Home » Arts and Culture » Of the People: Widening the Path – Community Collections Grants to Organizations 2023

Of the People: Widening the Path – Community Collections Grants to Organizations 2023


The Library of Congress is announcing a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to make cooperative agreement awards in support of contemporary ethnographic field research focusing on the cultures and traditions of diverse communities across the United States.

Donor Name: Library of Congress

State: All States

County: All Counties

Territory: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

Type of Grant: Grant

Deadline: 08/18/2023

Size of the Grant: up to $50,000

Grant Duration: 12 months



The Library will support a multiyear initiative that entails public participation in the creation of archival collections. Specifically, the Library of Congress seeks to make awards to support contemporary cultural documentation focusing on the culture and traditions of diverse, often underrepresented communities in the United States today. These projects will result in archival collections preserved at the American Folklife Center and made accessible through the Library of Congress’ web site. The major goals of this program are to enable communities to document their cultural traditions, practices and experiences from their own perspectives, while enhancing the Library’s holdings with materials featuring creativity and knowledge found at the local level. As such, successful proposals will come from applicants within or closely affiliated with the community they propose to document.

Funding through these awards can be used to cover travel, equipment rental or purchase, and other expenses associated with cultural documentation fieldwork. American Folklife Center folklorists and archivists can assist successful applicants in providing support for specific aspects of cultural documentation activities, such as sharing expertise or training in fieldwork methods, archival practices and associated digital technologies. Library staff will be available to provide technical advice, and work with successful applicants to facilitate a cohort for sharing knowledge and lessons learned. In consultation with American Folklife Center staff during the award process, awardees have the option to develop public programs connected to their projects in their home communities, as potentially supported by additional funds. The American Folklife Center is seeking to build long-term relationships with awardees and to give awardees the opportunity to present their work in a forum at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The following list is meant to inspire, but not limit, possibilities with regards to cultural documentation projects applicants might propose. Projects should include a combination of interviews, still photography, digital video, field notes or other forms of documentation:

  • Exploration of a community festival or other culturally-meaningful celebration through interviews with organizers and participants, audio-visual documentation of activities affiliated with the event (including planning, set up and post-event activity) and any ephemera or material culture;
  • Seasonal or periodic documentation of institutions or gathering places, such as farmers markets, informal social hang-outs, craft fairs or other periodic spaces that might serve as anchors or markers of community;
  • Community-centric reflection on emergent cultural traditions or practices that have developed as responses to shared collective experience of widespread recent phenomena such as the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice movements or economic change;
  • Broad examination of community-specific cultural practices that can serve as markers of various aspects of identity, such as practices around death or bereavement, life milestones or transition into different modes or phases of living;  transmission of language or other intangible aspects of heritage; or informally learned aspects of communication that help cohere a social group;
  • Community history of a neighborhood or other type of geographically-delimited collective space that tracks change and continuity from the perspective of current residents, both long-term and newly arrived, via multi-format documentation; and
  • Documentation focused on temporality, such as tracing traditions and their changes over time, which can include multi-sited projects, but do not need to be delimited geographically.

Funding Information

  • The Library of Congress intends to award up to 10 awards pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity. The Library’s intention is to make awards of up to $50,000. The Library may choose to make no awards or more than ten awards.
  • Period of Performance: 12 months

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants may be charitable or similar organizations, for federal tax-exempt purposes subject to 26 U.S.C 501c(3) or similar authority, including institutions of higher education, colleges and universities, as well as professional associations and community groups. For-profit applicants are not eligible. Organizations must be U.S.-based. Eligibility extends to all 50 U.S. states, protectorates, territories, and the District of Columbia. Only one entity may receive the funding.

For more information, visit Grants.gov.

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