National Endowment for the Humanities Awards Covid Relief Grants

The New York Public Library, the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in Charlottesville, Virginia, are among more than 300 recipients of new National Endowment for the Humanities Covid Relief Grants announced Monday.

The grants, which total $ 87.8 million and are backed by $ 135 million in endowment funds under the American Rescue Plan Act which was enacted in March, will provide emergency aid to help offset financial losses from the pandemic at museums, libraries, universities and historic sites in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The endowment distributed the first $ 52.6 million in June.

Adam Wolfson, interim president of the foundation, said in a statement that grants, which can reach $ 500,000 for organizations and $ 5 million for grant programs that distribute funds to organizations, “will save thousands of dollars. jobs in the human sciences placed at risk of pandemic and contribute to the economic recovery of cultural and educational institutions and those they serve. “

Cultural and educational institutions will receive a total of $ 59 million in endowment, and 13 granting agencies will receive $ 28.8 million to distribute to humanities projects undertaken by organizations or individuals.

The funding, designed to enable organizations to retain and rehire staff, as well as rebuild programs and projects disrupted by the pandemic, will allow the Thomas Jefferson Foundation to develop an African-American oral history project in Monticello, the plantation where the former president lived. until his death in 1826; enable the New York Public Library to expand its digital collection of African-American, African and African diaspora materials; and support the creation of hands-on experiences and virtual programs on the Navy ship anchored in Boston at the USS Constitution Museum.

In New York City, 33 of the state’s cultural organizations and three grantmaking programs will receive a total of $ 16.2 million. Funding will support expanded access to materials by historically under-represented artists in the library collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; hiring a videographer at the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation to document the legacy of theater, with a focus on African and African American culture; and planning for the Museum of the City of New York’s centennial year in 2023. Firelight Media, a nonprofit that supports filmmakers of color, will also receive $ 2 million for a grant program for 36 filmmakers blacks, natives and of color whose work on documentary projects have been disrupted by the pandemic.

Elsewhere, the grants will allow both Old North Church in Boston and Christ Church in Philadelphia to investigate their links to the colonial slave trade, the Coushatta tribe of Louisiana to design an immersive living history experience to present to students. visitors about their history and culture, and the Willa Cather Foundation in Red Cloud, Neb., to develop tours about the writer whose novels explore the lives of early pioneers there.

About 90 colleges and universities have received funding to support their humanities programs and departments: Seattle Central College adjunct faculty will work with local tribal representatives to revise history and literature courses to incorporate Indigenous perspectives , the University of Oklahoma Press will develop a new Native American imprint in collaboration with the university’s Native Nations Center and East Tennessee State University, retain and rehire staff to support free online access to materials documenting the history of the southern Appalachians.


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