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Published April 20, 2020

Note: The application deadline for this program was April 30, 2020

Virginia Humanities is now accepting applications from museums, historic sites, and other humanities-based nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 health crisis to cover emergency operating expenses.

Approximately $591,000 will be awarded to organizations across Virginia as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed by Congress in March.

To be eligible, an organization must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a recognized 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service and have that IRS tax-exempt status for at least one year prior to the application deadline
  • Have a primary mission that is humanities-focused and offer publicly accessible humanities programs serving Virginians
  • Maintain a primary business address in Virginia
  • Employ at least one full or part-time staff member or contract employee
  • Have a current Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number (apply through Grants.gov)

The CARES Act funds will be distributed to all eligible organizations that apply. The final amount of each award will be based on averaged annual operating budget (3 fiscal years) and will depend on how many applications are received. Based on data collected online through a needs-based survey, estimated awards are as follows:

  • Level 1: Up to $1,000 – Organizations with an operating budget of under $40,000 and below
  • Level 2: Up to $2,000 – Organizations with an operating budget of $40,000 – $100,000
  • Level 3: Up to $4,000 – Organizations with an operating budget of $100,000 – $500,000
  • Level 4: Up to $7,500 – Organizations with an operating budget of $500,000 – $1 Million
  • Level 5: Up to $10,000 – Organizations with an operating budget of over $1 Million

“Small cultural institutions, museums, and historical societies are at the center of so many communities across Virginia,” said Virginia Humanities’ executive director, Matthew Gibson. “And right now, many of them are struggling to keep the lights on and pay their staff. We want to get these funds out to as many organizations as possible, as quickly as possible.”

Virginia Humanities received a total of $601,000 through the CARES Act. Less than 2% ($10,000) will be used to administer the grants and distribute the funds. 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 every effort is being made to lower the barriers to accessing these funds.

Organizations can view the official grant guidelines and apply online at VirginiaHumanities.org/grants. Applications must be received by 5:00 PM April 30. Awards will be announced in May.

Vanessa Adkins, right, is apprenticing under her cousin Jessica Canaday Stewart learning the finer points of traditional Chickahominy dancing. Photos taken at the Fall Festival and Pow Wow in Charles City on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.

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