal colleges and universities may request a 1:1 match ratio.


Cabell County Public Library branch building – Huntington, WV

Free Library of Philadelphia Community Humanities Endowment – Philadelphia, PA

Role in Creative Placemaking

This section represents our attempt to capture how this specific funding opportunity might fit into a placemaking initiative.


Who can apply? Eligibility is often limited, but in partnership with other entities you may identify an access point, such as subgrant opportunities. This information can help you determine which potential partners in your community might be able to access the funds.

Previous Projects/Grantees

These examples show how these funds have been used for creative or placemaking endeavors in the past, the types of organizations that have successfully accessed the funds and/or the types of activities for which the funds can be used.

Max Award

Maximum funding amounts can vary from year to year. We have provided the most recent information available. Where available, we also include a median or a range in cases in which the maximum is not typical of an average award.

Match Requirement

Most federal programs require some form of cost sharing. This is expressed differently for different agencies and programs. Sometimes a direct 1:1 match is specified. Other times, the application will state the maximum percentage of a project cost that the funding award can cover. We include this information, where available, in order to give you a sense of what to expect when applying for a particular funding program.


Most federal funding programs will require financial and progress reports at least annually, along with a final report. We consider this to be a "moderate" compliance burden. Where a higher degree of data collection and reporting is indicated, we convey that information with a "substantial" rating.