WASHINGTON, D.C — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will receive $75 million in supplemental funding to assist cultural institutions affected by the coronavirus as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act economic stabilization plan appropriated by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump.
“Our federal agency will work around the clock to ensure that these vital funds immediately reach large and small cultural organizations, as well as educators, curators, scholars, filmmakers, and other humanists,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “Telecommuting from more than 150 residences,” said Chairman Peede,” the NEH staff are committed to doing their part to help sustain the $878-billion arts and cultural economic sector, which accounts for 4.5% of our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).”
As detailed in the Supplemental Funding FAQ on the NEH website, this emergency funding will support 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. Anchoring the domestic creative economy, museums and historic sites are reporting losses of $1 billion a month as education programs, exhibitions, festivals, and other events have been canceled.
Approximately 40% of the appropriation, or $30 million, will go directly to the 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils to support local cultural nonprofits and educational programming. Through the re-granting of federal support, the councils reach an estimated annual audience of 137 million people across the world.
NEH and its national humanities partners will work together to contextualize the global impact of the coronavirus in relation to other cataclysmic events, such as plagues, natural disasters, and world wars that significantly altered human society.
“It is through the humanities that we rediscover generation after generation ‘the better angels of our nature,’ to quote President Lincoln from another time of turmoil. Indeed, it is through the humanities that we preserve such words—and, on our best days, embody them,” Chairman Peede said. “To the extent that healing is to come during and after this pandemic, it will be through humanities fields from philosophy to literature to history to religious studies (through the act of documenting, preserving, sharing, and reflecting) that our communities will move toward a greater sense of wholeness.”
The $75 million supplemental funding is in addition to NEH’s FY20 appropriation of $162.25 million.