Frequently Asked Questions - Funding

Which organizations are eligible to apply?

This funding is for museums, libraries, science centers, zoos, aquariums, gardens, and other cultural institutions located in the United States, including territories and tribal lands. To be eligible for this award, your organization must be either a part of the State or local government or a private nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status. Clarification of these eligibility criteria, including definitions of museums, libraries, and tribal organizations can be found at the Institute of Museum and Library Services Eligibility Criteria page. 

Have there been any adjustments made to IMLS eligibility criteria requiring museums to exhibit to the general public for at least 120 days a year?

Yes. Due to the pandemic, IMLS has provided several options to meet this requirement. Museums must have exhibited in at least one of the following three ways:
  • 120 days in the time period immediately before submitting the application
  • 120 days in the previous calendar year or
  • 120 days in a year that ends the day of the organization's first shutdown

What will be included in Round Two awards?

In Round Two of the project, awards will focus on sustained engagement through the end of 2021 and first part of 2022. Communities for Immunity will prioritize projects that include cross-community partnerships, and are designed to engage the hardest-to-reach audiences, reach children and families as younger children become eligible for the vaccine, and include opportunities to build broader vaccine confidence and assess deeper community needs. Eligible institutions may apply for Round Two awards from October 12 through November 1, 2021, and all Round Two awardees will be notified no later than November 19, 2021. Round Two projects must be completed by March 31, 2022, and final reports must be submitted no later than April 29, 2022. Round Two awards will range from $1,500 to $100,000.

Are there additional project requirements for higher dollar value projects in Round Two?

Yes, for projects over $25,000, there will be a requirement for replicability – awardees will need to develop detailed materials (templates, facilitation guides, etc.) so that other institutions may easily adapt those products for their use. This will help create a set of shareable resources that will enable rapid expansion of successful programs and approaches, both in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and even more broadly in future public crises. Proposals over $25,000 will also be assessed more rigorously for project duration and reach.

However, the application questions for Round Two are the same for projects ranging from $1,500 to $100,000 to keep the process simple. Applicants will need to include the explanations of these additional criteria noted above in their project summary and description of target audience.

What was included in Round One awards?

Communities for Immunity’s priority during Round One was making rapid funds available to eligible organizations who could use, adapt, and expand existing resources and approaches to engage their communities within 30–60 days of the funding award. Eligible institutions applied for Round One awards from August 5 through September 2, 2021, with all Round One awardees notified by September 16, 2021.

Communities for Immunity made awards to 51 museums, libraries, and tribal organizations serving urban, suburban, and rural communities spread across 24 states in Round One.

Award amounts ranged from $1,500 to $10,000. Round One Projects must be completed by December 10, 2021, and final reports must be submitted no later than January 31, 2022.

What are some examples of successful Round One proposals?

Examples of successful proposals from Round One include:

  • The Galesburg (Illinois) Public Library applied to host Q+A sessions with health professionals, allowing attendees to elect to receive the vaccine at the end of the sessions, and create and staff a vaccine information booth where visitors can seek help to sign up to get a vaccine appointment.
  • The Virginia Nottoway Indian Circle and Square Foundation (Capron, Virginia) applied to present an informational session on COVID-19 vaccines during their annual pow-wow, held virtually this year due to the pandemic, and support a mobile vaccination van for local community members with raffle prizes for those who get vaccinated.
  • The Peale Museum in Baltimore, Maryland applied to expand existing storytelling programming by leveraging local and national experts on vaccine uptake to create a cohort of local youth to serve as "Ambassadors" who can engage their vaccine-hesitant peers on vaccine confidence and uptake.

Round One awardees have also received media coverage as they implemented their programs. Some examples include:

Read our press release to learn more about the 51 museums, libraries, and tribal organizations that received funding in Round One.

May I apply for funding in both Rounds One and Two?

