Home / Programs & Initiatives / Past Programs / CA CARES: Humanities Relief and Recovery Grants

CA CARES: Humanities Relief and Recovery Grants

Image: Prayitno (CC BY 2.0).

In recognition that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on the public humanities field across the state, California Humanities will direct funds from the federal CARES Act, through the National Endowment for the Humanities, to meet the emergency relief needs of organizations and individuals in order to help sustain and grow the public humanities field in California.

In keeping with California Humanities’ mission to connect Californians to ideas and one another in order to understand our shared heritage and diverse cultures, inspire civic participation, and shape our future, California Humanities relief and recovery grants aim to provide support to organizations that have experienced the cancellation of their public humanities activities due to a decrease or loss of revenue, programming opportunities, loss of paid staff, or venues as a result of COVID-19, as well as to humanities practitioners who are facing financial hardship.

Funding from the State of California will provide capacity-building recovery grants to assist organizations as they consider new approaches to public humanities programming and organizational strength.

Eligible individuals and organizations applicant organizations must demonstrate a track record for supporting rich and engaging public humanities work that is accessible to the people of California. 


Grant Round Application Open Award Date
CA CARES: Relief Grants for Individuals Round 1: May 5 to May 15 (5pm)
Round 2: May 21 to June 15 (5pm) 
Round 1: June 1
Round 2: July 1
CA CARES Relief Grants for Organizations Round 1: May 5 to May 15 (5pm)
Round 2: May 21 to June 15 (5pm)
Round 1: June 1
Round 2: July 1
CA CARES Recovery Grants May 5 to June 10 (5pm) July 10


FAQs for all grant lines can be found here: 



Applicant Webinar
A recording of the May 8 CA CARES Webinar in now available on YouTube:  

Watch the May 8 CA CARES: Humanities Relief and Recovery Grants Webinar

Weren’t able to join? Please join us for a second CA CARES: Humanities Relief and Recovery Grants webinar on Tuesday, May 12 from 11am to 12pm. You are invited to join California Humanities at the webinar and learn how to apply for our new CA CARES grants. Registration is required. All details can be found at:
Register for the May 12 CA CARES: Humanities Relief and Recovery Grants Webinar

CA CARES: Humanities Relief Grants  for Individuals

California CARES Relief Grants for individuals aim to provide general operating support to individuals whose work in the public humanities is currently impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Applicants may request $2,000 in unrestricted general support funds.

Applications will be accepted from individuals whose work in the public humanities is currently impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants must be able to demonstrate: 

  • A track record of work within the public humanities field for at least the prior two years (e.g., humanities programming, publicly engaged scholarship, humanities-based content creation, etc.); 
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through either: 
    • Economic hardship due to loss of income as a furloughed, laid-off, or independently self-employed humanities practitioner; 
    • Loss of programming opportunities and revenue sources, or unanticipated expenses incurred due to cancelled or modified programming or project activities (e.g., adapting in-person programming to virtual); 
  • California residency; 
  • A W9 form and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN); 
  • 21 years of age or older 
Please find the guidelines for individual grants here: 
Guidelines for Individual Grants


To apply click here:
Grant Portal

CA CARES: Humanities Relief Grants for Organizations

CA CARES: Humanities Relief Grants for organizations aim to provide general operating support to organizations that have experienced the cancellation of their public humanities activities due to a decrease or loss of revenue, cancellation of programming opportunities, loss of paid staff, or venues as a result of COVID-19. 

Applicants may request between $5,000 and $20,000 in general operating support. Grant awards will be determined in proportion to an organization’s budget size, and grant requests can be no more than 10% of an organization’s current operating budget.   

Applications will be accepted from California-based public agencies (including libraries, museums, schools, universities and colleges, and tribal governments) and California-based  organizations with a minimum two-year organizational history.  

Applicants may include categorically-defined humanities provider organizations (museum, library, archive, historical society, cultural center, humanities department or division of a K-12 educational institution or college or university) OR entities that can demonstrate a substantial track record of public humanities work within the past five years.  

Associations and organizations that do not have tax-exempt status, may apply under the auspices of an eligible fiscal sponsor (see FAQs for details). Prior grant history with California Humanities is NOT required. Current California Humanities grantees are eligible to apply. Fiscal sponsors must be California-based.  

Please find the guidelines for organizational grants here:
Guidelines for Organizational Grants


To apply click here:
Grant Portal

CA CARES: Humanities Recovery Grants  

CA CARES: Humanities Recovery Grants will direct funds to capacity-building activities that will enable applicants to meet the needs of their communities and respond to current and longer-term challenges. 

Applicants may request between $1,000 and $10,000, and the requested amount should not exceed more than 5% of the applicant’s current annual operating budget.  

Appropriate types of activities include but are not limited to: 

  • Technical assistance provided by experts (individuals or organizations) that will directly enhance public humanities programming capabilities  
  • Professional development activities that will directly impact the applicant’s programming capacity (acquisition of skills, knowledge, or expertise gained through training, coaching, or participation in humanities field learning experiences)  
  • Acquisition of materials, equipment or devices that will enhance the applicant’s existing public humanities programming capacity  
  • Research and data collection efforts that will provide information to enable the applicant to expand the reach of their humanities programming, engage and serve new audiences, and mitigate barriers to participation on the part of historically-underserved communities or groups (e.g. needs assessments). 
  • Communicative and collaborative activities that will promote partnership, networking, and leveraging the resources of multiple public humanities providers resulting in enhanced programming capacity. 

Recovery Grants are intended to support activities that will result in enhancement of public humanities programming capacity within the grant period; however public programming outputs within the grant period are not required.  Activities that demonstrate potential for extension or amplification beyond the grant period are welcomed. 

Please find the guidelines for recovery grants here:
Guidelines for Recovery Grants


To apply click here:
Grant Portal

For more information, contact Program Officer Anoop Kaur, akaur@calhum.org, 415-391-1474 ex 306.