Cooperative Agreement to Implement the National Spoken Word Poetry Ambassadors Program


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) are creating a new opportunity for more American youths to learn about and interact with spoken word poetry and poets. This request for proposals seeks an organizational partner to launch and direct the National Spoken Word Poetry Ambassadors Program. The program will further the mission of NEH’s Common Good initiative to engage the humanities in the great questions that we face as a nation. It will also develop a group of young poets (students in grades 10-11): writers and leaders who will respond to these questions. The program will select poetry ambassadors who will bring the creation, appreciation, and experience of spoken word poetry to more young people throughout the country. Humanities scholars and educators will engage the work of these young poets; the scholars and educators will place the poets’ work in a broader literary, artistic, and historical context. The National Spoken Word Poetry Ambassadors Program will run parallel to the National Student Poets Program (NSPP) and will enhance its efforts to develop ambassadorial skills and local leadership among selected youth poets. The PCAH, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers partnered in 2012 to create the NSPP, which for the past few years has offered the country’s highest honor for young poets (students in grades 10–11) presenting original work. The NSPP selects five students annually to serve for one year as literary ambassadors, each representing one of five different geographic regions (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and West) of the country. By elevating and showcasing their work for a national audience in dialogue with established poets, the program strives to inspire other young people to achieve excellence in their own creative and scholarly endeavors and to promote the essential role of writing and the arts in achieving academic and personal success. Building on the success of the NSPP, the National Spoken Word Poetry Ambassadors Program—a joint effort of NEH and PCAH—will select additional spoken word poets (one from each region) to create and perform their own poetry and to become spokespeople for the appreciation and use of poetry in American life. With the support and guidance of the awardee organization, poetry ambassadors will participate in at least three ambassadorial events in their region during their one-year term. These events should be occasions for considering a key humanistic topic. Topics might include those raised in NEH’s new Common Good initiative, or comparably broad questions: for example, the experience of war, the relations of humans to one another or to the natural world, justice, citizenship, or the meaning of a good life. In these events the ambassadors will also collaborate with other writers or humanities educators to engage their audiences in reading poetry and discussing the craft and history of poetry. For example, a poetry ambassador might perform his or her poetry in conjunction with a curator’s discussion of the links between poetry and painting.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Office: National Endowment for the Humanities
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Cooperative Agreement
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has cost sharing or matching requirements.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Headquarters Office
If you have questions about the program, contact John Abodeely at (202) 682-5631 or or Victoria Sams at (202) 606-8283 or
Website Address
E-mail Address
Financial Information
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Awards range from $2.00 to $80,000.00


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