CARES Act Emergency Grants

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which became law on March 27, 2020, the National Endowment for the Humanities received $75 million to protect at-risk humanities positions and projects at museums, libraries and archives, historic sites, colleges and universities, and other cultural nonprofits that have been financially impacted by the coronavirus. Of that total, $30 million was distributed to Maryland Humanities and our 55 sister state and territorial councils for emergency grantmaking to the public humanities community.

The goal of this new fund—our $515,000 CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants Fund—is to help sustain Maryland’s infrastructure to ensure that organizations can continue to provide opportunities for public humanities programming and civic learning in Maryland’s diverse communities during this unprecedented time. Grants will support nonprofit general operating expenses. Eligible nonprofit organizations include: museums, historic sites, preservation and historical societies, and community and cultural organizations with a significant humanities focus.

We accepted applications to the Fund from May 1 through May 11, which were then screened for eligibility. Ultimately 119 applications were reviewed by members of our Grants Committee with a focus on both need and geographic location in an effort to disperse funds to all regions of the state. One hundred awards of $5,150 each were approved, and all applicants were notified on May 29.

*GRANT RECIPIENTS: Click here to access your Final Report in the grants portal.*

CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants Fund Recipients

  • Allegany County

    Allegany Museum
    Evergreen Heritage Center Foundation
    Frostburg Museum Association, Inc.

  • Anne Arundel County

    Banneker Douglass Museum Foundation
    Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects
    Chesapeake Children’s Museum
    Galesville Community Center
    Severn Crossroads Foundation (Baldwin Hall)

  • Baltimore City

    Afro Charities
    Bach in Baltimore/Bach Concert Series, Inc.
    Baltimore Architecture Foundation
    Beloved Community Services Corp
    B’nai Israel Congregation
    CHARM/Writers In Schools
    CityLit Project
    DewMore Baltimore
    DreamWorks CDC, Inc.
    Friends of President Street Station
    Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (Fusion Partnerships, Fiscal Sponsor)
    Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum | MSU Foundation
    Mid-Atlantic Regional Moving Image Archive
    MTM Foundation, Inc.
    Muse 360 Arts
    New Lens
    The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture
    Poe Baltimore
    Raymond Banks ‘A Way With Words’ Foundation
    The Society for the Preservation of Federal Hill and Fell’s Point
    Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Association, Inc.

  • Baltimore County

    Baltimore County Historical Society, Inc./Historical Society of Baltimore County
    Fire Museum of Maryland, Inc.
    Friends of Jerusalem Mill
    Maryland Lynching Memorial Project
    Maryland Women’s Heritage Center
    Preservation Alliance of Baltimore County
    SeaAffinity, Inc.
    Todd’s Inheritance Historic Site
    Writing Hearts, Inc.

  • Calvert County

    Bayside History Museum
    Calvert County Historical Society
    Southern Maryland Community Resources, Inc.

  • Caroline County

    Caroline County Council of Arts
    Federalsburg Historical Society, Inc.

  • Carroll County

    Union Mills Homestead Foundation, Inc.

  • Cecil County

    Port Deposit Heritage Corporation

  • Charles County

    Farm Heritage Conservancy
    Life Journeys Writers Club
    Maryland Veterans Museum at Patriot Park
    Neighborhood Creative Arts Center
    Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco

  • Dorchester County

    Cambridge Community Radio, Inc.
    Cambridge Main Street
    Richardson Maritime Museum, Inc.

  • Frederick County

    African-American Resources Cultural Heritage Society (AARCH)
    Brunswick Potomac Foundation, Inc.
    Catoctin Furnace Historical Society
    Frederick County Landmarks Foundation
    The Global Z Recording Project

  • Garrett County

    Garrett County Historical Society
    Garrett Lakes Arts Festival

  • Harford County

    The Friends of the Concord Point Lighthouse
    Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, Inc.
    The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc.
    Hosanna Community House, Inc./Hosanna School Museum
    Steppingstone Museum Association, Inc.
    Susquehanna Museum of Havre de Grace, Inc.

  • Howard County

    Howard County Historical Society

  • Kent County

    Eastern Shore Heritage, Inc.
    G.A.R. Post #25, Inc./Sumner Hall

  • Montgomery County

    Ally Theatre Company
    Docs In Progress
    Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County
    Maryland Vietnamese Mutual Association/Association of Vietnamese Americans
    Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation Ltd.

  • Prince George's County

    Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts, Inc.
    Educare Resource Center, Inc.
    Global Health and Education Projects, Inc.
    James Agee Film Project
    Laurel Historical Society
    National Capital Radio and Television Museum
    People for Change Coalition
    Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center
    Sound Theory Urban Development Youth Outreach
    The 13th Man

  • Queen Anne's County

    Queen Anne’s County Arts Council

  • Somerset County

    Crisfield and Smith Island Cultural Alliance Inc.
    Crisfield Heritage Foundation

  • Talbot County

    Character Counts Mid Shore, Inc.
    Chesapeake Film Festival
    Oxford Community Center, Inc.
    Oxford Museum

  • Washington County

    Doleman Black Heritage Museum, Inc.
    Hagerstown Aviation Museum, Inc.
    Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, Inc.
    Sharpsburg Historical Society, Inc.
    Washington County Historical Society

  • Wicomico County

    Tri Community Mediation

  • Worcester County

    Delmarva Discovery Center & Museum, Inc.
    Friends of the Julia A. Purnell Museum
    Rackliffe House Trust, Inc.

