Mass Humanities to support nonprofit cultural institutions facing economic impact of COVID-19
The humanities face unprecedented challenges due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus. A recent survey by the Mass Cultural Council (MCC) found more than $260 million in lost revenue in the cultural sector, with thousands of jobs impacted as a result of the pandemic. Due to lost admission and cancelled fundraisers, Massachusetts museums, libraries, archives and cultural centers have laid off or furloughed staff. The economic fallout continues to threaten the survival of institutions of all sizes.
Help is on the way. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) each received $75 million from the $2 trillion CARES Act legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last month. As the state affiliate of NEH, Mass Humanities received funds to provide grants for unrestricted operating support to the smallest and most vulnerable institutions.
Applications for CARES Act grants will open on May 4 at MassHumanities.org.
We see these grants as lifelines to the working people who power the cultural life of the Commonwealth. Every library has employees whose families depend on their paychecks. When it’s time to rebuild our lives, every community can turn to museums and historic sites as sources of strength. Our partners at NEH have called on us to serve the grassroots organizations that are so vital to our quality of life in Massachusetts. We intend to reach every corner of the state with the funds available.
Mass Humanities will award grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, depending on the size of the organization’s operating budget. Eligible organizations will be evaluated on the audiences they serve, the centrality of the humanities to their mission, and the financial losses incurred by COVID-19. Priority will be given to organizations with annual budgets of less than $300,000.
All grants will be approved by a subcommittee of the Mass Humanities board of directors, with consideration given to geographic distribution and the range of organizations that apply. Mass Humanities will award grants on a rolling basis until the CARES Act funds are expended.
In addition to providing the funding for the Mass Humanities grants, NEH announced this week that it will offer grants of up to $300,000 to sustain humanities organizations and preserve jobs in the cultural sector. Visit NEH.gov for more info.
Through support from NEH and MCC, Mass Humanities has awarded more than $1.7 million in grants to nonprofit organizations over the last three years.
Interested organizations can visit MassHumanities.org/Cares-Act to preview the application, learn more about eligibility, and find additional resources.
Brian Boyles is Executive Director of Mass Humanities.
ABOUT MASS HUMANITIES
Mass Humanities, a non-profit based in Northampton, conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life throughout Massachusetts. Since its founding in 1974, the organization has provided millions of dollars in support of thousands of humanities projects across the Commonwealth. Established as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Mass Humanities is an independent programming and grant-making organization that receives support from the NEH and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as private sources.