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The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) program Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan, or SHARP, provides funds to nonprofit organizations in need and to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the coronavirus. These SHARP Grants will help support the recovery and revitalization of museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, and other nonprofits impacted by the pandemic in Virginia. We thank the NEH and NEH Acting Chairman Adam Wolfson for their belief in the importance of the public humanities and your work.

Virginia Humanities will distribute more than $900,000 to humanities and cultural nonprofits across Virginia as part of the American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress in March 2021. The $1.9 trillion aid package included $135 million for the NEH, approximately $51.6 million of which went to fifty-six state and territorial humanities councils, including Virginia.

Deadlines and Notifications

  • Applications Open: Monday, July 12, 2021 at Noon (EST)
  • Applications Close: Monday, August 16, 2021 at 5:00 PM (EST)
  • Decisions: Monday, September 20, 2021 at 5:00 PM (EST)

Work on the grant must be completed by November 30, 2022.

For more information or questions contact Sue Perdue.

Virginia Humanities SHARP Grant Guidelines

Virginia Humanities anticipates making 111 awards across four tiers of funding to humanities organizations who need general operating support and to non-humanities organizations planning humanities programming.

  • Tier 1: $4,000
  • Tier 2: $8,000
  • Tier 3: $14,000
  • Tier 4: $20,000

Virginia museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, and other nonprofits impacted by the pandemic can request up to the dollar amount in each tier. Applicants should select a grant amount that reflects their overall organization size and internal capacity to support the following.

  • Strategic planning and capacity building efforts related to preparing, responding to, and recovering from the coronavirus (e.g., professional planning)
  • Technical/consultant needs related to digital transition or in support of preservation and access programs (equipment cannot exceed 20% of the award).
  • Expansion, due to the effects of the coronavirus, of outdoor and virtual humanities programming and engagement or similar activities to transition from traditional environments to those that are more accessible.
  • Equity assessments and planning related to the coronavirus and the economic crisis.
  • Humanities programming: for all applicants including non-humanities organizations who plan humanities related programming.

Use of Funds

Your application should address how your organization has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus. You may apply for funds in more than one of the categories listed above. General operating costs can be used as the applicant sees fit for rent, administration, personnel, operating expenses, etc. There are, however, restrictions on how organizations can use general operating funds; for example, organizations cannot use these funds for alcohol, lobbying, international travel, or exclusively for equipment.

Who is Eligible?

  • Non-profits recognized 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service with IRS tax-exempt status for at least one year prior to the application deadline
  • 501(c)(3) institutions of higher education
  • Government agencies (federal, state, local)
  • Federally recognized Native American tribal governments
  • Organizations with a primary mission that is humanities-focused and offer publicly accessible humanities programs serving Virginians (NEH’s definition of the humanities can be found at the bottom of this page.)
  • Organizations whose primary mission involves the creative or performing arts
  • Organizations that received CARES funding in 2020. Applying for or receiving other federal COVID grants does not affect your ability to receive a Virginia Humanities SHARP Grant. 
  • Organizations that maintain a primary business address in Virginia

Who is Not Eligible?

  • Institutions of higher education and/or their departments
  • Religious organizations or organizations receiving a significant portion of their funding from a religious organization
  • Public, private, or parochial schools
  • For-profit organizations
  • Individuals
  • Nonprofit charitable organizations designated as private foundations by the Internal Revenue Service
  • Fiscally-sponsored groups or advocacy organizations.

Evaluation Criteria for Virginia Humanities SHARP grants

Please see the SHARP Grant FAQ for more information on how applications will be evaluated.

How to Apply for a SHARP Grant

Complete the online application where you will be asked to set up an account.

Need help registering in the Foundant application system?  Watch this video tutorial on how to apply using our online application system. This is a very easy to follow 3.5 minute video guiding you through the system

Ensure that you have a DUNS number. If you do not, you will need to get one as required by the National Endowment for the Humanities, in order to receive funding. The  Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) may be registered for here. There is no cost to register. Please note that it can take up to two weeks to receive a DUNS number.

SHARP Applications will be open in the Virginia Humanities online system hosted by Foundant on Monday July 12 at Noon. A preview of the application is available in PDF format.


Virtual Office Hours

We will be hosting a series of virtual Zoom meetings about the SHARP Grant program. We will give an overview of the application process in the first twenty minutes followed by time for Q&A. These sessions will run for one hour each, or as long as questions remain. You will need to register for these sessions. Attendance at the sessions is not required for applicants but intended as help sessions and to answer questions.

  • Session 1: Thursday, July 15 at 10:00 AM EST Watch »
  • Session 2: Monday, July 19 at 10:00 AM EST Watch »