Posts Tagged ‘CARES Act’

Wisconsin’s Cultural Organizations Lead the Way

Humanities Programs in Focus | May 13, 2020 | By:

REMINDER: Applications for our first round of Wisconsin Humanities CARES Relief Grants are due this Friday, May 15th at 4:30 PM. Stay tuned for information about the next deadline coming up this summer.

We are so impressed by the ways people around the state are stepping forward to meet today’s challenges. Maria Parrott-Ryan, the producer of Love Wisconsin, recently reached out to the executive director of the Neenah Historical Society to ask for her perspective during this extraordinary time. The Neenah Historical Society has received grants for many of their amazing public programs from the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

We found Jane’s optimism and ideas so inspiring we couldn’t wait to share her thoughts with you. Be sure to follow Love Wisconsin on Facebook to meet more extraordinary people from all over our great state.

“My family has roots in Neenah that go back to the mid-1800s. I was born and raised here, as was my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. My brother has always been the family historian, and he had written a book and came to town to do a presentation on it for the Neenah Historical Society. He said, ‘Why aren’t you involved in the Historical Society?’ because I’m the only one of our seven siblings who still live in Neenah.

I was too busy with raising kids, and I just hadn’t gotten involved with it yet. But now I’ve made up for it. I started as a volunteer, then I was on the board, and I’ve been the executive director for the past eight years.

What we strive to do is bring our history to life for the community. We try to tell inspiring and interesting stories that help people get a better perspective on today by looking at the past.

Right now, our exhibits are closed, and we had to cancel the history camp that we do for kids in the community. It’s heartbreaking, because those face-to-face opportunities with visitors and students—you can’t duplicate that with a virtual experience.

We will try to make a short video of the current exhibit, which we’re so proud of. It’s so timely: it’s all about the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. All of that has just disappeared, as far as what’s on people’s radar. They’re not thinking about it or celebrating it, which is a shame. We’re excited about our next exhibit, too, which is about the positive impact of immigration in our community. But now we’re trying to decide—do we make it virtual or not?

We try to have a very active Facebook page, and I love that it really demonstrates how much the community craves connection. They crave connection to the past, to the stories of the community, and to each other. We shared a story recently about the history of the rocket ship slide that used to be here at Riverside Park. That story reached almost 33,000 people. That’s more than the population of our city! That’s pretty cool. People really do crave connection to their community, so I love that we can use social media to do that.

It’s very important for us as cultural organizations to help our communities move forward from this pandemic. It’s great and wonderful and essential, obviously, for people to get back to work and be in the workplace. But organizations like ours provide something else. A community is not a good, strong, vibrant community without cultural institutions.

We always have been focused on the inspirational stories of our community, but I think it’ll be even more important moving forward. We have to be optimistic. How we can inspire people to be unafraid, and to know that we will get past this, and that we will learn from it? Maybe we’ll have a better perspective on how much our community means to us and how we can be better members of our community by helping each other and supporting each other.”

-Jane Lang, Executive Director, Neenah Historical Society

CARES Act and Books that Open Up Worlds

Humanities Programs in Focus | April 3, 2020 | By:

From the Director Dena Wortzel

In these tough times, I’m happy to share some hopeful news. Financial help is coming for nonprofits who work in the humanities! Last week we learned that $75 million is set aside for the National Endowment for the Humanities, of the roughly $2 trillion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the “CARES Act.” Some of these NEH funds will be distributed to state humanities councils like the WHC, to help us respond in our states. We are so grateful to our legislators for understanding the vital role that our cultural organizations play in lifting us up as individuals, and in sustaining our communities.

As I write, we don’t know when we will receive these emergency funds or how much we will receive. And while we are hopeful, the news from organizations around the state about the impact of the virus is sobering. No amount that we receive will meet the need among all the nonprofits who bring the humanities to communities throughout Wisconsin.

I can tell you this about whatever emergency funding we receive:

  • No CARES funds will be used for WHC overhead. 100% will directly serve communities throughout Wisconsin.
  • No grants that we award with CARES funds will require matching funds from grant recipients.

Once we have CARES funds in hand, we will work as fast as possible to start making grants to eligible nonprofit organizations.

So please subscribe to our ENewsletter to get future emails from me and check Facebook regularly. We will make a general announcement as soon as we have funds available and a process in place with clear information on eligibility, funding criteria, and as simple an application process as we can manage given federal requirements.  In the meantime, we will do our best to answer questions but please refer to the website before contacting us if your question is about CARES or other grants.  The website will always have the most current information on funding opportunities.

Be well, and thank you for being with us in these truly difficult times.





P.S.  I’ll be in touch over the coming weeks, but don’t hesitate to contact me via email anytime. Meanwhile, all administrative processes related to our regular grant program are continuing normally.


It is books that are the key to the wide world; if you can’t do anything else, read all that you can. — Jane Hamilton

Many of us are wondering what we can do…to keep sane, keep ourselves entertained, and keep engaged with the wide world right now. When in doubt, we say, pick up a book.

So we asked for some recommendations. Here are three+ that we hope will point a new direction in your literary explorations!

Thanks to Maria Parrot-Ryan, Roberta Maguire, and Joe Salmons for sharing. Please be in touch if you have a book recommendation to share!