The Constitution Center in Washington DC, where the National Endowment for the Humanities is located (via Wikimedia Commons)

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced new guidelines for distributing funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to cultural nonprofits. Via a new program, NEH CARES: Cultural Organizations, the federal agency will offer emergency relief grants of up to $300,000 to support humanities organizations across the nation, with a focus on retaining and hiring staff.

The aid is meant to bolster a spectrum of activities in the humanities through the end of 2020, from digital efforts to preservation and scholarly research. Institutions can use the funds to fulfill short-term projects, with an emphasis on preserving at-risk positions that keep workers employed as they maintain and adapt programs during the crisis.

According to the NEH, museums and historic sites in the US are reporting losses of $1 billion a month due to the pandemic, which has slashed admissions revenue, shuttered institutions, and halted programming nationwide. So far, the agency has distributed nearly $30 million of its $75 million appropriation in the CARES Act; through local humanities councils, the funds have benefitted organizations across 55 states and US territories. The remaining $45 million will be distributed as direct grants to institutions.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) also received $75 million from the CARES Act and is awarding its funding according to the same 40 and 60 percent allocations to state agencies and arts organizations respectively, as determined by Congressional mandate. But NEA’s direct grants to arts institutions will be fixed at $50,000, and to be eligible, organizations must have received an NEA award within the past four years.

“We know that, across the country, so many cultural organizations and the staff they employ are suffering severe hardship due to the pandemic,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede in a statement. “NEH is working quickly to distribute emergency funds to strengthen the nation’s museums, archives, libraries, historic sites, universities, and other educational institutions, and to support the communities and economies that rely on them.”

The deadline to apply for NEH direct grants is May 11, 2020; applications and instructions can be accessed here.

The deadline to apply for NEA’s direct grants of $50,000 is tomorrow, April 22; applications are here.

Valentina Di Liscia is the News Editor at Hyperallergic. Originally from Argentina, she studied at the University of Chicago and is currently working on her MA at Hunter College, where she received the...