The American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking


The American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program is an emergency relief program intended to fund grantmaking programs that assist organizations and individuals working in the humanities who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and require support to restore and sustain their core activities. The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded $28.8 million to 13 grantmaking programs: six grantmaking programs for individuals and seven grantmaking programs for organizations. Collectively, these awards are 150 individuals and almost 500 organizations.

Stefanie Walker
Director, Office of Challenge Programs

Humanities Grantmaking for Individuals: Fellowship Opportunities

Association for Asian Studies

A grant program to deliver relief from the coronavirus pandemic to 34 Asian studies professionals to conduct humanities research, teaching development, and multimedia projects.

The Association for Asian Studies is a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of global Asian Studies through international exchange, publications, research support, and career development. Founded in 1941, the Association is the largest Asian Studies organization of its kind with approximately 6,500 members worldwide, representing all the regions and countries of Asia and all related academic disciplines. Striving for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Asian Studies: Humanities Grants for Asian Studies Scholars will enable the AAS to make 34 individual awards across the following grant and fellowship programs: AAS Minority Fellowships; AAS Pipeline Fellowships; AAS Digital Humanities Fellowships; AAS Public Research in Asian Studies Humanities Fellowships; AAS Asian American Pacific Islander/Asian History and Communities Fellowships; AAS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Higher Education Curriculum Development Grants; AAS Publication Subvention Grants; AAS Mentorship Grants; and AAS Seminar Grants.

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Host Institution: Association for Asian Studies
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Type: Fellowship

Firelight Media

A grant program to deliver relief from the coronavirus pandemic to 36 independent documentary filmmakers who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, and whose work on humanities-themed projects was disrupted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Firelight Media and its sister production company were founded in 2000 by the prominent documentarian Stanley Nelson and the philanthropy executive Marcia Smith. The organization has created many acclaimed documentary films, particularly about African American history. Firelight Media’s Spark Fund for Filmmakers of Color Working on Humanities Films will provide 36 stipends of $50,000 to selected filmmakers over the period of one year, for their use in alleviating financial hardship and work disruptions endured from the COVID-19 pandemic. Selected filmmakers must be working on a humanities-themed project. The Spark Fund is particularly interested in supporting filmmakers whose projects are aligned with the NEH’s “A More Perfect Union” initiative.

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Host Institution: Firelight Media
Location: New York, NY
Type: Fellowship


A grant program to deliver relief from the coronavirus pandemic to 20 un/underemployed independent documentary filmmakers in the humanities.

Mandated by Congress to bring underrepresented voices to the American public, the ITVS has funded, produced, and distributed independent documentaries for 30 years. The ITVS Humanities Documentary Development Fellowship will help pandemic-affected independent documentary filmmakers develop high-potential projects that increase the diversity, urgency, and relevance of the nation’s humanities-centered documentary pipeline. Support will be awarded in the form of 12-month stipends to a diverse cohort of independent documentary filmmakers at all stages of their careers, as well as advisors working in the humanities who will provide input and counsel to strengthen filmmaking humanities practices. The one-time program recognizes the humanities sector as an essential component of economic and civic life, identifying documentary filmmakers who develop projects for public television as vital contributors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Host Institution: ITVS
Location: San Francisco, CA
Type: Fellowship

Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture

A grant program to deliver relief from the coronavirus pandemic to 18 underemployed scholars to conduct research in humanities fields related to early American history and culture.

Founded in 1943 as an independent research institute, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture promotes scholarship focused on the history and cultures of North America from circa 1450 to 1820 and related developments in Africa, the British Isles, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America. The OI-NEH American Rescue Plan Humanities Grantmaking program, or OI-NEH ARP postdoctoral fellowships, will give scholars support for 2, 3, or 4 months of research at a stipend of $5,000 per month as well as access to an extended set of OI online workshops on writing and publishing beginning in summer 2022. There is no residential requirement. The selection committee will award 53 months of fellowship support for terms ranging from 2-4 months.

