New relief grants available for North Carolina organizations affected by coronavirus

$628,300 in grants will be made to historical societies, museums, and other humanities-focused groups

CHARLOTTE, NC (May 12, 2020) – The North Carolina Humanities Council is accepting applications for more than $600,000 in emergency grants to support nonprofit cultural organizations in the state experiencing hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“NC CARES: Humanities Relief Grants” will be awarded to humanities-focused organizations to maintain their existing humanities programming and services and to innovate, adapt, and strengthen access to humanities programming and services affected by the pandemic. Eligible organizations can use funding for expenses such as staff salaries; general operating costs which support humanities programming; and digitizing collections to make them available online.

“The North Carolina Humanities Council is launching ‘NC CARES: Humanities Relief Grants’ to support as many cultural organizations as possible during this crisis,” said Sherry Paula Watkins, Executive Director of North Carolina Humanities Council. “This represents the largest amount of funding from a single initiative that the Council will have disbursed to cultural organizations in recent years.”

Award amounts will range from $5,000-$20,000 with priority being given to eligible organizations located in or serving rural communities, organizations serving traditionally under-resourced groups, and organizations that do not receive significant public funding. Grant applications will be accepted May 13-29, 2020. Application and eligibility requirements are now available at

The North Carolina Humanities Council received $628,300 for the grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in late March. The entire amount will be distributed as grants to provide on-the-ground support to organizations such as historical sites and museums and is over and above North Carolina Humanities Council’s normal grant funding opportunities. 

“As Co-Chair of the Congressional Humanities Caucus, I am pleased that the North Carolina Humanities Council will receive over $600,000 in funding from CARES Act to distribute to grantees across the state,” said Congressman David Price (NC-4). “State stay-at-home orders and other impacts of COVID-19 have created significant strain on key cultural, social, and historical institutions, many of which provide critical economic and educational resources across North Carolina. With this funding, humanities-focused organizations will receive the support necessary to continue to meet the needs of students, educators, and our communities as we adapt to new challenges posed by the pandemic.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) received $75 million to assist cultural institutions affected by the coronavirus as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020. Of that, nearly $30 million, or a total of 40%, was allocated between the 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils to support local cultural nonprofits and programming.

“In troubled times, people often turn to the humanities for inspiration, comfort, and knowledge. We hope these grants will ensure that the humanities and those who serve in the sector continue to be a resource for North Carolinians now and after the pandemic,” Watkins said.

The North Carolina Humanities Council is committed to maximizing the impact of “NC CARES: Humanities Relief Grants” funding in North Carolina.

For questions about the grants program, contact Caitlin Patton Stanley, Director of Programs and Operations, at

Press contact: Melanie Moore Richeson, North Carolina Humanities Council
(704) 687-1520,

About North Carolina Humanities Council:

The North Carolina Humanities Council is a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through grant-making and public humanities programs, the Council serves as an advocate for lifelong learning and thoughtful dialogue about our shared human experience. The Council operates the North Carolina Center for the Book, an affiliate program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. To learn more visit