NEH Offers ARP Relief Funding for Economic Recovery for Cultural and Educational Institutions

Two new American Rescue Plan grant programs will provide emergency relief to humanities organizations and professionals affected by the pandemic

NEH ARP grants logo
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NEH/Andrea Heiss

(April 7, 2021)

Washington D.C. — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced two new funding opportunities to rapidly distribute American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act funding to cultural organizations and educational institutions adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. These funding opportunities will provide direct grants to individual humanities institutions and grantmaking organizations to distribute as competitive subawards to affected organizations and individuals. These two grant programs aim to help the humanities community recover from the economic burdens of the pandemic, enable the reopening of humanities institutions and programs, and support the retention of the humanities workforce. NEH especially encourages applications from underserved and minority-serving institutions and organizations.

“As it has been for most of the country, this past year has been an extremely difficult one for our nation’s cultural institutions,” said NEH Acting Chairman Adam Wolfson. “The economic fallout of the pandemic has led to cutbacks, closures, furloughs, and layoffs at museums, colleges and universities, historical sites and societies, archives and libraries of every size. NEH is grateful to members of Congress and President Biden for their recognition of the vital role that humanities organizations play in our economy and our communities. Through both direct grants and support for grantmaking organizations in the humanities, NEH will work quickly to distribute this much-needed American Rescue Plan relief funding to help restore the health of our cultural and educational institutions and bring economic recovery to the thousands of Americans they employ.”

Below are details of the two new American Rescue Plan funding opportunities:

  • American Rescue Plan: Humanities Organizations emergency relief grants provide up to $500,000 to cultural organizations and educational institutions to support humanities projects across the fields of education, preservation and access, public programming, digital humanities, and scholarly research for one year. Relief funding may be used for activities that emphasize retaining or hiring humanities staff at cultural organizations across the country. Applicants may propose new humanities projects or focus on sustaining core humanities programs and activities. The deadline to apply is May 14, 2021.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity for the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Organizations program is available on the NEH website. Questions about this grant program should be directed to @email.

  • American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking is directed at experienced grantmaking organizations to administer competitive grantmaking programs to support humanities activities undertaken by organizations or individuals. Applicants proposing grantmaking programs for organizations may request up to $5 million; those aimed at individual humanities professionals may request up to $2 million. Funding may be used to establish new grantmaking programs or expand or adapt existing programs to support recovery within the humanities sector. The deadline to apply is May 13, 2021.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity for the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking is available on the NEH website. Questions about this program should be directed to @email.

Before submitting an application, your organization must have a current and active D-U-N-S® number and registration. In order to expeditiously issue funding, and consistent with OMB memo M-21-20, NEH has relaxed the requirement for active SAM registration at time of application for these programs. Current registrants in SAM with active registrations expiring between April 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021, will automatically be afforded a one-time extension of 180 days. At the time of award, the requirements of 2 CFR § 200.206 continue to apply. NEH will not make an award to an applicant lacking an active SAM registration. Step-by-step instructions on how to register are available on the website.

These two new funding opportunities are supported by $135 million in supplemental funding allocated to NEH by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. NEH will distribute $51.6 million of ARP funding to 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils and interim partners to support local cultural groups and public and educational humanities programming.

These new ARP funding opportunities build upon NEH’s distribution of CARES Act funding in 2020, when NEH awarded direct grants to 317 humanities organizations across all 50 states, and distributed awards to the state and jurisdictional humanities councils that serve the needs of states and local communities. NEH CARES grants allowed museums, historic sites, archives, and colleges and universities to retain humanities jobs, continue operations, and shift programs and resources online at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. See a list of NEH CARES awards.


National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at


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