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Grants to USA Nonprofits and Agencies for
Museum Staff Development

Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Museums for America (MFA)

Deadline Date:

11/15/21 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofit organizations and agencies to improve museum services. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take up to several weeks to complete. Funding is intended to support training and professional development to generate systemic change within museums of all types and sizes.

Museums Empowered has four project categories:

  • Digital Technology: Provide museum staff with the skills to integrate digital technology into museum operations.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Support museum staff in providing inclusive services to people of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds and to individuals with disabilities.
  • Evaluation: Strengthen the ability of museum staff to use evaluation as a tool to shape museum programs and improve outcomes.
  • Organizational Management: Strengthen and support museum staff as the essential part of a resilient organizational culture.

For allowable costs, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180756

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Expected Number of Awards: 21

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Award Ceiling: $250,000
- Award Floor: $5,000

Term of Contract:

Anticipated start dates for new awards: Projects must begin on September 1, 2022.
Anticipated period of performance: September 1, 2022 – August 31, 2025. Project activities may be carried out for one to three years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants
To be eligible for an award under this Museums Empowered Notice of Funding Opportunity, your organization must meet all three of the following criteria:
1. Must be either a unit of State, local, or tribal government or be a private, nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code;
2. Must be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and
3. Must qualify as one of the following:
(a) A museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational, cultural heritage, or aesthetic purposes; owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities that it owns or operates.
(b) An organization or association that engages in activities designed to advance the wellbeing of museums and the museum profession.

Native American tribal organizations may apply if they otherwise meet the above eligibility requirements.

Eligibility of Museums Located within a Parent Organization
A museum located within a parent organization that is a State, local, or tribal government or multipurpose nonprofit entity, such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or cultural center, may apply on its own behalf if the museum:
- Is able to independently fulfill all the eligibility requirements listed in the above three criteria;
- Functions as a discrete unit within the parent organization;
- Has its own fully segregated and itemized operating budget; and
- Has the authority to make the application on its own.

When any of the last three conditions cannot be met, a museum may only apply through its parent organization.

Eligibility of Nonprofit Organization Affiliated with a Museum
IMLS may determine that a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with a museum is eligible for this program where the organization can demonstrate that it has the ability to administer the project and can ensure compliance with the terms of this Notice of Funding Opportunity and the applicable law, including the IMLS Assurances and Certifications. The applicant organization must submit an agreement from the museum that details the activities that the applicant and museum will perform and binds the museum to the statements and assurances made in the grant application.

Applications involving partnerships or collaborations are welcome. When two or more eligible institutions or organizations work together on a project, one of them must meet all eligibility requirements, serve as the lead applicant, and administer the award on behalf of the other(s). If IMLS funds the project, the lead applicant will be programmatically, fiscally, and legally responsible for the award.

The following list includes some examples of unallowable costs, both for IMLS funds and for cost share under this announcement:
- General fundraising costs, such as development office staff or other staff time devoted to general fundraising
- Contributions to endowments
- General operating support
- Acquisition of collections (see 2 C.F.R. § 3187.15(b))
- General advertising or public relations costs designed solely for promotional activities other than those related to the specific project
- Construction or renovation of facilities (generally, any activity involving the construction trades is not an allowable cost)
- Social activities, ceremonies, receptions, or entertainment
- Research projects (see 2 C.F.R. § 200.1)
If you have questions about whether specific activities are allowable, contact IMLS staff for guidance.

Pre-Application Information:

Application Deadline: Submit through by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on November 15, 2021.
Anticipated Date of Notification of Award Decisions: August 2022 (subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion)

Cost Share Requirement: You must provide funds from non-federal sources in an amount that is equal to or greater than the amount of your IMLS request.

Before submitting an application, an applicant organization must have a current and active Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S®) Number; a current and active System for Award Management (SAM) registration; and an active registration with an approved Authorized Organization Representative (AOR). Check materials and registrations well in advance of the application deadline to ensure that they are accurate, current, and active.

View this opportunity on

Click here to access the webinar recording or to read the transcript:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Program Contacts:
Mark Isaksen
Supervisory Grants Management Specialist

Jeannette Thomas
Museum Program Specialist

To request an audio recording of this announcement, call 202-653-4744. To request a paper copy of this announcement, call 202-653-4744 or email

Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing (TTY Users) can contact IMLS at 202-207-7858 via 711 for TTY-Based Telecommunications Relay Service.

Visit the Federal Service Desk at or call 1-866-606-8220 for questions about registering or renewing your registration with or Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
Visit Support at, email, or call Applicant Support at 1-800- 518-4726 for assistance with software issues, registration issues, and technical problems. Applicant Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for federal holidays.
Be sure to obtain a case number when calling the Federal Service Desk or for support.

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

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