Yes, organizations selected for awards during Round One may apply for additional funding in Round Two to build upon and/or expand their Round One projects. Additionally, organizations not selected for awards in Round One are encouraged to reapply in Round Two. Lastly, organizations that did not apply in Round One are still encouraged to apply in Round Two.

How can I apply? 

The application window for Round Two closed on November 1.

Where can I find a preview of the application questions?

View this PDF preview of the Round Two application and a budget template.

What is a vaccine-hesitant audience?

The World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on Vaccine Hesitancy defines vaccine hesitancy as “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccine services. Vaccine hesitancy is complex and context specific, varying across time, place and vaccines. It is influenced by factors such as complacency, convenience and confidence.” This initiative is focused on engaging those audiences who are uncertain about or delaying vaccination, not those who are firmly opposed to it.

In your application, we expect to see a justification for your chosen target audience(s), including supporting evidence for that group(s) having high levels of vaccine hesitancy. You can provide your own resources to support your choice of audience, and we encourage the use of local data where it is available. Please provide references to any resources that you use to support the selection of your audience(s). 

The following resources are not requirements for your application, but may help to get you started in selecting a target audience(s):

  • The CDC Estimates of Vaccine Hesitancy for COVID-19 and COVID Data Tracker provide frequently updated data on hesitancy by geographic region. 
  • The Public Religion Research Institute and Interfaith Youth Core Religious Diversity and Vaccine Survey provides data from March 2021 on vaccine hesitancy along with multiple demographic characteristics including religious affiliation, partisan affiliation, age, race, educational attainment, and more.
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor is updated monthly and includes data on vaccine hesitancy as well as demographic characteristics like partisan affiliation, gender, education, work from home status and more.
  • COVID Collaborative and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine have developed a Visualization of Vaccine Intention that shows data on people’s openness to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine by zip code and county for the entire United States.


Why are museums and libraries being called on to build vaccine confidence?

Museums and libraries are well positioned to help build vaccine confidence because of their deep relationships with local communities and reputations for being among the most trusted sources of information. Museums and libraries are experienced conveners with the ability to deploy aspects of their infrastructure and staff expertise in inclusive community engagement and quality informal education.

Which types of projects will be funded? 

Communities for Immunity seeks effective, innovative ways to engage vaccine-hesitant populations, so project design is only constrained by your creativity and what resonates with your community! The project may involve the use of existing resources and materials to communicate about vaccines. This could involve printing and distributing pamphlets about COVID-19 vaccination, facilitating a community discussion about vaccines, or opening or maintaining a vaccination site.

For proposals over $25,000, it is required that you involve the creation of new resources and materials that can be shared with other organizations. This could involve designing new materials for distribution (pamphlets, infographics, posters, videos, podcasts, public service announcements) or designing a new program, display, activity, or framework for public discussion. This replicability is a suggestion, but not a requirement, for awards under $25,000.

Compelling proposals will include coordination with partners, such as local health officials, community organizations, or other libraries, museums, or cultural institutions. For suggestions on creating a strong partnership, you can read the CDC’s guidance on
Engaging Community-Based Organizations to be Vaccination Partners.


Where can I find existing resources about building vaccine confidence? 

Several organizations and projects have compiled resources for building vaccine confidence, including discussion guides, information on vaccine efficacy, safety, and side effects, how to access a vaccine, and more. A number of vetted websites may be found on the Vaccine Confidence Resources page.

How will my application be reviewed?

Your application will be reviewed by a panel of staff from the multiple library and museum associations collaborating on this project (listed on the About page).

The proposal will be judged on several criteria including:

  • Potential of project to effectively engage local vaccine-hesitant target audience(s)
  • Strength of impact, including estimated reach of project and quality of engagement 
  • Selection of target audience(s) 
  • Thoughtful incorporation or adaptation of existing resources and materials to communicate about vaccines (required for awards less than $5,000)
  • Development of new materials that can be shared with other organizations (suggested for awards at or above $5,000)
  • Demonstration of an evidence-driven approach to developing and delivering project activities
  • Coordination with public health authorities, community organizations, and other partners working on vaccine confidence 
  • Diversity factors such as geographic distribution, institutional diversity, target audience diversity, and project variety
  • Replicability (for projects over $25,000)


Is cost-share expected or required for this project?

