Minnesota Humanities Center

Absent Narratives Implementation Fund

You can find everything you need to apply below, but if you would rather have a conversation, give us a call. We would love to talk to you. Contact Sung Ja Shin, Program Officer, at 651-772-4255 or sungja@mnhum.org.

Absent Narratives Implementation Fund: Program Description

The Absent Narratives Implementation Fund supports individuals or teams of educators who have participated in the Educator Institute or Increase Engagement Through Absent Narratives workshop to use the humanities to increase student engagement in their sphere of influence. This fund supports humanities-based activities that will connect students to absent narratives in or outside of the classroom.

Examples of eligible activities include:

  • Purchase of absent narratives resources and materials for the classroom
  • Provide honorariums for storytellers or interviews
  • Support of an absent narratives field trip
  • Teacher stipends for absent narratives curriculum writing and lesson planning
  • Family engagement activities

The fund will award up to $1,000 to selected projects. We recommend requesting between $500 and $1,000.

Shared Definitions

What do we mean by “humanities?”
The humanities help us express, examine, and learn what it means to be human. They include our cultures, languages, ethics, civics, stories, religions, laws, philosophies, histories, and more. Humanities can refer to these disciplines as well as the activities and actions—reflecting, making meaning, connecting, questioning, etc.—that help us learn about our humanity and the human experience.

What is the Absent Narratives Approach™?
The Minnesota Humanities Center collaborates with organizations and people through education, partnerships, and public programs to inspire community conversations, forge deep connections, and illuminate authentic, diverse voices across the state—especially those left out, marginalized, or otherwise absent from our education and public awareness.

At the core of our work is the Absent Narratives Approach™, a values-driven framework for community engagement and collaboration. The four core values ask us to put relationships with people at the center of community change-making and to center absented voices. The four values are:

  • Learn from and with multiple voices
  • Build and strengthen diverse relationships
  • Recognize the inequity or dangers of a single story
  • Amplify community solutions for change

Selection Process and Timeline

Round 1
Opens July 24, 2019
11:59 p.m. Sep. 9, 2019 – Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2019 – Recipients receive notification
Oct. 4, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020 – Fund activities
Feb. 28, 2020 – Final report due

Round 2
Opens Nov. 1, 2019
11:59 p.m. Dec. 13, 2019 – Application deadline
Jan. 24, 2020 – Recipients receive notification
Jan. 24, 2020-May 15, 2020 – Fund activities
June 1, 2020 – Final report due

Eligibility and State Funding Requirements

Eligible applicants must:

  • Work in a position that can impact student engagement
  • Be a past participant from the Educator Institute or Increase Engagement Through Absent Narratives workshop

Preference will be given to applicants outside of the seven-county metro area. Applicants that were accepted in Round One are not eligible for funding in Round Two.

Fund requirement: The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which underwrites this opportunity, requires that proposed and/or awarded funds support new work or new additions to existing work. These funds must supplement, not substitute, other funding sources.

The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund prohibits funds from being used to:

  • Start, match, add to, or complete any type of capital campaign
  • Support capital costs (such as improvements, construction, property, or equipment)
  • Pay for indirect costs or other institutional overhead charges that are not directly related and proportional to, and necessary for, the activities outlined in the program proposal
  • Cover expenditures incurred before the date we authorize you to begin work
  • Support benefits and fundraisers
  • Purchase promotional giveaway items like t-shirts, keychains, etc.
  • Fund out-of-state travel

If an individual or project does not meet all of the above requirements, we will not consider it.

How to Apply

Eligible individuals can submit proposals in any of the following formats: online form, postal mail, video, or phone message. You may also feel free to suggest an alternative method to MHC at least one week in advance of the deadline.

Complete proposals, regardless of format, need to include the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Email
  3. Phone Number
  4. School/Organization
  5. School District, if applicable, or City
  6. Attended the Educator Institute or Increase Engagement Through Absent Narratives
  7. Project Title
  8. Project Statement: How will you increase student engagement through absent narratives? Write 2-3 sentences describing what you will do and the desired impact on students.
  9. List project activities and timeline.
  10. How will your project use the humanities to build on your Educator Institute action plan and/or further initiatives in your school building or district?
  11. How does your project build on your Educator Institute action plan and/or further initiatives in your school building or district?
  12. What is the anticipated number of students that will be impacted by project activities? Please be specific in number and targeted student populations (grade/subject/race/etc.)
  13. Complete and upload budget template.

Ready to submit? Respond to the questions above by one of the following methods:

  • Online form: Submit through our online form
  • Phone: Leave us a message at 651-772-4276
  • Email: Send your proposal (preferred file type: Word or PDF) to submissions@mnhum.org
  • Video: Email us a link to your video (no longer than six minutes) to submissions@mnhum.org
  • Postal mail: Postmark by the deadline to:
    Minnesota Humanities Center
    c/o Absent Narratives Implementation Fund
    987 Ivy Avenue East
    Saint Paul, Minnesota 55106

If you have questions or would like to submit your proposal in a way not mentioned above, contact Jamie Kavanah, Grants Administrator: jamie@mnhum.org or 651-772-4251.

Assessment Criteria

Increases student engagement through absent narratives

  • Project increases student engagement through exposure to or creation of absent narratives.
  • Projects that focus on student-centered practices and procedures or community-identified needs are preferred.

Utilizes the humanities

  • Project utilizes the humanities as a delivery mechanism or method of engagement.

Maximizes funding for greatest impact

  • Project leverages school/district goals, existing projects, or builds on Action Plan developed in the Educator Institute or Increase Engagement Through Absent Narratives workshop to deepen building-wide student impact.
  • Projects that demonstrate impact beyond the funding period or impact multiple classrooms are preferred.

In addition to the criteria above, the selection team may also consider the timeline of projects, types of projects, participation in the Educator Institute or Increase Engagement Through Absent Narratives workshop, geographic location, and grade levels as they evaluate the overall awardee cohort.

Contact Us

Sung Ja Shing