"NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities." It also promotes excellence in the humanities and conveys the lessons of history to all Americans by providing grants for high-quality humanities projects in four funding areas: preserving and providing access to cultural resources, education, research, and public programs.
The grants typically go to cultural institutions as well as individual scholars.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation currently makes grants in six core program areas - Higher Education and Scholarship, Scholarly Communications, Research in Information Technology, Museums and Art Conservation, Performing Arts, Conservation and Environment.
The grants strive to "build, strengthen and sustain institutions and their core capacities, rather than be a source for narrowly defined projects."
On November 5, 2008 The Mellon foundation released the following statement:
"The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has certainly experienced some of the effects of the current financial environment. Nevertheless, we do not now foresee significant retrenchment or dislocations in our grantmaking. All existing commitments will be honored, and the Foundation will continue to be alert to the needs of grantees as circumstances develop."
One major trend I see across the board is that the grant committees want to fund programs that are sustainable. This is especially apropos in these hard financial times. The granting agencies are still awarding funding but they want to make sure their money will go towards something that will benefit the public many years to come as seen with the Mellon Foundation grants. Also grant agencies want to know there is something in it for them whether this be notoriety in being associated with a successful project or having the opportunity to have their own products testing out in the market.