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.