312 Sutter St., Suite 601
San Francisco, CA 94108
1000 N. Alameda St., Suite 240
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Type of foundation: Independent
Types of grants: Project
Description: Formerly known as the California Council for the Humanities, Cal Humanities is an independent, non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It makes grants and operates signature humanities programs and projects. Granting opportunities include:
Community Stories (previously the California Story Fund): This competitive grant program supports story-based public humanities projects that collect, preserve, interpret and share the stories of California communities. Community Stories funds projects that focus on the collection and sharing of real stories of California’s communities (past or present). Projects must involve at least one humanities expert as an advisor, use the methods of analysis that inform the humanities as well as community-based research, and produce work that is publicly accessible. All proposals must include plans for some form of public programming activity—whether in-person, virtual, or both—and result in a work product (e.g., a text, an audio recording, a video recording, digital photography, a website, etc.) that can be shared through the internet with wider audiences. Grant awards range up to $10,000 and a cash or in-kind match is required.
Periodically, Cal Humanities undertakes statewide thematic initiatives in order to drive reflection and discussion on issues affecting all Californians. Cal Humanities will launch a new, multi-year initiative in 2014 (the 2013 grant request cycle). The theme will be: Who Cares? Specifically, the initiative will explore how individuals and society care for those who need a hand—whether that person is a friend or relative, someone in the neighborhood, or someone unknown. Questions of interest include: What difference does our culture, faith, gender, income, or personal experience make to how we respond? How has society in the US dealt with these issues throughout history? How do other societies tackle these questions?
Over time, the initiative will focus on several different groups/situations (e.g., returning veterans, aging parents, people who don’t have a home, refugees). The 2014 focus will be veterans, those who support them, and what individuals/communities/society consider to be their responsibilities towards veterans. Community Stories applicants are invited, but not required, to develop story-based projects that respond to this theme that will result in public programming activities in 2014. Project ideas could include, but are not limited to: ones that examine, through research and oral histories, the reintegration challenges that veterans face and how we respond to them; projects that document the experiences of caregivers of veterans, whether family, friends, faith communities or professionals; or projects that illuminate the complex and often contradictory relationships we have to war and with the people who fight them.
The California Documentary Project (CDP): This competitive grant program supports documentary film, radio and new media productions that enhance understanding of California and its cultures, peoples and histories. Projects must use the humanities to provide context, depth and perspective to their subject matter and be suitable for California and national audiences through broadcast and/or distribution. CDP grants support projects at the research and development, production and public engagement stages.
- Production grants are designed to strengthen the humanities content and approach of documentary media productions and help propel projects toward completion. Projects must be in the production stage, have a work-in-progress sample and actively involve at least two humanities advisors in the production process. Grant awards range up to $50,000 (film and radio) and $20,000 (new media). Projects must be suitable for national broadcast and/or distribution or produce a publicly accessible interactive project.
- Research and Development grants encourage the use of humanities-based approaches and methods to enrich documentary media productions in their earliest stages. Projects must actively involve at least three humanities advisors throughout the R&D phase. Grant awards range up to $10,000.
- Public Engagement grants support dissemination and public engagement activities associated with Cal Humanities-supported media projects. Grant awards range up to $10,000.
All of the following are California Documentary Project grants:
- $50,000 in a CDP grant to project director Dyanna Taylor for Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning, a 90-minute documentary film that will air on PBS’ American Masters in 2013 (2012).
- $40,000 in a CDP grant to producers Lev Anderson and Christopher Metzler for Everyday Sunshine, a film that follows the Black punk/funk band Fishbone from their roots in South Central LA to almost "making it" (2010).
- $35,000 in a CDP grant to project director Lisa Morehouse for Another California: Loggers, Hippies and Immigrants in the State's Small Towns. This audio documentary and multi-media project features voices and stories from California’s small towns as they grapple with change. Through short feature stories airing on KQED’s "California Report," an hour-long documentary and an interactive website, this project will explore issues that are often overshadowed by those of California's urban and political centers (2012).
- $20,000 to KCET for Departures: Leimert Park/Little Tokyo. This CDP grant supported two new installments in KCET's online documentary series on the neighborhoods of Southern California (2011).
- $20,000 in a CDP grant to producer Peter Nicks for The Waiting Room, a multi-faceted social media/documentary hybrid that tells the story of Oakland’s Highland Hospital and the community that it serves (2010).
All of the following are Community Stories grants:
- $10,000 to Story Bridges for African American Youth in Oakland Oral History Project. This oral history and photography-based project will engage a group of 12 young men in a hands-on humanities experience. Working with a curator, the boys will learn interviewing, archiving and writing skills. They will develop a book and multimedia exhibit documenting their research. A curriculum guide will be produced to enable other youth service providers to replicate the project (2012).
