National Endowment for the Humanities providing grants for cultural institutions negatively impacted by COVID-19 closures

A general view of the 'Urban Light' art installation at LACMA. Normally busy on Saturday nights with tourists, couples, and photographers, the sculpture area was empty after the 'Safer at Home' emergency order was issued by L.A. authorities amid the (Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced on Monday that it is providing grants of up to $300,000 to preserve cultural institutions negatively impacted by the COVID-19 shutdowns.

“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.

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The funds come from the historic $2.2 trillion stimulus bill known as the CARES Act which was signed into law on March 27.

The NEH says it has already distributed $30 million to organizations across 55 U.S. states and territories in hopes of sustaining cultural groups and public educational programming. 

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The organization says it still has $45 million in remaining funds which it looks to give as grants aimed at helping organizations working in the humanities that were forced to close because of the COVID-19 crisis. 

According to the NEH, museums, galleries and other historic and cultural sites are reporting a loss of $1 billion a month as various exhibits, events and education programs have been canceled due to coronavirus lockdowns. 

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“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.”

Grant applications open April 20, 2020 and are due by May 11, 2020. 

The NEH grants are among recently announced federal government funding initiatives intended to help those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. On April 17, the USDA announced a $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program aimed at supporting struggling food producers across the country.