2021 Relief Grants

2021 Relief Grants Frequently Asked Questions

Download a PDF version of the 2021 Relief Grant FAQ here.

General Questions

Questions about Applicant Eligibility

Questions about Allowable Costs

Questions about Submitting Your Application

After Submitting Your Application

What is the purpose of the 2021 Relief Grant program?

The 2021 Humanities Texas Relief Grant program is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021. In the fall of 2021, Humanities Texas will award over $2.3 million to Texas museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, and other humanities-focused nonprofits in the form of Relief Grants. These grants are intended to help Texas cultural and educational organizations respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

How are 2021 Relief Grants different from typical Humanities Texas grants? 

The Humanities Texas grant program offers major grants and mini-grants throughout the year. Major and mini-grants support public humanities programming, such as lectures, oral history projects, museum exhibitions, teacher institutes, reading programs, and documentary films. These grants cannot be used to support operational expenses.  

The 2021 Relief Grants can support operational expenses and eligible institutional costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

How many 2021 Relief Grants will Humanities Texas award? 

We do not know how many Relief Grants will be awarded at this time. The final number will depend upon the number of applications received and the scale of need indicated overall.  

Will Humanities Texas host a webinar about the application process for 2021 Relief Grants? 

Yes. Throughout the application period, our grants staff will host weekly webinars. We will also offer one-on-one Zoom sessions for prospective applicants who would like a walkthrough of the application. Each weekly webinar will provide a formal introduction to the 2021 Relief Grant program, while the one-on-one Zoom sessions will allow prospective applicants to ask our grants staff questions in real time. 

Register for a webinar at https://www.humanitiestexas.org/relief-webinar

Register for a one-on-one Zoom session at https://htx-zoom.youcanbook.me/.

Who is eligible for a 2021 Relief Grant? 

Eligibility is limited to Texas-based nonprofit organizations (as reported to the IRS and with an existing EIN), accredited public and 501(c)(3) institutions of higher education (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1001), state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments. Applicants must have a DUNS number and offer public humanities programming. 

For more information about obtaining a DUNS number, visit: https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayFAQPage.do.

Who is NOT eligible for a 2021 Relief Grant?

  • Individuals
  • For-profit organizations
  • Political or advocacy organizations
  • Organizations not based in Texas
  • Organizations that do not provide humanities programming

What are the humanities? 

The humanities include but are not limited to the study of history; literature; modern and classical languages; linguistics; jurisprudence; philosophy; comparative religion; ethics; and the history, criticism, and theory of the arts. Social sciences that employ qualitative approaches such as cultural anthropology, archaeology, and political science are considered part of the humanities, as are interdisciplinary areas such as women’s studies, American studies, and the study of folklore and folklife. 

What qualifies as public humanities programming? 

Public humanities programming comes in many different forms: lectures, panel discussions, and conferences; teacher institutes and workshops; reading and film discussion groups; site interpretations; the development and fabrication of interpretive exhibits; and the production of films, television and radio programming, and interactive media.  

However, all such programs have the following characteristics in common: 

  • They are firmly grounded in the humanities. 
  • Humanities scholars play an active role in their conception, design, and execution. 
  • They are conducted in a spirit of open and informed inquiry. 
  • They are directed primarily to the general public, both adults and young people, outside of the regular school or college classroom. Programs targeting special audiences such as K–12 teachers, community college faculty, ethnic and community groups, or professional groups also qualify.

What is a humanities-focused organization? 

A humanities-focused organization is an organization that makes humanities research, education, and programming a major part of its work. Organizations that can demonstrate a humanities mission in their application qualify as humanities-focused organizations and therefore may request operational funding in their Relief Grant request. 

What if I’m not sure about whether my organization delivers humanities programming or not? 

Our application will guide you through questions that help you think about your programming and whether it 1) is humanities focused and 2) serves public audiences. These questions are located in the “Humanities Mission” section of the application. If you can demonstrate that your organization provides nonacademic audiences with educational opportunities in the humanities, you are eligible to apply for a 2021 Relief Grant. 

Our review committee will prioritize organizations that clearly explain how the humanities are a central part of their mission and work. Please email us at relief@humanitiestexas.org, attend an office hours session, or schedule a meeting with a member of our grants team if you would like to discuss further. 

My organization is not exclusively focused on the humanities, but we have delivered humanities programming in the past. Are we still eligible to apply for a 2021 Relief Grant? 

Yes. In the “Humanities Mission” section of your application, please explain in detail 1) how your organization provides educational opportunities in the humanities and 2) the audiences those programs serve. 

