As libraries and archives take specific action to address white supremacy in the library and information science (LIS) field, too often there is an undue burden placed on people of color to provide expertise and life experience on issues related to race and oppression. Our colleagues are asked to facilitate discussions, write articles and blog posts, and advise their employers and professional organizations about antiracism and racial justice. They are often expected to serve as informal educators and consultants and to be available to have difficult conversations about their experiences again and again, usually without compensation or recognition. This reparative work is, in addition to the time and expertise required, immensely taxing emotionally. It also can overshadow their professional expertise and interests, reducing them to their racial identity.
To address this deep injustice, the Inclusion and Diversity Committee (IDC) and NEA Executive Board have worked together to establish an honoraria fund that can be used to compensate people of color for their writing, research, and expertise in all areas of the archives and broader cultural heritage field - not only diversity, equity, and inclusion topics. Approved in the Fall of 2021, the Racial Justice Honoraria Fund (RJHF) will allow NEA to support people, programs, and initiatives which engage, elevate, and compensate people of color for their vital work and contributions to the profession. The fund is a part of NEA’s broader commitment to combating white supremacy organizationally and address racial injustice in our field.
In addition to the allocated money in the NEA budget for this initiative, designated donations made by NEA members and the public will allow the Racial Justice Honoraria Fund to grant more honoraria and make an even larger impact. If you are in a position to financially support NEA in this initiative, please make a donation here.
The RJHF is designed to compensate people of color involved in a broad range of professional activities including:
We encourage and support projects with a broad range of topics within archives or cultural heritage work. This is done intentionally to allow applicants the flexibility to select a topic that speaks to their area of interest or expertise. A project might explore a specific area of practice, report on a research experience, or address topics that impact workers and the communities who create and use collections. In providing funding for work regardless of topic, the RJHF hopes to create more opportunities for people of color to explore and share all of their professional expertise and interests. There will also be times when NEA will explicitly ask people of color to advise on or speak to racial justice and equity matters. One key use of the fund, particularly at its inception, will be financially supporting programming and projects sponsored by NEA committees, such as the Newsletter Committee and the Education Committee.
If you have any questions about whether a project idea could qualify, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Award amounts are variable based on the specifics of the project, as outlined below:
Awards are funded by NEA and through individual donations. Donated funds will be used first, supplemented as needed by the NEA budgeted funds. The NEA contribution resets each year and does not carry over.
This fund is specifically designed to compensate people of color for their labor, especially students, recent graduates, paraprofessionals, early professionals, contingently employed archivists, archives as a second career, and those at small institutions. Since we do not want to gate-keep or make assumptions about applicants’ identities, we are asking applicants to self-identify as a person of color. We expect all applicants to respect the intended purpose of this fund and only apply if they meet the criteria below:
Recipients of this award will be selected for their proposed project’s relevance to the selection criteria. Applications should be specific, well-organized, and persuasive, and will be evaluated on relevance to the mission of the fund.
The fund does not currently give preference to any one particular career stage, project topic, perspective, or institution size. However, the fund committee acknowledges that in many cases, early career individuals, those at smaller institutions, and those with less institutional support may benefit more from funding than colleagues at larger institutions or later in their career. In the future, we will revisit the prioritization criteria used to evaluate applications based on feedback and our observations of the process.
The Racial Justice Honoraria Fund Committee will strive to maintain a balance between approving applications for NEA-sponsored programs and those from individuals who independently propose projects or articles. The exact distribution will be determined by the number and diversity of applications. If other funding is available for NEA-sponsored projects, priority for the RJHF should go to funding individual projects.
A simple majority vote of the Racial Justice Honoraria Fund Committee will determine the fund recipients. Discussion and voting will take place by committee members via virtual meetings in December and June. If the Committee does not select a recipient from the applicants, or in the absence of applications, the honoraria will not be awarded.
Proposals are considered for the Racial Justice Honoraria Fund independently from applications submitted by the same applicant(s) to other NEA awards during the same award cycle.
The NEA Treasurer/Treasurer-Elect will send reimbursement checks to the award recipient(s) after being notified by the fund committee. In most cases, payment will be provided after the completion of the fund supported project, however, certain project categories may require advance payment in order to be completed. Applicants will be notified of the timing of payment based on their project type at the time of their proposal’s acceptance.
Awards from the RJHF are considered grants. Applicants for research and other special projects will be asked to submit a budget estimate in order to more accurately assess the need and allocate our limited funds most appropriately. Submitted budgets should use due diligence to provide reasonable figures when requesting funds, but once an award is approved, no further financial documentation is required. For awards supporting newsletter articles and honoraria for NEA-sponsored programs, a budget will not be required.
Applications are reviewed and recipients are chosen by the Racial Justice Honoraria Fund Committee, whose membership is approved by the Executive Board annually prior to the start of the Fall application period. The Committee is made up of:
The IDC chair is also available to advise the committee as needed.
Racial Justice Honoraria Fund files are stored on NEA’s content management system and managed in accordance with the NEA Record Schedule.
Applications will be reviewed in groups at set times of the year.
The Racial Justice Honoraria Fund Committee and the Inclusion and Diversity Committee welcomes community feedback about the fund application and awarding process. We strive to ensure the fund is a living project, adjusting when needed to better meet the needs of our community. If there are improvements we can make that would reduce barriers and make the entire process as easy to navigate as possible, we want to know! Please email the chair of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee at email@example.com.