- $10,000 to Sacramento Public Library for We Are What We Eat. Exploring Sacramento’s “foodscape” through the stories of people who grow, distribute, sell, prepare and serve the city’s food, this project, guided by culinary historians and culture bearers, will document the region’s gastronomic heritage and the diverse cultural strands that have contributed to it. In addition to producing a radio series, which will be webstreamed and broadcast on Capitol Public Radio, the project will include a wide variety of engaging community- and library-based events and activities, as well as a culminating public forum. A project website will also house recorded interviews, maps, archival photos and documents, scholarly essays, and a food chronology (2012).
- $10,000 to the Ferndale Museum for Fernbridge: The Span of the Century. Documenting a story of civic engagement and citizen activism aimed at preservation of a cherished local landmark, this film will document the efforts of community members from many backgrounds to save a historic bridge in Northern California from demolition and, in so doing, build bridges across generational and cultural divisions in the community. The feature-length film will be used in screening and discussion events at the museum as well as in schools and cultural organizations throughout the county, and will be disseminated on the web and through on local cable and educational television channels (2012).
- $10,000 to San Jose State University Research Foundation for Iranian Americans in Silicon Valley: Evolution of a Community. This oral history-based project will document and share stories from three generations of Iranian Americans, examining how they have adapted to life in America and employed its democratic institutions and forms to express themselves. Interviews will be recorded, archived, and shared through a website and radio pieces; a public forum will provide an additional occasion for learning, sharing, and dialogue (2012).
- $10,000 to Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park for Rhythm of the Refugee. Oakland’s Cambodian refugee community discovers the power of traditional music and cultural practices in the process of healing after the Cambodian Genocide in this three-part radio documentary. Recorded segments will premiere at a public event and discussion at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, along with being aired on a number of public radio stations throughout the Bay Area (2011).
- $10,000 to Ubuntu Green, Sacramento for We Are Not Your Dumping Ground: Youth Stories of Environmental Justice from the Streets of South Sacramento. In partnership with local community organizations, Sacramento Unified School District, and UC Davis Center for Regional Change, the sponsoring organization will assemble a team of young people from South Sacramento to document community efforts to achieve environmental justice. Using humanities research methods and digital media, guided by academic and community scholars, youth will record stories, develop online and physical exhibits and organize public programs, including intergenerational story-sharing events, to preserve and share a history of community engagement and democratic participation (2011).
- $10,000 to International Rescue Committee/San Francisco for Calling This Home: A People’s History of Refugee Settlement to the Bay Area. This multi-media oral history project will tell the stories of refugees who have fled international conflict and human rights abuses to rebuild their lives in the Bay Area, while also exploring the unique personal, social and political challenges faced in the process. Corresponding curriculum, along with an interactive website, will be available for use by educational institutions, community organizations, and the general public (2011).
- $10,000 to North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center, Nevada City for A Landscape Full of Stories. Untold stories of the logging, ranching and mining history, along with those of current residents of the San Juan Ridge community, will be documented and shared in this multi-media project and public exhibit (2011).
- $10,000 to Citizen Film, Inc., for The Lunch Love Community Documentary Project. Seeking a healthier eating environment for their children and other Berkeley public school students, a passionate group of Berkeley residents struggled to create the Berkeley Food Policy and Lunch Initiative over a ten-year period. This ten-minute web series will tell the story of these committed residents and explore the role of civic engagement on food advocacy. The series will screen throughout the Northern California region, in conjunction with panels and community discussions (2011).
A full list of Community Stories grants is available here.
A full list of California Documentary Project grants is available here.
Fit for public broadcasting: Cal Humanities has strong interest in media (film, radio and new media) projects that tell the stories of California and its communities. It is a good fit for independent producers, stations and youth media organizations.
- Community Stories Grant: Applicants must have California tax-exempt organizational status or partner with a California tax-exempt organization that will serve as a fiscal sponsor. California local/state public agencies are also eligible. Cal Humanities will generally not fund Community Stories projects with a total budget greater than $50,000.
- California Documentary Project: Applicants must have tax-exempt organizational status or partner with a tax-exempt organization that will serve as fiscal sponsor.
- Community Stories Grant: The application deadline is February 15, 2013. The earliest project start date will be June 2013.
- California Documentary Project Grant: deadlines for 2013 to be announced (2012 deadline was October 1).
How to apply:
- Community Stories: The application and detailed guidelines can be downloaded from this page. Applications must be submitted electronically, with the exception of a hard copy work sample, which can be submitted by mail. Sample Community Stories proposals can be downloaded from this page. A webinar of an informational session for interested applicants can be accessed here. A webinar about evaluation for Community Stories projects can be accessed here.
- Documentary Project: Detailed guidelines can be downloaded from this page.
- Community Stories Grants range up to $10,000, which must be matched by at least an equivalent contribution of non-federal funds, in-kind services and materials, or any combination thereof.
- California Documentary Program grants range up to $50,000. Grants must be matched at least 1:1 by cash or in-kind contributions from non-federal sources.
Assets: $1,049,401 (2010).