My organization has not delivered humanities programming in the past, but we are currently planning humanities programs. Can we apply for a 2021 Relief Grant? 

Yes, you may be eligible to request funding for your upcoming humanities programming. In your budget request, please explain how grant funds will support the development of your humanities activities, and please exclude any requests for operational costs.  

My organization is a public library. Should we apply for a COVID-19 pandemic Relief Grant from the American Library Association or Humanities Texas?  

It is up to you. Your organization is eligible to apply for a 2021 Relief Grant from Humanities Texas and eligible to request operational funding in your application. If you choose to also apply for an ALA grant, you may not request funding to cover the same costs that a Humanities Texas Relief Grant would cover. 

My organization was founded immediately before or during the COVID-19 pandemic. Are we still eligible to apply even though we can’t answer questions pertaining to our organization’s pre-2020 activities and budget? 

Yes. Please write “N/A” where necessary and clearly explain your organization’s humanities work since opening.  

My organization is primarily an arts organization. Can we apply for a Relief Grant for operational funding? 

No. If your organization is primarily an arts organization but provides limited humanities programming, then you may apply for support only related to the administration of your humanities programs. If your organization prioritizes both the arts and the humanities in its public programming, you may apply for operational funding related specifically to your humanities activities.  

My organization is a humanities-focused organization. For what type of Humanities Texas grant should we apply ? 

Humanities Texas rarely offers operational support grants. We encourage you to apply for operational funding and other allowable costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

If you plan to request funding exclusively for programming costs, we suggest that you apply for a Humanities Texas major or mini-grant. The deadline for our fall major grant cycle is September 15. Mini-grant applications are accepted throughout the year on a rolling basis. 

You may not apply for other lines of funding to cover the same expenses that the Relief Grant expenses would cover. You may apply for other lines of funding for separate expenses. 

Is my organization eligible to apply for both a 2021 Relief Grant and a major or mini-grant in the fall? 

Yes, but your budget requests may not include any overlapping costs. 

Can a different organization apply on behalf of my organization? 

An organization may not apply on behalf of another. Per NEH guidelines, 2021 Relief Grant funds cannot pass through a fiscal sponsor.  

If we received a CARES Act grant from Humanities Texas last year, can we still apply for a 2021 Relief Grant? 


If my organization currently has an open Humanities Texas grant, can we still apply for a 2021 Relief Grant? 

Yes, but 2021 Relief Grant funds must be allocated for costs separate from any previous or current Humanities Texas/NEH funding.  

Can we apply for a 2021 Relief Grant while applying for other federal funding, as long as we only accept one line of funding? 

You may not apply for other lines of funding to cover the same expenses that the Relief Grant expenses would cover. You may apply for other lines of funding for separate expenses.

What costs can a 2021 Relief Grant cover? 

  • General operating costs (but only if your organization is humanities focused).
  • Strategic planning and capacity-building efforts related to, responding to, and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Technical/consultant needs related to a digital transition or in support of preservation and access programs (equipment costs cannot exceed 20% of your request). 
  • Expansion, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, of outdoor and virtual humanities programming and activities, from traditional environments to those that are more accessible. 
  • Equity and diversity assessments. 
  • Planning related to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Programming costs for current or new public humanities programs.

What are examples of allowable general operating costs? 

Examples of allowable operating costs include but are not limited to:

  • Payroll
  • Rent
  • Utilities 
  • Telephone costs 
  • Internet costs 
  • Insurance costs 
  • Website domain fees 
  • Office supplies 
  • Advertising costs 
  • Printing costs 
  • Postage 
  • Subscriptions to virtual platform services 
  • Subscriptions to software services

What costs are NOT eligible for support by a 2021 Relief Grant? 

  • Overlapping project costs with any other pending or approved application(s) for federal funding and/or approved federal awards 
  • Funds for activities supported by other non-NEH federal funds 
  • Competitive regranting 
  • Cancellation costs 
  • Pre-award costs prior to March 15, 2021 
  • Equipment costs in excess of 20% of total project costs 
  • Travel 
  • Construction, purchase of real property, major alteration and renovation 
  • Environmental sustainability 
  • Collections acquisition 
  • The preservation, organization, or description of humanities materials that are not regularly accessible for research, education, or public programming 
  • Promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view 
  • Advocacy of a particular program of social or political action 
  • Support of specific public policies or legislation 
  • Lobbying 
  • Projects that fall outside of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, autobiographies, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and quantitative social science research or policy studies).

