NEA Big Read

Funding Agency:
National Endowment for the Arts

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Showcasing a diverse range of contemporary books that reflect many different voices and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery.

NEA Big Read annually supports approximately 75 dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection. Organizations selected to participate in NEA Big Read receive a grant, access to online training resources and opportunities, digital resources, and promotional materials designed to support widespread community involvement.

The programs last approximately one month and include a kick-off event, often attended by high-profile community leaders and other local luminaries; major events devoted specifically to the book (e.g., panel discussions and author reading); events using the book as a point of departure (e.g., film screenings and theatrical readings); and book discussions in diverse locations involving a wide range of audiences.

Deadlines: Jan. 24, 2o18

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

An applicant organization must:

  1. Be a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization; a unit of state, local, or tribal government; or a tax-exempt public library located within the United States or its territories. Eligible applicants include organizations such as arts centers, arts councils, arts organizations, colleges and universities, community service organizations, environmental organizations, fairs and festivals, faith-based organizations, historical societies, housing authorities, humanities councils, libraries, literary centers, museums, school districts, theater companies, trade associations, and tribal governments. Check your IRS status.
  2. Partner with a library (if the applicant organization itself is not a library). University and college applicants must partner with a library that is not directly affiliated with their educational institution.
  3. Choose one of the 28 available reading selections. Applicants that have received an NEA Big Read grant in the past must choose a different reading selection from their previous award.
  4. Obtain a DUNS (Dun and Bradstreet) number. Look up your DUNS number.
  5. Have and maintain an “active” SAM registration (System for Award Management; until the application process is complete, and if selected, throughout the programming dates of the award. This may include renewing your registration annually or more frequently if there are changes in the information. SAM registration is free. Contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center for free specialized help with the registration process.
  6. Be able to comply with the federal policies and legal requirements, statutes, and regulations in the Assurance of Compliance.



Amount Description

Eligible organizations may apply for a grant ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. These grants are federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (CFDA No. 45.024: Promotion of the Arts_Awards to Organizations and Individuals) and may be used for such expenses as book purchases, speaker fees and travel, salaries, promotion, and venue rental. Grants are cost shared and must be matched on a 1 to 1 basis with nonfederal funds such as staff salaries and wages, private grants, in-kind contributions, and earned revenues.

Funding Type



Community Outreach and Engagement

External Deadline

January 24, 2018