Opportunity Grants

Opportunity Grants provide up to $2,500.00 to small nonprofits for public humanities projects – those that engage the audience’s skills of inquiry, analysis, and reflection, and provide the historical and social contexts with which to do so.

Humanities Tennessee believes small projects can have a big impact. They can educate your audience, sharpening skills vital to thriving 21st century communities. They can empower your audience to share their knowledge, ideas and stories, leading toward equitable, civil public life in your town. Small projects can contribute to change. How can you use an Opportunity Grant to reflect this potential? We would like to help!


  • Applicants must be a Tennessee non-profit with an annual budget of $150,000 or less.(Minor budgetary exceptions may apply.)
  • Grants must involve a scholar in a humanities-based project for a public audience.
  • Grants must support one-time or pilot projects.

Using the Opportunity Grant:

Please submit a Request for Application form at the bottom of this page.  If your organization and project are eligible, our staff will send a link to the online application.

There is no deadline; requests are considered on a first come, first served basis, and for up to a maximum of $2,500 each.

What is NOT ELIGIBLE for Humanities Tennessee’s funding:

  • Advocacy or social action
  • Direct services (e.g., social, legal, health services, training or counseling)
  • Projects for fundraising purposes
  • Building, construction, restoration, preservation, or archival projects
  • The purchase of equipment not vital to the project and solely in support of the project’s public humanities activities
  • Library or museum acquisitions
  • Individuals, fellowships, scholarships
  • Research or conferences for scholarly or professional audiences
  • Academic courses for credit
  • Art activities or performances without examination of their social, historical or aesthetic context
  • Food and beverage costs for audiences or alcoholic beverages
  • Expenses incurred or paid before an application is approved by Humanities Tennessee
  • Ongoing, routine activities, including operational support, or annual events


Funding Statement

Humanities Tennessee’s Board of Directors holds the expectation that the foundational approach to the project topics, themes and interpretation for all funded projects are guided by the following values:

  • Accountability
  • Agency
  • Complexity
  • Empathy
  • Inclusivity
  • Specificity

Contact Us

To learn more about the Opportunity Grants or meet with our staff, please contact Melissa Davis, Director, Grants & Public Programs: melissa@humtn.org or 615-770-0006, ext. 8016.

Applying for a Grant

To determine eligibility of your project and request a link to the application, please complete and submit the form below.

OPP Grant Request for Application

Recent Grant Examples

  • Wilson Co. Black History Committee, Lebanon, $2,500: Jubilee! From Slavery to Freedom, multimedia event exploring the stories of two local, original Fisk Jubilee singers.
  • Tom & O.E. Stigall Museum, Humboldt, $2,500: Black Sitcoms: A Laughing Matter, traveling exhibition exploring the different forms of Blackness in television comedy, 1950s-1980s.
  • Netherland Inn/Exchange Place, Kingsport, $1,400: Social Judgement: Physiognomy & Silhouettes, Junior Apprentice workshop educating about ancient forms of prejudice using 18th-19th c. silhouette arts, and its connection to the modern day.
  • Do Re Mi Gospel Music Academy, Inc., Hartsville, $2,500: Do Re Mi Shape Note Museum, development of a strategic/interpretive plan for the creation of the museum.
  • Lewis Co. Historical Society, Hohenwald, $2,500: Reimagining America: The Maps of Lewis & Clark, traveling exhibition with weekly public programming exploring the impact of the Lewis & Clark expedition on cartography.
  • Wilson Co. Civic League, Lebanon, $2,500: Wheeler School Kiosk, creation of a digital, interactive kiosk exploring the history of African American education in the region for use in the historic Wheeler schoolhouse on the state fairgrounds.
  • Arts Inside, Columbia, $2,414: Narrative Portrait Project, traveling exhibition of self-portraits by incarcerated individuals to explore a more vibrant and complex of their personhood.
  • Robertson Co. History Museum, Springfield, $2,500: Wessyngton Exhibit Expansion, update of a current, permanent exhibit of Wessyngton Plantation to include more interpretation of formerly enslaved Tennesseans and their descendant community.
  • Tipton-Haynes Historic Site, Johnson City, $1,000: Tipton-Haynes Traveling Exhibition will explore highlights of the historic site’s history and visit museums in Blountville, Jonesborough, and Greenville.