Wisconsin’s humanities and cultural organizations can apply now for grants of up to $7,500 to help them cope with financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Wisconsin Humanities CARES Relief Grant program distributed just over $300,000 in its first round of grants earlier this month.  A second grant round opened that will make awards totaling about $240,000.

These grants are being distributed by the Wisconsin Humanities Council as authorized by the federal CARES Act via the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"We’re grateful we can help so many of the state’s cultural organizations struggling to deal with closures and lost revenue," Executive Director of the Wisconsin Humanities Council Dena Wortzel said. “These organizations — such as museums, libraries and cultural centers — often operate on a shoestring but are the heart and soul of their communities, as well as significant economic contributors.”

Extended closures and social distancing due to the pandemic have devastated local humanities and cultural organizations that often depend on admission fees and public donations for their operating revenue. Many have furloughed employees or closed for the season. Wisconsin Humanities CARES Relief Grants help cover salaries, rent, utilities, the purchase of personal protective equipment, and other critical expenses.

The Wisconsin Humanities CARES Relief Grant application deadline is July 15 and award decisions will be made within 15 business days.

To be eligible, applicants must be nonprofit organizations located in Wisconsin that provide public humanities programming as a significant part of their mission. According to the Wisconsin Humanities Council, the humanities are defined as “the ideas and knowledge about human history and culture that help make sense of one’s life.”

Fields in the humanities include archaeology, cultural anthropology, ethnic studies, folklore, history, linguistics, literature, philosophy, religious studies, social sciences, and the history, theory, and criticism of the arts.  The grants are intended for smaller organizations with annual expenses of $500,000 or less and will support nonprofits’ general operating costs rather than specific projects or initiatives.

For more details on eligibility, interested organizations should go to www.wisconsinhumanitiescares.org.

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