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.

We are now accepting applications to our $500,000 CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants Fund. The goal of this new 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.

A minimum of 50 and a maximum of 100 grants will be awarded. The minimum grant award will be $5,000 and the maximum grant award will be $10,000. Applications will be competitively reviewed with a focus on both need and geographic location in an effort to disperse funds to all regions of the state. All grant awards will be for the same amount.

Applications will be accepted May 1–11 or upon receipt of 125 applications, whichever occurs first. Applicants will be notified of the decision on May 30.

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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.

Process

  • 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

Restrictions

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.

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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 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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
info@mdhumanities.org
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