IMLS American Rescue Plan

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO). Note the cost-share requirements under the Award Information section below.

Program Summary

The program supports museum and library services in addressing community needs created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and in assisting with recovery. Projects may continue, enhance, or expand existing programs and services, or they may launch new ones to address emergent needs and unexpected hardships. As a result, the IMLS American Rescue Plan grant program has significant potential to generate positive societal impact through project activities undertaken as part of the grant-funded work or through activities that may be complementary to the project. IMLS does not prescribe the type, focus, reach, or scale of societal impact required for each project funded through this program, but the questions to be addressed in the application Narrative and the review criteria reflect the agency’s commitment to ensuring that the federal investment made through grants generates tangible benefits to society. Applicants should keep this in mind when they conceptualize their projects, identify the target group(s) they propose to reach, prepare their work plans, and formulate their intended results.

Reflecting IMLS’s agency-level goals, the IMLS American Rescue Plan grant program has two program goals and three objectives associated with each goal. Each applicant should align their proposed project with one of these two goals and one or more of the associated objectives. Goal and objective choices should be identified clearly in the Narrative (see Section D2c).

  • Goal 1: Strengthen the institutional capacity of museums, libraries, and related organizations to respond to community needs quickly, effectively, efficiently, and responsibly.
    • Objective 1.1: Advance digital inclusion through approaches that may include, but are not limited to, improving digital platforms, online services, connectivity (e.g., hotspots), and creating digital literacy programs, as well as creating new processes and procedures needed to sustain a robust online environment.
    • Objective 1.2: Support hiring new staff and training or retraining existing staff to ensure a workforce that has the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities.
    • Objective 1.3: Build community-focused partnerships, networks, and alliances with organizations such as other nonprofits, school systems, service organizations, community groups, government agencies, and institutions of higher education with an emphasis on complementing, rather than duplicating, resources and services.
  • Goal 2: Increase the ability of museums, libraries, and related organizations to deliver programs and services that contribute to the well-being of families, groups, and individuals of all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
    • Objective 2.1: Support the creation and delivery of online and in-person educational, interpretive, and experiential programs and exhibitions for learners of all ages.
    • Objective 2.2: Provide trusted spaces for community engagement and dialogue to foster recovery and rebuilding.
    • Objective 2.3: Support efforts to collect, preserve, manage, and interpret documentary sources and tangible objects representing all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic experience.

Deadlines

CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST June 9, 2021

Sponsor Application Deadline: June 28, 2021

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Proposal Narrative (3 pages maximum with 0.5-inch margins and a font size of at least 11 points) addressing the following:
    • Which program goal and associated objective(s) of the IMLS American Rescue Plan grant program will your project address (see Section A2)?
    • What need, problem, or challenge will your project address, and how did you identify it? Describe how you have used demographic information, economic conditions, and other relevant data from reliable sources to define the need, problem, or challenge and develop the scope for the project.
    • Who will be served by your project in the short- and/or long-term?
    • What specific activities will you carry out?
    • Who will plan, implement, and manage your project?
    • How will you track your progress toward achieving your intended results?
    • What are your project’s intended results?
    • How will your project help with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required. The sources for cost-share funding must be identified in the budget.

To access the online application, visit: https://cuboulderovcr.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/6620/home

Eligibility

To be eligible as a Museum Entity, 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 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.
      1. What types of institutions are included in the term “museum”? If they otherwise meet these requirements, “museums” include, but are not limited to, aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children’s/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks.
      2. What does it mean to be “using a professional staff”? An institution uses a professional staff if it employs at least one staff member, or the full-time equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, primarily engaged in the acquisition, care, or exhibition to the public of objects owned or used by the institution.
      3. What does it mean to “exhibit the objects to the general public”? An institution exhibits objects to the general public if such exhibition is a primary purpose of the institution. An institution that exhibits objects to the general public for at least 120 days a year is deemed to exhibit objects to the general public on a regular basis. An institution that does not have the exhibition of objects as a primary purpose and/or does not exhibit objects to the public for at least 120 days a year may be determined to be eligible as a museum under certain circumstances. For more information, see 2 C.F.R. § 3187.3.
    • An organization or association that engages in activities designed to advance the well- being of museums and the museum profession;
    • An institution of higher education, including public and nonprofit universities; or
    • A public or private nonprofit agency that is responsible for the operation of a museum that meets the eligibility criteria in 1, 2, and 3(a) above may apply on behalf of the museum.

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.

To be eligible as a Library Entity, your organization must:

  1. be either a unit of State or local government or be a private, nonprofit organization that has nonprofit status under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, and
  2. 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.

In addition, you must qualify as one of the following six types of organizations:

  1. A library or a parent organization, such as a school district, a municipality, a State agency, or an academic institution, that is responsible for the administration of a library. Eligible libraries include:
    • Public libraries
    • Public elementary and secondary school libraries
    • College (including community college) and university libraries
    • Research libraries and archives that are not an integral part of an institution of higher education and that make publicly available library services and materials that are suitable for scholarly research and not otherwise available. Research libraries must be under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian and must be either generally recognized as possessing unique, scholarly research materials and services that are made available to the public, or able to demonstrate that such is the case when submitting an application to IMLS.
    • Private or other special library, but only if the State in which such private or special library is located determines that the library should be considered a library for purposes of Library Services and Technology (see 20 U.S.C. § 9121-9165);
  2. An academic or administrative unit, such as a graduate school of library and information science that is part of an institution of higher education through which it would make application;
  3. A digital library, if it makes library materials publicly available and provides library services, including selection, organization, description, reference, and preservation, under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian;
  4. A library agency that is an official agency of a State or other unit of government and is charged by the law governing it with the extension and development of public library services within its jurisdiction
  5. A library consortium that is a local, statewide, regional, interstate, or international cooperative association of library entities that provides for the systematic and effective coordination of the resources of eligible libraries, as defined above, and information centers that work to improve the services delivered to the clientele of these libraries; or
  6. A library association that exists on a permanent basis; serves libraries or library professionals on a national, regional, State, or local level; and engages in activities designed to advance the well-being of libraries and the library profession.

Limited Submission Guidelines

An eligible legal applicant may submit only one application under this announcement.

Award Information

Award Amount: $10,000 - $50,000

Anticipated Number of Awards: 375

Period of performance: November 1, 2021- October 31, 2022. Project activities may be carried out for one year.

There is a cost-share requirement to match or exceed the amount of the grant request (1:1). Cost-share commitments must be included in the budget submitted for the internal competition. Here is guidance on the cost-share process.

Review Criteria

Project Justification

  • Has the applicant selected an appropriate program goal and one or more associated objectives of the IMLS American Rescue Plan grant program described in Section A2?
  • How well is the identified need, problem, or challenge described and fittingly supported by relevant data? Do the applicant’s choices and use of specific data to define the problem to be addressed demonstrate a sufficient ability to manage and analyze data?
  • Has the applicant appropriately defined the people to be served in the short- and/or long- term for this work?

Project Work Plan

  • Are the proposed activities appropriate for the project and likely to lead to the intended results?
  • Are the time, financial, and other resources identified appropriate for the scope and scale of the project?
  • Do the identified staff, partners, consultants, and service providers possess the experience and skills necessary to complete the work successfully?
  • Is the proposed Performance Measurement Plan likely to be effective in producing the required measures of Quality and Timeliness?

Project Results

  • Are the project’s intended results clearly articulated and linked to the need, problem, or challenge addressed by the project?
  • If implemented as proposed, will this project be effective in helping with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic?