Illinois Humanities Grantee Capacity and Community Building Resources
Offering learning opportunities and providing a means for our grantee partners to build community throughout Illinois.
How the Program Works
As part of our COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Recovery Grants Program, through the summer of 2022, Illinois Humanities offered learning and capacity building opportunities for our grantee-partners across the state. These opportunities provided resources that help address the needs of our grantee-partners and provide opportunities for grantee-partners to connect and build community together, ultimately strengthening the public humanities sector in Illinois.
Watch workshops on our YouTube Channel now!
Virtual Workshop Series
Download the informational flyer.
Four free virtual workshops based on topics identified by the 2022 Emergency Relief and Recovery grantee-partners:
- Strengthening Your Fundraising Capacity (February 2022)
- Funders Panel (April 2022)
- Proposal Writing (June 2022)
- How to Grow & Manage Your Volunteers Program (August 2022)
Each workshop will last 2 hours, and participants will be paid $100/workshop* for their participation. The workshops are capped at 60 participants per session, and in order to help ensure geographic diversity 30 spots will be reserved for grantee-partners located outside of Cook County and 30 spots will be reserved for grantee-partners located in Cook County. We can only accommodate one individual per organization. The workshops will be recorded and available to view on our website following the event.
We will also be offering our regularly scheduled facilitation trainings led by our partners at the Covey Group. These trainings focus on how to facilitate text-based, critically reflective discussions on difficult topics. Trainings will be virtual and offered in May, August, and November of 2022. Capacity is limited to 30 participants and, since this is a longstanding program of Illinois Humanities, we do not offer stipends for participation in facilitation trainings. Once you complete the facilitation training, you will be invited to quarterly facilitation clinics to continue fine-tuning your facilitation skills and be part of an active community of practice.
*Your stipend can either be paid to you individually or to your organization. During the workshop registration process, if you choose to receive the payment yourself, Zerline Thompson, programs and grants coordinator, will follow up with you to complete W9 and ACH/Direct Deposit forms via AdobeSign. Your forms must be received by the Friday before the workshop. If your stipend is going to your organization, no further action is needed after you register, since we have payment information on file for each of our grantee-organizations (unless your payment information has changed since receiving a grant from us). Stipend payments will be made following the workshops; please allow 4-6 weeks to receive your stipend.
Illinois Humanities Grantee Listserv
We will be launching a Listserv for our grantee-partners for sharing information about upcoming grants opportunities, sharing other resources we all become aware of, and raising questions with one another about our collective successes and challenges as they arise. (This will be an automatic opt-in; in other words, people can choose to drop out if they prefer.)
Register for the Workshops
Download the informational flyer.
How to Grow and Manage Your Volunteers Program
Wednesday, August 17th, from 1-3PM CDT
Watch the Recording
This 2-hour, interactive program will focus on how smaller cultural organizations can harness the efforts of volunteers to help grow and manage programs. How can volunteers help to fundraise, say, or contribute to programs and events? What incentives help to attract volunteers and keep them coming back? What agreements should be in place so there is rigor to a volunteers program? These questions and more will be addressed by Alyson Thompson, library director, Marshall Public Library; Mireya Fouche, founder, One Heart One Soul; Sarah Lynn Ross, co-founder, Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP); and Lorenzo D. Savage Sr., owner and publisher of “I Am ESTL” and board president of the Katherine Dunham Center for Arts and Humanities.
Strengthening Your Fundraising Capacity
Wednesday, February 9th, 2022, from 1-3PM CDT
Watch the Recording
This 2-hour session will focus on understanding how to position and strengthen your fundraising capacity as a nonprofit organization. It will be led by Juana Guzman, a national arts strategist, who is a board member at Illinois Humanities, consultant for Bloomberg Philanthropies, and former Vice-President at the National Museum of Mexican Art; and Tracy Taft, former Executive Director at the International Sonoran Desert Alliance, who spearheaded the Curley School Artisan Housing Community Development and Urban-Rural Planning. As part of their presentation, Juana and Tracy will share examples of the challenges, successes, and creative initiatives developed by urban and rural nonprofit arts organizations across the country, provide insights and strategies to increase fundraising opportunities, and conduct a live Q&A session with participants.
