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Go “Big” – An NEA Grant Can Take Your Friends Programming to the Next Level

big-nea-images.jpgMany Friends groups – particularly those that draw from predominantly rural areas – schedule their years around one or two tent-pole events. An ambitious few, however, organize programming and other special events on a near-monthly basis. If your Friends group is one such, you may be a strong candidate for a Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Big Read program is designed to “revitalize the role of literature in American culture, and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.”

Sums ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 are available to Friends and like-minded organizations willing to host a community reads program consisting of at least a dozen separate events, including a kick-off party, keynote lecture, and ten discussion sessions.

Requested funding must be matched one-to-one with non-federal contributions, and the NEA stipulates that your Big Read revolve around one of 36 pre-selected book titles. This still leaves quite a bit of room for customizability, however. Funds can be applied toward book purchases, speaker fees and travel, staff salaries, advertising, and venue rentals.

Grant recipients are automatically eligible to use a variety of online training resources and professionally designed promotional and educational materials.

For a detailed listing of eligibility requirements, and to start your application, visit The Big Read’s website. The entry deadline for the next grant cycle (September 1, 2014-June 30, 2015) is 4:00 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 28.