The CA CARES Humanities Relief and Recovery Grants supported public humanities organizations and humanities practitioners that had experienced a decrease or loss of revenue, programming opportunities, loss of paid staff, or venues as a result of COVID-19. California Humanities supported 252 nonprofit and individual grantees with over $1.5 million in grant funding with the CA CARES grants.

Supported in part by the CARES Act and the State of California through the California State Library, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the CA CARES grants were allocated to capacity-building activities and operational support by humanities provider organizations and individuals across the state. More than 1,250 applications were submitted for the competitive awards, which ranged from $2,000 to $20,000, providing much-needed funds to assist the public humanities sector during the pandemic.

“These CA CARES grants assisted those who provide vital learning and cultural experiences through public humanities programming across California who face challenges due to COVID-19,” said Julie Fry, President and CEO of California Humanities, upon the distribution of the Relief and Recovery Grants. “These funds help communities flourish through ongoing work in the public humanities field.”

Institutional grantees included museums, cultural associations, libraries, media institutes, and historical societies working to adapt their in-person offerings to a virtual format and adjust to the other exigencies of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since March 2020, the pandemic “has required all of us to rethink the way we do our work, while trusting that the public humanities field is one of deep resilience and innovation,” said Fry, noting that the CA CARES grants “have helped us to meet the moment, responding to constituent needs while at the same time driving demand and resources for content and connection.”