Deadline approaching for up to $20,000 in recovery grants for the humanities

September 20, 2021

October 1st is the deadline for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s (PHC’s) $1.2 million statewide recovery and growth program. Called PA SHARP (Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan), the initiative provides up to $20,000 in flexible funding to strengthen and grow the humanities. Pennsylvania organizations with a humanities-based mission and organizations conducting humanities programming are eligible to apply.

“Throughout the on-going pandemic, the humanities took the lead in inspiring learning and keeping us connected, resilient, and healing in communities large and small across the state,”  said Laurie Zierer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. “Through PA SHARP we have the opportunity to build on this essential recovery work by reimagining the possibilities of the humanities through core support of our historic sites, public libraries, and museums and creative programming by cultural producers at the local level.”

Funding for PA SHARP comes from PHC’s federal partner, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Recognizing the financial realities of the pandemic and the vital importance of the humanities to economic and civic life, this legislation allocated to the NEH funds to “prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the coronavirus.” 

“With so many of our nation’s cultural and educational institutions reeling from the economic fallout of the pandemic, NEH’s state and jurisdictional humanities partners are on the front lines of the crisis, adapting and responding to urgent needs within their states and communities to shore up the humanities organizations and resources that enrich the lives of so many citizens,” said NEH Acting Chairman Adam Wolfson. “NEH is grateful to our state and jurisdictional partners for joining us in this effort to quickly distribute American Rescue Plan relief funding to where it is most needed.” 

In addition to providing recovery funds, PHC will partner with grantees on the development of a statewide support network that fosters resource sharing, professional development, and mutual support. The PA SHARP Learning Network will address the urgent need for the humanities by bringing together people passionate about creating inclusive, engaged communities and ready to lead the statewide recovery alongside PHC.

PA SHARP is an expansion of PHC’s previous recovery work, beginning when the coronavirus pandemic first affected business operations. In 2020, PHC rapidly responded by reallocating its program funding for emergency support through Pop-Up Grants for Cultural Producers and then later distributed an additional $780,500 through PHC CARES, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. In finding the most effective ways to meet the emerging and continuing needs of the humanities in Pennsylvania, PHC developed relevant and accessible webinars, educational programs, and learning networks. 

The PA SHARP grant portal is open and applications are due by midnight on October 1, 2021. PHC is committed to equitable grantmaking and will be considering geographic diversity and the importance of reaching underrepresented communities in its funding decisions. For more information, including grant guidelines, frequently asked questions, and a preview application, visit

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