Wisconsin Humanities CARES Relief Grant

The second round of CARES grant funding is open. Applications are due July 15. The Wisconsin Humanities Council is providing rapid-response funding to nonprofit humanities and cultural organizations that are facing financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 coronavirus. Funding for these grants has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan.

We were honored to issue more than $300,000 to 49 organizations that conduct programming in the humanities in the first grant round.


The Grants

  • Grants of up to $7,500 are offered to nonprofit 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 funding for a humanities project may apply for a WHC Mini or Major grant.)
  • No matching funds are required.


To be eligible for a Wisconsin Humanities CARES Relief Grant, 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. Note that government-affiliated or tribal government-affiliated libraries and museums, and the foundations or friends groups associated with libraries and museums, ARE eligible for funding.
  • 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 the COVID-19. Hardship includes, but is not limited to the reduction, loss or furlough of paid staff or a 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 (libraries and museums, and the foundations or friends groups associated with libraries and museums, ARE eligible for funding)
  • Universities, colleges, or academic departments
  • PK-12 institutions

Deadlines and Application Process

  • The round 2 grant application will open June 15 and close July 15.
  • Applications will be reviewed and decisions made within 15 business days of the July 15 deadline.
  • Completing the application SHOULD TAKE ABOUT 1 hour AFTER YOU HAVE READ THE GUIDELINES. You must read the guidelines to successfully complete your application. You will be asked to certify its accuracy when submitting it.

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.


We’re Here to Help

Please review what you’ll need to have ready before beginning the application process. You can expect the application to take about an hour to complete.

(And if you need funds for public humanities project expenses, check out the Wisconsin Humanities Council’s mini and major grants!)