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Host Institution: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Type: Fellowship

Oral History Association

A grant program to deliver relief from the coronavirus pandemic to 23 oral history practitioners.

The Oral History Association is the leading professional organization for the practice of oral history with an international membership that includes educators, students, community historians, archivists, librarians, and filmmakers. Diversifying Oral History Practice: A Fellowship Program for Under/Unemployed Oral Historians will be award eleven year-long fellowships of $60,000 and a dozen smaller grants to support research into the history and current dynamics of the field of oral history, with the aim of creating knowledge that can be deployed to create a more equitable and inclusive field. Oral historians from communities which have been historically marginalized in the field (such as Indigenous peoples, people of color, people with disabilities, and working class people) are particularly invited to apply. Applicants will be encouraged to propose projects grounded in partnerships with communities and organizations. In addition to the fellowship award, fellows will be provided with mentoring, research funds, training, and a supportive cohort experience.

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Host Institution: Oral History Association
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Type: Fellowship

Sundance Institute

A grant program to deliver relief from the coronavirus pandemic to 20 underemployed mediamakers working on humanities-focused projects.

The Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creative and strategic support of independent film, media, and theater artists. The Sundance Institute |Humanities Sustainability Fellowship will provide 20 direct, unrestricted stipends to supplement the income of U.S.-based underemployed nonfiction mediamakers whose work and livelihood have been grossly affected by the pandemic. Selected mediamakers working on humanities-focused projects will receive monthly stipends of $5,000 per month over the course of 12 months. Grantees will be paired with paid humanities advisors through the granting term (April 2022–March 2023), who will provide dedicated mentorship, project advice, and other tailored nonfinancial support. Applicants from underrepresented communities in the humanities are greatly encouraged and will be prioritized.

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Host Institution: Sundance Institute
Location: Park City, UT
Type: Fellowship


Humanities Grantmaking for Organizations: Funding Opportunities for Institutions

American Council of Learned Societies

A grant program to deliver relief to 24 organizations recovering from the coronavirus pandemic by supporting humanities initiatives that address racial equity, climate change, international relations, pandemic recovery, and strengthening democracy.

The American Council of Learned Societies is a federation of 78 societies that supports the humanities through grantmaking efforts and national and international networks. ACLS Sustaining Public Engagement Grants are designed to repair the damage done to publicly engaged humanities projects and programs by the social and economic disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic and will range between $50,000 and $225,000 for terms of 12 months. Applicants will be required to demonstrate how their programs engage with issues of urgent public interest in one or more of the program’s six key themes: racial equity; climate change; US-global relations; public health and pandemic recovery; strengthening democracy, and exploring America’s diverse history. 

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Host Institution: American Council of Learned Societies
Location: New York, NY
Type: Grant

American Historical Association

A grant program to deliver relief from the coronavirus pandemic to 50 small history-related humanities organizations.

Founded and chartered by Congress in 1884, the American Historical Association is the largest professional organization of historians in the world with some 11,500 members. In that role, the Association promotes ethical and scholarly standards for the discipline and generates initiatives in teaching and learning at all levels and in all historical fields. AHA’s Grants to Sustain and Advance the Work of Historical Organizations Program provides $2.5 million to support dozens of small history-related organizations adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants, ranging from $10,000 to $75,000, fund short-term projects that explore new ideas or build on experiments initiated during the pandemic—from virtual programming or online publications to using new technologies or expanding audiences and accessibility. We encourage proposals for both ambitious new initiatives as well as smaller projects that address problems that have arisen because of the pandemic. Membership associations, site or location-based institutions (including online entities), and history and humanities departments at historically Black and tribally controlled colleges and universities (HBCUs and TCCUs) are eligible to apply.

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Host Institution: American Historical Association
Location: Washington, DC
Type: Grant

American Library Association

A grantmaking program to deliver relief to 200 libraries recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Library Association is a nonprofit educational membership organization comprised of more than 55,000 librarians, library workers, libraries, library school students, educators, trustees, and institutions. American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries will distribute $2 million to help anchor libraries as strong humanities institutions as they emerge and rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic. The purpose of this emergency relief program is to assist libraries that have been adversely affected by the pandemic and require support to restore and sustain their core activities. Up to 200 U.S. libraries of all types (e.g., public, tribal, K-12, academic, special, prison) and representing a broad range of communities will receive $10,000 through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process.

