Update on COVID-19 Stimulus Funding

Update, March 27, 2020: The House passed the supplemental funding bill today on a voice vote. The bill will now go to the president who is expected to sign it.

The supplemental funding bill that the Senate passed late last night provides $75 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and $50 million to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). It also extends forgivable Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to nonprofit organizations, such as museums, historic sites, independent libraries, and scholarly societies, with fewer than 500 employees to cover operational expenses.

The funding for the NEH is intended “to help local, state, and regional communities provide continued access to cultural organizations and institutions of learning,” as per the Senate Appropriations Committee’s summary of the bill. Sixty percent of the funds will be awarded as direct grants while the remaining 40 percent will be awarded to state humanities councils to grant to organizations in their states. According to the legislation, these grants can be used for general operating expenses and the agency’s general matching funds requirements may be waived.

The House is expected to pass the Senate package and the president is expected to sign the bill.

Thanks to all of you for reaching out to your Members of Congress and encouraging others to do so as well. We are particularly grateful to those of you in key districts and states who worked with us to send targeted notes to the Members of Congress most involved in the stimulus negotiations. We are also grateful to two key allies on the Hill, Representative David Price (D-NC) and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) who sent a letter to House leadership encouraging a robust investment in the NEH. 

As we learn more about the timing of forgivable SBA loans and NEH grant lines in the coming weeks, we will share the details with you to ensure that the humanities community benefits as much as possible from these funds. 

Given that the funding to the NEH falls short of what we believe is needed, we will continue to work with our allies in the House and Senate to push for additional stimulus funding for the humanities community in future legislation. Please stand by for additional opportunities to advocate for funding to support the humanities community!

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