Illinois Statewide Funders Panel
Wednesday, April 6th, 2022, from 1-3PM CDT
Watch the Recording
This 2-hour session will focus on hearing the guidelines, deadlines and other practical information from Illinois statewide funders. What are their funding priorities? What do they look for in proposals? Also, what questions are driving their work from an inquiry standpoint? Besides providing financial support, what sorts of other activities and resources do their organizations provide? And how are they shifting based on what they hear from nonprofits across the state, particularly in times of duress? We will hear from Angela Rudolph, director of equity at the Grand Victoria Foundation; Jerome Grand, program director at the Illinois Arts Council Agency; Suzanne Germann, director of reinvestment at Landmarks Illinois; and Mark Hallett, director, grants programs, at Illinois Humanities.
Keys to Strong Proposal Writing
Wednesday, June 8th from 1-3PM CDT
Watch the Recording
This 2-hour session will focus on practical advice from a veteran fundraiser and fundraising coach. Laura Jansen is currently a program officer at the Pierce Family Foundation as well as a grantmaking advisor to the Cuore e Mani Foundation. She has 25+ years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including 19 years as a grant writer. Starting with an overview of broader fundraising resources, Laura will then turn to grant proposal writing. This webinar will focus on the more difficult or tricky aspects in crafting a strong proposal, such as:
- How to answer questions about finances when your finances don’t look so good
- Construct an accurate, realistic program budget.
- Write about program evaluation, when you’re not an evaluation specialist
- Anticipating funder’s questions
- How to communicate bad news
- Making a case for capacity building
- Setting the right tone in your proposals
- Talking about sustainability
- Common mistakes
This webinar is full of real-life examples and advice from program officers. Bring your own examples of tricky questions or other proposal stumbling blocks.
Facilitation Training: date TBD
Facilitation Clinic: date TBD
Facilitation trainings at IH are focused on the practice of reflective dialogue. The purpose of reflective dialogue is three-fold: to develop insight and understanding of a particular topic, to develop relationships among participants by listening and hearing each other’s differing perspectives, and to deepen a sense of commitment and agency to the work we are each doing in the world. Reflective dialogue Is especially useful when discussing topics that can often divide us—from systemic racism to police-community relations to social change. It creates space to help people connect and explore the challenging questions that underlie our values and actions.
Some aspects of each facilitation training include:
- Suggestions for planning and leading your own discussions;
- A chance to experience a variety of objects, so you can get a sense of how to use different resources for discussion;
- Opportunities to practice in real-time; and
- Troubleshooting tips.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How were topics chosen?
Illinois Humanities conducted a survey of COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Recovery grantee-partners in September, 2021, to explore their interest in capacity building themes and delivery methods. More than two-thirds (71%) of the 254 relief grant partners filled out the survey. These topics emerged as top areas of interest, and the delivery platform of zoom panel with time for Q&A as the leading format. Participants who attend 4 Capacity Building Sessions and 1 Facilitation Training in 2022 will receive a digital certificate to celebrate their efforts.
Who is eligible to participate?
These sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis to Illinois Humanities grantee-partners through COVID-19 (ARP and CARES) Emergency Relief and Recovery Grantees. If space permits, we will also open these sessions to Community Grants, Activate History, Envisioning Justice, and applicants with strong proposals who were not funded through the above programs. There is a cap of 1 participant per session from each organization, though others can view the recordings of sessions, which will be made available afterwards.
Why does Illinois Humanities offer facilitation training?
Illinois Humanities believes that well-moderated dialogue is a compelling and necessary skill in a democracy, and that spreading this skillset helps strengthen the civic sector as well. IH has offered facilitation training to grantees and other partners since 2017, and has found that this is a very popular feature of our partnerships. Note that the facilitation trainings will be capped at 35 people per session, and will not include stipends for participants.
Who is funding this series?
Illinois Humanities has received funding through an anonymous donor that will subsidize this series of workshops through August, 2022. This series will continue at that time with support from funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ American Rescue Plan funding and the State of Illinois’s American Rescue Plan funding. The Capacity Building Workshops are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and have been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.
How does the stipend work?
Your stipend can either be paid to you individually or to your organization. During the workshop registration process, if you choose to receive the payment yourself, Zerline Thompson, programs and grants coordinator, will follow up with you to complete W9 and ACH/Direct Deposit forms via AdobeSign. Your forms must be received by the Friday before the workshop. If your stipend is going to your organization, no further action is needed after you register, since we have payment information on file for each of our grantee-organizations (unless your payment information has changed since receiving a grant from us). Stipend payments will be made following the workshops; please allow 4-6 weeks to receive your stipend.