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Host Institution: American Library Association
Location: Chicago, IL
Type: Grant

Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums

A grant program to deliver relief to 84 Native cultural institutions recovering from the coronavirus pandemic by supporting tribal governments, tribal cultural facilities, as well as cultural and educational institutions partnering with tribes.

The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums is a Native-led non-profit incorporated in 2010 whose mission is to support the activities of Indigenous cultural institutions and programs by providing training, funding, and advocacy. The Native American Cultural Institutions Pandemic Response and Recovery Grant Program will help Native American cultural organizations reopen to the public and reestablish community connections through humanities programs. Eligible cultural organizations from the USA’s 574 federally recognized tribes, as well as non-Native cultural organizations working in partnership with tribes, may seek funding through a competitive application process. Grants range from $5,000-$50,000 for a one-year period.

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Host Institution: Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Type: Grant

National Trust For Historic Preservation in the United States

A grant program to deliver relief to 80 humanities organizations recovering from the coronavirus pandemic by supporting place-based preservation activities that focus on the histories of underrepresented groups.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately-funded nonprofit chartered by Congress in 1949 to protect the nation's historic places. Telling the Full History: Sustaining the Stewards of America’s Diverse Historic Places will sustain diverse cultural sites of importance to underrepresented communities, especially those that have been critically impacted during almost two years of pandemic closures. The National Trust expects to be able to award $25,000 and $50,000 grants to 80 humanities-based organizations through this initiative, in an effort to sustain an inclusive American narrative that represents all of the peoples involved in shaping our history and identity.

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Host Institution: National Trust For Historic Preservation in the United States
Location: Washington, DC
Type: Grant

National Writing Project

A grant program to deliver relief to 38 local, regional, and cross-regional cultural organizations recovering from the coronavirus pandemic by developing educational programming that deepens engagement with underrepresented communities.

The National Writing Project is a nonprofit organization comprised of a network of university-based sites with the explicit mission of regranting federal appropriations for the development and expansion of writing centers at universities' sites. Following 20 years of support from the Department of Education, those sites number 170, with roughly half located in humanities/liberal arts departments and half in education or outreach departments. Building a More Perfect Union: Pandemic Recovery Grants for Humanities Organizations will deliver up to 50 grants to local, regional, or cross-regional organizations will be awarded with eligible organizations including nonprofit organizations, museums, libraries and archives, state parks and historic sites, and public-facing humanities centers at colleges and universities. These grants will assist entities in restoring programming, post-pandemic, and to engage or deepen collaborations with stakeholders and communities that will expand their reach. Successful applicants will create open-access, adaptable resources and program models with the potential to enrich public understanding of our diverse yet intersecting civic life.

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Host Institution: National Writing Project
Location: Berkeley, CA
Type: Grant

Social Science Research Council

A grant program to deliver relief to 21 universities and other academic non-profit organizations recovering from the coronavirus pandemic to build humanities infrastructure responsive to the needs of underserved communities and institutions.

Founded in 1923, the Social Science Research Council is an independent non-profit with international reach that supports research across humanities and social science disciplines. SSRC/NEH Sustaining Humanities Infrastructure Program (SHIP) will award grants of up to $100,000 to humanities organizations seeking relief and planning for recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, offering support to the full spectrum of humanities infrastructure—the people, projects, and resources—at the core of humanities scholarship and teaching. In recognition of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on underserved communities, SSRC strongly encourages projects and institutions that emphasize topics, themes, and approaches related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as applications from minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Applicants may also propose activities that help mitigate the financial and social impact that the pandemic is having on diverse and inclusive staffing, programming, sustaining crucial humanities resources, and building and/or retaining audiences.

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Host Institution: Social Science Research Council
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Type: Grant