The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Office of Challenge Programs is accepting applications for the Climate Smart Humanities Organizations program. This program supports comprehensive assessment and strategic planning efforts by humanities organizations to mitigate physical and operational environmental impacts and adapt to a changing climate. Projects will result in climate action and adaptation planning documents or similar detailed assessments including prioritized, measurable actions and their expected outcomes. Proposals must address how strategic planning for climate change will increase the organization’s resilience and support its work in the humanities over the long term.
The Climate Smart Humanities Organizations program strengthens the institutional base of the humanities by funding organizational assessments and strategic planning that sustain and protect historical, cultural, educational, intellectual, and physical assets from the risks of climate change. As energy costs rise and natural disasters become more frequent, humanities organizations—such as museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, and colleges and universities—face an enormous task: to anticipate operational, physical, and financial impacts of current and future climate-related events on their institutions and the audiences they serve, while also reducing their own impacts on the environment.
To increase climate-related resilience, organizations should establish plans and prioritize actions that reduce their impact on the environment through mitigation and their vulnerability from extreme events through adaptation. Together, mitigation and adaptation can inform comprehensive resilience planning that addresses climate challenges, protects assets, reduces costs, and facilitates collaboration between executive leadership, staff, volunteers, consultants, board members, community leaders, and the audiences served by the organization. Strategic planning for climate change is an essential part of sustaining humanities organizations’ operations and activities—becoming climate smart.
The Climate Smart Humanities Organizations program offers federal matching funds to support comprehensive organizational assessments like those described above. The strategic planning project might consider challenges including—but not limited to—reduction of the institution’s carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions, climate-related threats to physical facilities, continuity of operations, staff and visitor safety, financial sustainability, and the role of humanities organizations as community leaders before, during, and after climatic events. Organizational assessments and strategic plans must convey direct, tangible benefits to the applicant institution.
Examples of climate smart projects can be found at https://www.neh.gov/sites/default/files/inline-files/Climate%20Smart%20Humanities%20Organizations%20NOFO%202023.pdf#page=4.
For more information about Assessment and Planning Activities, see https://www.neh.gov/sites/default/files/inline-files/Climate%20Smart%20Humanities%20Organizations%20NOFO%202023.pdf#page=5.
Estimated Total Program Funding: