The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) challenge grants are "capacity-building grants, intended to help institutions and organizations secure long-term improvements in and support for their humanities programs and resources." While the parameters for using these challenge grants are broad, the primary purpose is for grantees to establish endowments or spend-down funds that will be used to support the humanities.

In past years, the federal portions of the challenge grants ranged from $30,000 to $1 million, the maximum amount that may be requested. In recent years, the maximum grant has ranged between $425,000 and $500,000. The application deadline is May 2, 2012.