FAQs – Funding for NEH Applicants and Grantees Impacted by the Coronavirus

This document addresses frequently asked questions related to NEH funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Office of Management and Budget memo M-20-17 “Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations.” The questions have been organized into three groups:

I. Eligible cultural organizations and humanists affected by the coronavirus seeking funding
II. Applicants for regular FY20 NEH funding opportunities
III. Current NEH grant and cooperative agreement recipients seeking administrative flexibilities and supplemental funding

I. Eligible cultural organizations and humanists affected by the coronavirus seeking funding

  1. Does NEH have additional federal funds to respond to the impact of the coronavirus?

    Yes. NEH received $75 million in supplemental funding to assist cultural institutions and humanists affected by the coronavirus as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act economic stabilization plan appropriated by Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump.

    Approximately 40 percent of the appropriation, or $30 million, will go directly to the 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils, based on the standard population formula used for their annual appropriation. The remaining 60 percent, or $45 million, will support at-risk humanities positions and projects at museums, libraries and archives, historic sites, colleges and universities, and other cultural nonprofits that have been financially impacted by the coronavirus. All NEH supplemental funds must be obligated to projects by September 30, 2021.

  2. What types of organizations are eligible for NEH emergency relief funding?

    Eligible applicants include U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, public and 501(c)(3) accredited institutions of higher education, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments.

    International and for-profit entities are not eligible.

  3. How can my organization apply for NEH emergency relief funding?

    NEH plans to announce funding opportunities for eligible organizations seeking support for at-risk humanities positions and projects at cultural nonprofits  that have been impacted by the coronavirus. More information will be announced on our website and through social media by April 30, 2020.

    Eligible entities should also contact their state humanities councils. NEH supports 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils across the country, all of which also make awards to local humanities projects.

  4. Are individuals eligible for NEH emergency relief funding?

    NEH continues to fund individual humanists in numerous ways, such as through the Public Scholar program, Research Fellowships, and Summer Stipends. In addition, NEH is exploring ways in which it may support national humanities membership organizations through emergency relief funding for independent scholars, cultural heritage professionals, contingent faculty, schoolteachers, college and university professors, and other humanists economically impacted by the coronavirus. We will provide additional information on such new opportunities by April 30, 2020.

II. Applicants for regular NEH FY20 funding opportunities

  1. Will FY20 application deadlines be extended due to the coronavirus pandemic?

    No. Application deadlines will not be extended. Applications must be submitted through and validated by Grants.gov by the published deadlines.

  2. Will there be changes to NEH FY20 funding opportunities?

    No. NEH will not modify its FY20 funding opportunities.

  3. Where can I learn more about upcoming NEH funding opportunities and deadlines?

    To learn more about NEH funding opportunities and upcoming deadlines, please visit our website at neh.gov or use the “Search Grants” tab at grants.gov.

III. Current NEH grant and cooperative agreement recipients seeking administrative flexibilities and supplemental funding

NEH understands that the coronavirus may impact your funded project as activities are postponed or canceled. Please contact your program officer and grants management specialist through eGMS Reach; they can help you explore options such as extensions, budget revisions, and scope changes. NEH program and grants management staff will work together to provide maximum flexibility within NEH’s governing authorities. It is important to note that the NEH Office of Grant Management is the only office authorized to change the funding, scope, duration, or other terms and conditions of your award, and will do so through eGMS Reach.

  1. What should my organization do if it needs to postpone project activities such as meetings, conferences, workshops, or public events?

    Per item 12 of the General Terms and Conditions for Awards to Organizations, recipient organizations have the authority to approve a one-time extension of the end date of the period of performance established in the initial award if they require additional time to complete the original scope of the project with the funds already made available. A single extension that shall not exceed 12 months may be made for this purpose, provided it is made prior to the original expiration date.

    To exercise this option: The institutional grant administrator must notify the NEH Office of Grant Management in writing via eGMS Reach of the new expiration date at least 30 calendar days before the end of the original period of performance and must provide justification for the extension period. Please include a revised work plan with your extension notification.

    Recipients may request subsequent extensions through eGMS Reach.

  2. Can nonrefundable travel costs be charged to NEH grants and cooperative agreements?

    Yes. Through June 30, 2020, NEH will reimburse recipients for nonrefundable project-related travel expenses tied to a canceled event.

    Please keep in mind the following:

    All transportation and lodging costs must be allowable, reasonable, allocable to the funded project, and in compliance with the recipient’s written travel policy. In light of the evolving travel and public gathering restrictions, recipients are advised to review the travel cancellation policy in their written procedures.