Cost-share is not required for these awards. However, if additional funding or in-kind support will be used in the execution of this project, we request that be documented in the project budget (see template).

What guidelines are there surrounding use of funds for this project?

Because Federal funds are being administered in Communities for Immunity, awardees are responsible for compliance with Part 200, Chapter II, Subtitle A, Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations, hereafter referred to as 2 C.F.R. 200. View the full text of this regulation. The applicant toolkit summarizes the most salient aspects.

Are applicants allowed to include indirect costs in their proposal budgets?

Awards of $10,000 and less may not include indirect or overhead costs; awards of greater than $10,000 may include indirect costs at the organization’s current Federally negotiated rate, or at the de minimis rate of 10%.

Can funds be used for incentives or giveaways for attending vaccine-related programs or exhibits?

Yes. Funds may be used to provide incentives that are directly related to project goals (for example, branded pens, books, or other items for program participants). However, funds may not be used for cash or cash-equivalent (i.e., gift cards) incentives.

What are the reporting expectations for this project? 

Award recipients will be required to submit a short final report using a template that we will provide. This report will include: 

  • A brief summary of all project activities
  • A copy of resources created with the award (in addition to sharing with Communities for Immunity, awardees are encouraged to share in the Resource Library) 
  • High-quality photos and other media of the project in action (e.g., pictures from events, pictures of materials distributed, and displays and exhibits installed) along with license information 
  • A count of how many people were reached during the project, as well as an estimate of the number of people who will be reached in the future from exhibits, programs, and other ongoing efforts 
  • A summary of how project funds were spent


What is the expectation for evaluation of this project? 

Communities for Immunity has engaged expert evaluators to assess the outcomes and impact of these efforts to ensure that there is an opportunity to capture and share the lessons learned through these projects. All awardees will be required to participate in project evaluation activities commensurate with the level of their award amount.


What is the Community of Practice? 

We expect that awardees will participate in an online community of practice. ASTC Communities of Practice (CoPs) are groups of professionals who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. This community will serve as a space in which to share promising practices, tools, and resources, as well as a source of coordination and support among museums and libraries.

Does my project have to include creation of new materials that can be shared with other organizations?

Yes, for awards over $25,000, replicability is required. This entails providing easily shareable, no-cost templates and facilitation guides to enable other institutions to benefit from your success. Please note: This does not require you to share photographs or other protected data from your institution.

For awards under $25,000, the creation of sharable materials is not a requirement. However, it is something that would add to the strength of your proposal, and is highly suggested. We are especially interested in supporting projects that have the potential to be replicated, or that produce materials that can be shared with other organizations. For example, a strong proposal may feature a plan to design programs or displays about vaccination that could be distributed and used by other organizations.

Is this program about the recently announced COVID-19 booster shot?

The intention of Communities for Immunity is to reach out to people who are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine and have not yet received their first dose. While we recognize that booster shots are now available for some residents in the United States, and that communication about the science of booster shots will also be important, the focus of this project is engaging people to get their initial vaccination.

Given the CDC's November 2, 2021, formal endorsement of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children aged 5 through 11, can Round Two awardees include information and resources for children and families in their projects?

Yes. Round 2 awardees are encouraged to incorporate information, resources, and other opportunities for children ages 5 through 11 and their families as part of their projects, especially in communities where vaccine hesitancy is evident among this age group.

How can I learn more?

Communities for Immunity hosted two informational webinars for prospective applicants to learn more about the program and how to apply for funding awards. Recordings of these webinars are available on the Webinar Recordings page. Additional webinars will be scheduled for Round Two applicants during the application window (October 12-November 1, 2021). Review our applicant toolkit for more information about the application process.

Whom do I contact with questions not addressed here?

Please email with any additional questions.