What is this funding opportunity?

Recognizing that literary nonprofit organizations need to address sustainability, the Academy of American Poets established a special Capacity Building Program to  award funds over two years in grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to support projects that build organizational capacity. 

This Capacity-Building Grants Program is made possible by a special gift from the Hawthornden Fund, established by the Drue Heinz estate. For much of her long life, Mrs. Heinz devoted her energy and determination to the promotion of literary art as past publisher of The Paris Review, co-founder of Ecco Press, and the creator of the Hawthornden Literary Retreat. 


What is “capacity building?”

“Capacity building” as defined by the National Council of Nonprofits is: “Whatever is needed to bring a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity, so it may more effectively and efficiently advance its mission into the future.”

Examples of requests for support include new or existing projects in the areas of fundraising, finance, or marketing; skill-building opportunities for staff or Board members; strategic planning consultants; diversity and equity initiatives; leadership development and management training; and succession planning. 


Who was eligible to apply?

Applicants had to be nonprofit literary organizations based in the United States or U.S. Territories and present or serve poets, or incorporate poetry, as part of their programming.

Nonprofit literary organizations are understood as those that have missions and programs dedicated to the literary arts and not other artistic disciplines such as dance, theatre, visual arts. 

Nonprofit literary publishers were able to apply to a similar program managed by CLMP: https://www.clmp.org/capacity-building-grant-program.

The decisions of the Academy of American Poets as to eligibility, both initial and throughout the grant period, are final.


Could nonprofit literary organizations with nonprofit fiscal agents or a part of a nonprofit university apply?



Could literary magazines and presses that were eligible for both the CLMP and Academy of American Poets grant opportunities apply to both?

No. Literary magazines and presses should apply only to CLMP's grant program.


Was there an information session?

The Academy of American Poets and CLMP hosted a joint information session for interested applicants on September 16, 2022 at 1 p.m. ET. Watch a recording of the information session here: https://vimeo.com/751874017/edfdda3816.


What are the criteria on which applications were reviewed?

Applications were reviewed by an independent panel based on the following criteria:

  • Completeness of application and clarity of proposal
  • Feasibility of capacity-building project as described
  • Potential impact on organizational capacity and/or sustainability
  • Submitted work samples


Who served on the independent review panel?

Three panelists, all of whom are leaders in the literary field: Kazim Ali, M.L. Smoker, and Crystal Wilkinson, Final award decisions were approved by members of the Academy of American Poets Board of Directors.


When was the application deadline?

Applications were accepted online only via Submittable from September 12 through October 28, 2022, 5PM (EST). 

The Academy of American Poets assumed no responsibility for applications not received due to user error. Applicants were able to verify the receipt of their application materials by logging into Submittable.


When were grants announced?

All applicants were informed by December 31, 2022 as to whether or not their project was funded. A full list of the grantees can be found here: https://poets.org/academy-awards-capacity-building-grants-fifty-three-organizations 


What kind of reporting will be expected by grantees?

Grantees are required to submit a report to the Academy of American Poets at the conclusion of the first year of grant period to obtain the second year of funding, as well as at the conclusion of the two-year grant period.



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