The Institute of Museum and Library Services announces a new grant opportunity as part of its Community Catalyst initiative. With Activating Community Opportunities Using Museums/Libraries as Assets – A National Leadership Grants Special Initiative, IMLS invites proposals to test and develop museum and library collaborative approaches for bringing about positive community change.

Eligible entities are libraries, museums, institutions of higher education, and non-profit community organizations with experience in library, archive or museum projects and in managing grants for community development work.  Award amounts will range from $25,000 to $150,000, and a one-to-one cost share is required. The application deadline is April 3, 2017.  See the application guidelines on the IMLS website for details.

“This special initiative responds to the readiness of many libraries, archives, and museums to develop models for co-creating, deepening, and sustaining broad-based efforts to engage and serve a local community,”  said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “Many libraries, archives and museums can build on the momentum that already exists in their communities and contribute their own unique strengths and resources to processes and collaborative efforts that achieve positive community change.”

The initiative encourages projects that demonstrate the viability of adapting approaches from the collective impact, social well-being, and community development arenas for use by libraries, archives and museums. The projects will identify how libraries, archives and museums can determine at the local level which resources, partner organizations and practices can be used to better serve their communities. At the same time, the projects should represent models that can be adapted by other libraries, archives and museums.

Projects can encompass various components of initiating community work-including identifying the community opportunity and need, increasing collective understanding of the issues, and generating viable ideas for solutions-that are appropriate to the applicant’s community context. Mapping assets, examining publicly available data, and including multiple community stakeholders with diverse expertise can be viable approaches to identify opportunities that build upon community momentum.

Successful projects will feature cooperative relationships and must present a strong case for support from the community and key stakeholders to the proposed project plan and goals. Project participants may include combinations of cultural, public, nonprofit, educational institutions, foundations, local governments or private organizations focused on community reinvestment and improvement.


To Learn More
The recent IMLS Community Catalyst blog series features posts from IMLS and institutions with successful partnerships, and covers key ideas, such as asset mapping, stakeholder identification, collective impact approaches, community readiness, and cooperative relationships.

Potential applicants can also reach out to the IMLS staff member listed on the grant program page to discuss general issues relating to this special initiative.

An informational webinar on this funding opportunity will be held Wednesday, February 15, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EST and Thursday, February 16, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST.

For more information about how to participate in the webinar, please visit the IMLS Events and Webinar page.