Pennsylvania Humanities Council Announces $780,500 in Emergency Relief Grants

August 4, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA (August 4, 2020) — Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) today announced $780,500 in emergency relief grants to 140 Pennsylvania cultural nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Called PHC CARES, the goal of this fund is to assist in sustaining the state’s cultural infrastructure by advancing humanities programs, helping organizations adapt to site closures and the cancellation of in-person events that bring people together and support local economies.

PHC assembled a diverse team of 44 cultural professionals who reviewed a total of 313 applications. Award amounts ranged from $3,000 to $10,000, scaled to each organization’s average annual operating budget. The recipients represent museums, historical societies, libraries, and other vital cultural institutions in 57 counties across Pennsylvania. They were carefully selected with an emphasis on equity and geographic diversity.

The applicants to PHC CARES reported losses totaling $44.6 million, highlighting the deep and persistent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite facing unprecedented hardship, Pennsylvania’s resilient and creative cultural organizations continue to provide important services and programs to our communities,” said Laurie Zierer, PHC’s executive director. “PHC CARES will help sustain this vital cultural infrastructure at a time when it is needed most.”

PHC CARES is funded by the national Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which became law on March 27, 2020. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) received funding allocated to the 56 humanities councils in the United States, including PHC, to distribute to humanities-based nonprofits financially impacted by the coronavirus. PHC CARES complements the $2.4 million in CARES Act funding previously provided to Pennsylvania by the NEH.

The 140 PHC CARES awards will help organizations continue to serve their communities by retaining staff, shifting to online formats, and making resources available to those who depend on them for education, connection, and inspiration.

“The collective impact of the hundreds of small cultural and heritage organizations across Pennsylvania is often overlooked. But the work we do is vital to the economic and social well-being of the communities we serve, and so we are honored to be among the recipients of this CARES Act funding,” said Michael L. Norris, executive director of The Carpenters’ Company. “This grant will help to keep Carpenters’ Hall financially sound and flexible as we continue to adapt to the systemic changes COVID-19 has wrought and find new, creative ways to fulfill our mission.”

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