Wisconsin Humanities CARES Act Relief Grants

UPDATED 4/24/2020:

We’re thrilled that Congress has provided CARES Act emergency funding for the humanities.

Click here to find eligibility and application information.

POSTED 4/17/2020:

The Wisconsin Humanities Council will be providing rapid-response funding to non-profit humanities and cultural organizations that are facing financial hardship resulting from COVID-19. These grants are funded by the federal CARES Act via the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Deadlines and application process

The application will be available next week. We will share information on the Wisconsin Humanities Council website, on Facebook, and in our E-Newsletter.

  • The first deadline is 4:30pm on May 15 with additional deadlines to follow.
  • Applications will be reviewed and decisions announced via email within 15 days of the application deadline.
  • In the interest of speed, WHC staff are not able to review drafts of Wisconsin Humanities CARES applications.  Questions about the application may be directed to Meg Turville-Heitz.

Things to know NOW about CARES Act Relief Grants in Wisconsin 

• Grants of up to $10,000 will be available to non-profit organizations across Wisconsin that provide humanities programming as a significant part of their mission and that are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
• Grants are available for general operating expenses only. These include expenses such as salaries, rent, utilities, supplies, and equipment. (Organizations seeking humanities program support should apply for a WHC Mini or Major grant.
• No matching funds are required.


To be eligible for Wisconsin Humanities CARES Relief Grants, an organization must:

  • Provide humanities programming to the general public as a significant part of its mission (see humanities defined here)
  • Have been in continuous operation for at least two years as a tax exempt 501(c)3 organization as certified by the Internal Revenue Service. Check IRS status here.
  • Be physically located in Wisconsin and have Wisconsin residents as its primary audience
  • Have at least one staff member (full or part-time) who is a paid employee of the organization
  • Have total annual expenses of not more than $500,000 in the most recent fiscal year OR have no more than $500,000 as the average of the past three completed fiscal years. (Expenses include all operating, overhead and programmatic expenses for the organization.)
  • Be experiencing financial hardship due to the effects of COVID-19. (Hardship includes, but is not limited to reduction, loss or furlough of paid staff or significant loss of revenue.)

Not eligible for funding:

  • Individuals
  • For-profit organizations
  • Organizations with annual budgets of more than $500,000 (organizations with larger budgets may be eligible for funding directly from the National Endowment for the Humanities)
  • Organizations solely focused on the arts
  • Political or advocacy organizations
  • Government agencies (foundations and friends groups associates with libraries and museums ARE eligible for funding)
  • Universities, colleges, or academic departments
  • K-12 institutions

Funding priorities:

  • Support cultural organizations that provide humanities programming and that are facing hardship due to closures and economic impacts related to COVID-19
  • Assist organizations in all regions of Wisconsin

Other requirements to be aware of as you prepare to apply:

  • As required by federal guidelines, applicants must have a DUNS number in order to receive funds. A DUNS number can take up to two business days to receive. For instructions on acquiring a DUNS number immediately via telephone please see information here. You may also acquire a DUNS number from the DUNS Request Service website.
  • Applicants must upload a SIGNED W-9 form at the time that your application is submitted.




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