  • Grant Guidelines

    General Information

    • No matching funds are required.
    • Grants will be available to non-profit organizations located in Maryland that provide humanities programming as a significant part of their mission and that are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
    • Grants are available for general operating expenses only. These include expenses such as salaries, rent, utilities, supplies, and equipment. Organizations seeking humanities programming support should apply for Maryland Humanities’ Mini or Major grants.


    • Application Opens: May 1, 2020
    • Application Deadline: May 11, 2020, 11:59 p.m. or upon receipt of 125 applications, whichever occurs first
    • Award Date: May 30, 2020

    Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for a Maryland Humanities CARES Act Grant, an organization must:

    • Offer humanities programming to Marylanders as a significant part of its mission. The humanities include disciplines such as history, literature, film studies, art criticism, and philosophy.
    • Be physically located in Maryland and have Maryland residents as its primary audience.
    • Have a maximum total annual budget of $300,000.
    • Be experiencing or expect to experience financial hardship due to the effects of COVID-19. (Examples include, but are not limited to, staffing cutbacks or reduction in work hours, suspension of programming or activities, or loss of revenue)
    • Obtain and retain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B), which uniquely identifies business entities. A DUNS number may be obtained from D&B by telephone at 866.705.5711 or by clicking here to register online or to look up your organization’s number. You need not have your DUNS number at the time of application.

    Those not eligible for funding include:

    • Individuals
    • For-profit organizations
    • Organizations with annual operating budgets of more than $300,000
    • Organizations solely focused on the arts
    • Political or Advocacy Organizations
    • Government agencies and libraries
    • Universities, colleges, and academic departments
    • K-12 institutions


    Activities not supported by this grant include:

    • Promotion of a particular political religious, or ideological point of view
    • Advocacy of a particular program of social or political action
    • Support of specific public policies or legislation
    • Lobbying
    • Purchase of land or facilities, construction, or renovation

     Funding Priorities

    •  General operating support for humanities, heritage, and cultural organizations that have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
    • Support organizations throughout all regions of the state.

Other Emergency Funding Resources for Cultural Organizations

You may also be interested in learning about other emergency funding programs offered in response to COVID-19. Here’s a partial list of opportunities for which your organization may be eligible:

  • “We have truly enjoyed every funding experience with Maryland Humanities – mostly because it feels like a collaborative relationship. The staff at (Maryland Humanities) is very helpful when preparing grant proposals and reports, and we love seeing (Maryland Humanities) administrators attending our performances and other programming.”

    Center Stage, Humanities Fund for Baltimore grantee, Baltimore City
  • “We had a great experience working with Maryland Humanities. Your team was very hands on, provided clear guidelines and seemed glad to assist us throughout our process. Thank you so much for the support we received to carry out our event and do much needed social justice work in our city.”

    New Lens, Humanities Fund for Baltimore grantee
  • “It is difficult to properly express our gratitude to Maryland Humanities for the help and support that we received through the grant-making process and through the project. The grant was crucial to the success of the project, and instrumental in bringing the poet (and 2016 MacArthur Fellow) Claudia Rankine to our campus. As the author of “Citizen: An America Lyric,” Rankine’s powerful reading and discussion of her work provided the anchor for our programming about public education and the role it plays in shaping the political citizen… (Maryland Humanities staff) were a constant source of encouragement and support–and we are proud to have been one of the projects that it recognized this year.”

    Dr. Kimberly Coles ~ Chair, Education and Citizenship Project Committee, University of Maryland College Park
  • “Without support from Maryland Humanities, we never could have put together an exhibit and programming at this scale. This support allowed us to cover many more writers, artists and musicians in the exhibit than we otherwise could have done. It enabled us to offer at lease 50 percent more programming than we could have done on our own. The funds also enabled us to promote the exhibit and programs to a wider market. Furthermore, knowing there was a chance for this grant to be awarded, we felt able to apply for (even more) support from the local cultural arts board… We are enormously grateful.”

    Carol Allen, Director for the Library & Hays-Heighe House, Harford Community College, Major Grant recipient
  • “This Maryland Humanities grant is absolutely vital to the mission of our non-profit organization devoted to archaeological research and public education. Simply put, we could not have carried out our ambitious exhibit projects without this much-appreciated support. Maryland Humanities has enabled us to share meaningful stories and engage audiences in innovative and creative ways. The platform they have provided strengthens our organization and the community we serve. Thank you!”

    Lost Towns Project, Inc., Major Grant recipient, Anne Arundel County
  • “It is difficult to properly express our gratitude to Maryland Humanities for the help and support that we received through the grant-making process and through the project…The support of (Maryland Humanities) was not in funding alone. By including a spot about the initiative in (their) Humanities Connection program on WYPR, Maryland Humanities did much to help promote our initiative and alert the general public about the program that we were running in the early months of the fall.”

    Dr. Kimberly Coles ~ Chair, Education and Citizenship Project Committee, University of Maryland College Park
  • “Funding from the Maryland Humanities to distribute our first publication allowed Wide Angle Youth Media to expand our reach and share youth voice in a way we have never done before. With your support, this project has not only been successful in programmatic outcomes, but has inspired and empowered young people, giving them the platform to become published artists and share their voices in our city and beyond.”

    Wide Angle Youth Media, Humanities Fund for Baltimore grantee, Baltimore City
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