Wisconsin Humanities CARES Relief Grant

The first CARES grant round closed May 15. Round 2 will open in June and applications will be due in July. Click here to be notified of the next CARES grant round. Applicants in the first round will be notified of funding decisions via email by June 5.

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.


The Grants

  • Grants of up to $10,000 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 your organization’s IRS status here). Note that 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
  • K-12 institutions

Deadlines and Application Process

  • The first CARES grant round closed May 15. A round 2 July application deadline will be announced in early June.
  • Applications will be reviewed and decisions made within 15 business days of application 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.