Application Process




Preliminary Application

Brimstone FAQ

Application Review Criteria


Preliminary proposal deadline:

April 28, 2016

Preliminary decision notification:

June 17, 2016

Invited Full application deadline:

August 1, 2016

Final funding decision for Brimstone Award:

November 2, 2016


Scroll down to see the list of previous recipients.

Brimstone Award
for Applied Storytelling

Taking its name from brimstone, the elusive element medieval chemists believed would transform base metals into gold, this award focuses on the transformational properties of storytelling, and aims to increase understanding of the ways storytelling can promote change in individuals and communities.


The grant supports a model storytelling project that is service-oriented, based in a community or organization, and to some extent replicable in other places and situations. It is our hope that projects receiving this award will have impact beyond their own communities, organizations, or clients, inspiring excellence in applied storytelling work and communicating to new audiences the humanitarian possibilities of storytelling.


Many different sorts of projects can be considered for the award, including community, organizational or institutional programs, curricular activities, short residencies, and projects combining complementary art forms. Projects may involve various kinds of stories, including traditional tales and myths as well as personal and ad hoc narratives. Although oral storytelling should be central to the project, the work need not be conducted by professional storytelling performers. Educators, therapists, naturalists, internal or external organizational practitioners, etc., personnel appropriate to the situation may carry out the project, so long as they can draw on suitable storytelling expertise and experience. We are looking for responsiveness to the standards of good practice in the field of the project.


Note: In keeping with the intent of the Brimstone Award to support innovative, service-oriented projects, the Award will not normally fund honoraria for performances, storytelling festivals, travel, or the purchase of equipment.


Various fields are appropriate for the Brimstone Award, including, for example, health care, environmental education/activism, community development, law, multicultural awareness, organizational development, leadership, intergenerational initiatives, empowerment of the disabled, substance abuse prevention, and educational curriculum at all levels.


Whatever their field or design, proposed projects should be:

  • Service-oriented: aiming to make a positive and lasting impact on some community, organization or group;
  • Innovative in either method or application;
  • Replicable: offering models of design that others can learn from and adapt in new settings;
  • Informed by relevant work in the field: based on knowledge of what has been done elsewhere and on awareness of the broad theoretical framework that underlies the project (expressed in jargon-free discussion that relates ideas in existing literature to the construction of the proposed project);
  • Assessable: designed to include ways of evaluating the effectiveness of the project;
  • Well-documented: planned to culminate in accurate documentation of the process and design, including the difficulties as well as the accomplishments of the project. Different media may be used for documentation and dissemination, so long as the end result is clear, accessible communication.


Please look at previous winners’ projects for some idea of the scope the Brimstone Award Committee is looking for. You will also want to review the rubric and criteria the Committee uses for scoring applications.


Applicants should consider realistically what they can accomplish with the relatively small award of $5000. The award could fund a new project that represents an applicant’s ongoing commitment and expertise in a particular area. However, the award could also be used to enable a project already in motion to come to completion. In other circumstances, it could fund effective documentation and dissemination of a successful project. We encourage collaborative funding; the Brimstone Award might support part of a project that is otherwise sustained by funds from other sources: matching funds, grants and donations, other revenues.


Applicants who are not members of the National Storytelling Network will pay the current membership fee to become an NSN member.


The Brimstone Award: Listing of Recipients


2015-16 Receipient

  • Regan Brooks - Story Works Alaska


2014-15 Recipients

  • Guneeta Singh Bhalla, The 1947 Partition Archive – Citizen Historian Program
  • Diane Mailey, Zen Hospice Project Storytelling Initiative


2013-14 Recipients

  • Trouble the Water: Building a Reservoir of Local Knowledge from Cultural Conversations on Hurricane Sandy, Traditions, Work and Resilience
  • Resonate: Storytelling for Women’s Leadership
  • Using storytelling to transform community: The Sudan and African American oral storytelling project


2012-13 Recipient

  • Coming Home/Listening to Our Troops


2011-12 Recipients

  • Sustaining Culture and Traditions Through Storytelling Project
  • Community Stories in a Changing Climate
  • Intergenerational Storytelling for Seniors and Ex-offenders
  • Storytelling and Social Change: Strategies for Grantmakers


2010-11 Recipients

  • Firewalkers: Madness and Beauty
  • Foolish and Wise Things We Have Seen or Done


2009-10 Recipients

  • Stories for Environmental Stewardship: A QLF and Middle East Program for Coexistence
  • From the Fire in the Belly: Stories of Redwood Coast Entrepreneurs
  • Quiet No More: Giving Voice to At-Risk Youth through Storytelling, Youth-to-Youth Mentoring and Service Learning
  • Using Improvised Storytelling to Strengthen Two Communities: Marginal Urban Youth and Patients with Life-Threatening Illness


2008-09 Recipients

  • Jerusalem Stories High School Pilot Program
  • Coming Home: A Life Force Project


2007-08 Recipients

  • Using Storytelling To Promote Gross National Happiness In The Royal Kingdom Of Bhutan
  • Telling Traditions: Stories And Poetry That Build Bridges Across The River Of Loss To The Places Of Acceptance
  • Sharing The Skies: Stories And Activities For Museum And Nature Center Educators
  • Community Voices Against Violence And Substance Abuse


2006-07 Recipient

  • Building Resilience Through Storytelling


2005-06 Recipients

  • Children At The Well: An Interfaith, Intergenerational Storytelling Venture
  • Using Storytelling As An Educational Tool
  • Environmental Storytelling For Schools And Nature Centers


2004-05 Recipients

  • Living Streams: Stories For Healthy Watersheds
  • A View From The Front Porch
  • When Children Save The Day®