The National Book Foundation is pleased to offer a new one-year funding opportunity for nonprofit literary arts organizations. Eligible organizations may apply to the National Book Foundation’s Capacity-Building Grant Program for one-year grants of $5,000 or $10,000 to support capacity-building initiatives. A grant from the Hawthornden Foundation, originally founded in 1983 by the late Drue Heinz, makes this program possible.

“Capacity building” as defined by the National Council of Nonprofits, is “whatever is needed to bring a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity, so it may more effectively and efficiently advance its mission into the future.”

Nonprofit literary arts organizations may apply for grants to support projects that aim to create a sustainable and effective organization in the areas of fundraising, finance, or marketing; skill-building opportunities for staff and/or Board members; strategic planning consultants; diversity and equity initiatives; leadership development and management training; sabbaticals for long-term staff members and leaders; and succession planning.

To learn about a similar grant opportunity offered by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) for independent nonprofit literary arts publishers, visit their website at


  • Applicants must be nonprofit literary arts organizations* based in the United States or US territories.
  • Applicants must be a 501(c)3 organization or have a fiscal sponsor.

 *Nonprofit literary arts organizations are understood as those that have missions and programs dedicated to the literary arts and not other artistic disciplines such as dance, theatre, visual arts.


Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Completeness of application and clarity of proposal
  • Feasibility of capacity-building project as described
  • Potential impact on organizational capacity and/or sustainability
  • Submitted work samples
  • Previous Capacity-Building funding from the Academy of American Poets will be considered, in addition to separate Hawthornden Foundation funding. 

Grants will be recommended by an independent panel. Final grant decisions will be approved by a committee of the National Book Foundation Board of Directors.


April 2, 2024: Application portal opens

May 10, 2024, 5:00 pm EDT: Application portal closes

August 2024: Applicants notified; funds disbursed

September 2025: Final reports due


Complete application, including all materials, must be received by National Book Foundation via Submittable by May 10, 2024 at 5:00pm EDT. The National Book Foundation assumes no responsibility for applications not received due to user or technical error.

National Book Foundation