    Domestic airline tickets are often non-refundable, and canceled reservations typically result in an airfare credit being issued, which can be used by the ticketed passenger within a calendar year, subject to individual airline requirements. Recipients may charge the ticket to the NEH grant if the credit was used for project-related travel within the period of performance. Travelers may be able to change their flight without penalty, but may be subject to a fare adjustment fee. NEH will reimburse recipients for reasonable fare adjustment or cancellation fees. Please note that most airlines are being accommodating for cancellations tied to the coronavirus. Contact your airlines to explore all options.

    Most hotels allow cancellations without penalty as long as the traveler cancels in advance. Recipients are responsible for canceling room reservations in sufficient time to avoid cancellation fees and recover any deposits paid. We advise against booking “prepaid nonrefundable” hotel rooms.

    If a recipient is hosting a meeting, conference, seminar, or workshop and they’ve entered into a contract for lodging or transportation, please remember that all contracts in excess of $10,000 must address termination for cause and for convenience by the recipient, including the manner by which it will be effected and the basis for settlement. (See 2 CFR 200 Appendix II (B).)

  3. Our project activities have been suspended due to the coronavirus. May we continue to charge our NEH award and draw down budgeted salary expenses to ensure that our staff continue to receive a paycheck?

    Yes. Recipients may draw down budgeted salary expenses consistent with the written procedures of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, both federal and non-federal. Recipients also have minor rebudgeting authority that would permit them to charge costs necessary to resume activities supported by the NEH award, consistent with applicable federal cost principles and the benefit to the project. Recipients must maintain appropriate records and cost documentation as required by 2 CFR §200.302 Financial management and 2 CFR §200.333 Retention requirement for records to substantiate the charging of any salaries and other project activity costs related to the interruption of operations or services.

    Recipients may also submit a prior approval request through eGMS Reach for supplemental funding to cover project-related expenses incurred due to coronavirus-related loss of operations. NEH will consider such requests on a case by case basis, and approval is not guaranteed. Please contact your NEH program officer through eGMS Reach for additional information.

  4. What if my organization is unable to reschedule or conduct part of our funded activities?

    Recipients who incur costs related to the cancellation of events or other activities necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award or related to the pausing and restarting of NEH-funded activities due to the public health emergency; may charge these costs to their NEH award without regard to 2 CFR §200.403 Factors affecting allowability of costs, 2 CFR §200.404 Reasonable costs, and 2 CFR §200.405 Allocable costs. Recipients may charge the full cost of cancellation when the event or other activities are conducted under the auspices of the grant. Recipients should not assume additional funds will be available should the charging of cancellation or other fees result in a shortage of funds to eventually carry out the event. Recipients must maintain appropriate records and cost documentation as required by 2 CFR §200.302 Financial management and 2 CFR §200.333 Retention requirement for records to substantiate the charging of any cancellation or other fees related to interruption of operations or services.

    In addition, changes in budget, scope or key personnel may be necessary if you are unable to reschedule or conduct part of the funded activity. Such changes require NEH prior approval. NEH program and grants management staff will work together to provide maximum flexibility within NEH’s governing authorities. See the following sections in the General Terms and Conditions:

    11. Budget Revisions
    12. Period of Performance and Extensions
    13. Changes in Key Project Personnel
    14. Changes in Project Scope

    Reminder
    You may discuss potential changes to your funded project with your NEH program officer. However, the NEH Office of Grant Management is the only office authorized to issue the notice of action that changes the funding, scope, duration, or other terms and conditions of your award.

  5. What if my organization needs an extension for financial and other reporting?

    Recipients may delay submission of financial and other reports up to three months beyond the normal due date. During this time, recipients may continue to draw down federal funds without the timely submission of these reports. However, these reports must be submitted at the end of the postponed period. Please contact your NEH grant management specialist through eGMS Reach if you would like to exercise this option.

  6. My organization is subject to the Single Audit; can the deadline be extended?

    Yes. On March 19, 2020, OMB issued memorandum M-20-17, extending the Single Audit filing date for those recipients and subrecipients affected by the loss of operational capacity or increased cost due to the coronavirus crisis that had not filed their Single Audits with the Federal Audit Clearinghouse as of March 19, 2020 for fiscal year-ends through June 30, 2020. The extension permits affected recipients and subrecipients to delay the completion and submission of the Single Audit reporting package, as required under 2 CFR §200.501 Audit requirements, for six months beyond their normal due date. No further action is required to enact this extension. Individual recipients and subrecipients are required to maintain documentation of the reason for the delay, and must include a reference to the memorandum in their audit reporting packages so that federal agencies and pass-through entities are informed.

Please note that these FAQs will be updated routinely.

Cultural organizations not currently funded by NEH and individual humanists seeking information related to these FAQs may contact @email or @email.

Current NEH grant and cooperative agreement recipients may reach out to their program officer and grant management specialist through eGMS Reach for additional information.

For more information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the website for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).