The National Endowment for the Humanities Does Not Cover All Your Funding Needs.

Posted on February 21, 2014

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This is the third in my series on National Endowment for the Humanities funding for Archaeology. The first and second posts are here and here. This is just a final note as it were. While the NEH does give out grants to cover the full amount required, many times the NEH gives funds on the grounds that matching funds are found. Interestingly, when looking at the raw data we can see that some projects were granted matching funds but did not always reach the necessary matching funds. Since the 1970s the NEH has put in $17,011,257 of matching funds for Archaeology and Archaeology-related projects. That means at least $17 million  in other funds were found to run these projects. When adjusted for inflation to 2013 dollars that is roughly $29,482,213.

It should be noted that most of the time matching funds only makes up a percentage of the total funds given by NEH. Basically, the NEH could and did give both unconditional funds and matching funds to a project e.g. $10,000 upfront and no strings, plus another $10,000 in matching funds if the project can raise $10,000 from somewhere else = 30k (10K upfront + 10k matching + 10k other funds to get matching). Here is the distribution of the percentage of matching funds for the different projects:

Percentage that Matching Funds Make up of the Total NEH Funds Given

Percentage that Matching Funds Make up of the Total NEH Funds Given

As you can see some projects had to find as little as 5% in matching funds while others had to find %100. There is one 110% result but I think that might be the result of an error.

Of final note is the number of matching funds offered over the years. It appears the NEH has significantly curtailed matching funds in the last few years, which also falls the decline in funds:

Matching Funds given from NEH for Archaeology Projects Over the Years

Matching Funds given from NEH for Archaeology Projects Over the Years

This trend follows the general trend of less funding being available. I don’t think this is a decision be NEH to give fewer matching funds but just because there are fewer projects and less money.

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