Virginia Humanities will be distributing more than $500,000 in aid to museums, historic sites and educational and cultural institutions across Virginia affected by the COVID-19 health crisis.

The funds are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed by Congress in March. The $2 trillion aid package includes $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), approximately $30 million of which will be sent to 56 state and territorial humanities councils to redistribute to humanities nonprofit organizations in need.

The state humanities councils were chosen to distribute these funds because of their well-established relationships with museums, historical societies, libraries and cultural institutions that are the cornerstones of some of the most vulnerable and hardest to reach communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic requires us to seek new ways to build and strengthen our relationships with each other,” said Virginia Humanities’ Executive Director Matthew Gibson. “This crisis causes us to ask profound questions about the future of our communities and how we will preserve the unique qualities that make us who we are. Our cultural institutions are vital to answering these questions.”

Humanities-focused nonprofit organizations based in Virginia that are facing financial difficulties are able to apply to Virginia Humanities for grants until April 30. 

The grants can be used to cover general operating costs including salaries, rent and utilities, as well as costs associated with providing online public programs. There are no matching funds requirements, and efforts are being made to lower the barriers to accessing these funds. Awards will be announced in May.

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