CARES Act Grants

frequently asked questions

Updated August 14th, 2020 with new deadlines and funding tiers.

What are CARES Act grants?

These grants are a result of funding received from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This funding is specifically provided to support humanities-based organizations affected by COVID-19.

Who may apply for these grants?

In order to apply for these grants, an organization must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a recognized 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service, educational institution, or local, state, or tribal government. For profit organizations are not eligible.
  • Have a primary mission that is humanities-focused and offer publicly accessible humanities programs serving Idahoans. The NEH has defined the humanities as including (but not limited to) history, literature, languages, jurisprudence, philosophy, comparative religion, archaeology, ethics, the social sciences when they employ humanistic perspectives, and the history, theory, and criticism of the arts.
  • Maintain a primary business address in Idaho
  • Have a current Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number

What can the funding be used towards?

These funds may be used for the organization’s general operating support for public humanities programming as well as the development of specific humanities programming in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Allowable costs include: salaries; rent; utilities; equipment needed to provide virtual humanities programming (e.g. computers w/cameras, Zoom or other virtual platform subscriptions, etc.); and scholar honoraria and other costs associated with programming that explores the impacts of and responses to COVID-19 on Idaho.

Are there restrictions on funding?

Yes.  The following costs are not allowed:

  • advocacy of a particular program of social or political action
  • support of specific public policies or legislation
  • lobbying
  • purchase of land or facilities, construction or renovation
  • projects that fall outside of the humanities (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, autobiographies, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and empirically based social science research or policy studies)

Does the grant require cost share?

No.  Cost share is not required for CARES Act grants but it is welcomed.  Recipients will be allowed to provide this information in the final report but it is not a requirement for funding.

How will funding be determined?

The CARES Act funds will be distributed to eligible organizations only. The final amount of each award will be based on the organization’s annual operating budget and will depend on how many applications are received.

What are the award amounts?

Funding will be determined on an eligible organizations annual operating budget.  The maximum funding levels are as follows:

Operating Budget under $100,000                                             $2,500

Operating Budget under $500,000                                             $5,000

Operating Budget under $1,000,000                                          $7,500

Operating Budget over $1,000,000                                            $10,000

Operating Budget over $2,000,000                                           $15,000

We don’t use the word “humanities” in our mission statement. Is that a problem?

No, However, to be eligible you must do a significant amount of humanities programming.

How do I know if my organization is doing “significant” humanities programming?

Please describe your programming as requested in the application and make your case.

My museum/library/historical society is attached to the city government. Are we eligible?

Some museums and libraries are affiliated with units of local or Tribal government. These organizations are eligible for funding and are not required to have 501(c)3 status, however all other eligibility criteria are required. If your museum or library has a foundation or friends group with 501(c)3 status, they may apply on behalf of your library or museum. Eligibility is based on criteria for the museum or library, not the support organization.

We’ve had 501(c)(3) status for a long time but just began operations in Idaho. Are we eligible?

To be eligible, an organization must be physically based in Idaho and have been in operation for at least two years.

Is my organization eligible if we also get funding from the Idaho Commission on the Arts?

Organizations that apply for Idaho Commission on the Arts funding are also eligible to apply for Idaho Humanities Council CARES grants.

My organization is attached to the University but not technically a department. Are we eligible?

If your organization has its own 501(c)3 that is not associated with a college or university it is eligible.

How does my organization apply?

Applications will be submitted via IHC’s online grants management system.  If you do not have an account, you can create one by clicking the “Create New Account” button here.

How long does it take to complete the application?

We estimate that the application should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

When will I learn if I receive the funds?

You should know the results 2-4 weeks after the application due date.

What are the application deadlines?

September 15th, and October 15th*.

*Dependent on funding availability.

I have received a CARES Act Grant from IHC. Can I apply for another grant?

Yes.  You may apply for another CARES Act Grant if you have completed your project and successfully submitted your final report.  Please note that preference may be given to first time applicants over those submitting a second request.

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

Please contact Doug Exton, IHC Program Officer, with any questions regarding the application process.  His e-mail is