Is revenue loss an eligible cost to list in our budget request? 

No. Please do not request reimbursement for revenue loss. 

Is lost revenue a valid funding justification? 

Yes. We ask that you please explain how the coronavirus led to revenue loss and how revenue loss determines your need for a 2021 Relief Grant. 

Can we use funds to reimburse expenses that took place before the grant period started? 

Yes. However, grant funds cannot cover expenses incurred before March 15, 2021. 

How do I submit an application? 

Please submit an application via our online submission form at https://www.humanitiestexas.org/relief-application

I started an application online but am not ready to submit it yet. How can I save my work and continue working later? 

When you register to start an application on our website, you will receive an email with a link that you can use to return to your application for the entirety of your application writing process. Please check your junk, spam, and promotions folders if you have not received the email.  

What is the application deadline? 

The online application portal will close at midnight Central Time on September 3, 2021. 

How much funding may we request? 

There are two tiers of funding for the 2021 Relief Grants. 

  • Tier One: If your organization had a FY2020 operating budget of under $2 million dollars, please apply for a Tier One Relief Grant. Tier One organizations may apply for a maximum of $12,000. 
  • Tier Two: If your organization had a FY2020 operating budget of $2 million dollars or more, please apply for a Tier Two Relief Grant. Tier Two organizations may apply for a maximum of $20,000. 

My organization or entity is part of a university. Do I use my entire university’s operating budget in choosing the funding tier, or do I use my organization’s or entity’s operating budget? 

Please use the operating budget of the applicant organization or entity. 

What specific documents do I need to submit along with the application for the 2021 Relief Grant? 

  • A determination letter from the IRS confirming your tax-exempt status.
  • Your organization's W9 form 
  • Optional: letters of support and additional materials (up to five). 

What if my organization doesn’t have a DUNS Number? 

Per NEH requirements, all 2021 Relief grantees are required to have a DUNS Number. If your organization does not have a DUNS Number, you are not eligible to apply for a 2021 Relief Grant. Apply for a DUNS number here: https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do.

What if my organization doesn’t have a CAGE code? 

2021 Relief Grant recipients are not required to be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM), which assigns Commercial and Government Entity codes (CAGE codes). Therefore, you are not required to have a CAGE code. However, we encourage organizations to register in SAM if they haven’t already, as future Humanities Texas and NEH funding initiatives may require registration.

Do we have to provide cost-share? 

No. Please do not provide cost-share. 

Can I provide my own budget form? 

No. Please use the budget template in the application form. 

What should I enter as my grant period? 

All grant periods must begin on 9/1/21. The grant period end date must be selected on the application, and must be no earlier than 12/31/21 and no later than 12/31/22. The end of your grant period must be the last day of the month. For example: 9/1/21 through 5/31/22. 

Please choose a grant period in which your organization would realistically be able to spend the requested grant amount. Think about the size of your organization, the amount of your request, and how urgently your organization needs the funds. 

Is there any advantage to applying early, or will all applications be considered at the same time? 

All applications will be considered at the same time. 

If awarded, when will my organization receive our 2021 Relief Grant award? 

We will distribute funds as quickly as possible once we inform applicants of the status of their application. 

How will my application be reviewed? How will Humanities Texas determine awards? 

Humanities Texas will assemble a diverse review committee of scholars and public humanities professionals. Proposals will be assessed according to the evaluation rubric.

Humanities Texas will evaluate applications for the 2021 Relief Grants on the strength of the applicant organization's humanities mission and programming, the audiences the organization serves, a clear demonstration of need, and the presentation of a plan to fully and thoughtfully use Relief Grant support to respond to or recover from the pandemic. Humanities Texas will give special consideration to organizations in traditionally underserved areas of the state, organizations that have not been consistently served by Humanities Texas, and organizations with limited funding and staff. In the review process, these considerations will be worth a total of twenty-five points, which along with the questions below will account for a maximum score of one-hundred points.

If awarded, will my organization receive the full request? 

In the past, we have awarded both partial and full requests. 

If funded, what are your 2021 Relief Grant requirements? 

If awarded a 2021 Relief Grant, your organization will receive a grant agreement from Humanities Texas. Please sign the agreement and email it back to relief@humanitiestexas.org. Once we receive your signed grant agreement, we will issue your award. 

Humanities Texas will provide grantees with guidance and materials to acknowledge Humanities Texas and NEH support in their print and online communications.

All grant periods for 2021 Relief Grants will end no later than December 31, 2022. Your organization must submit a final report within ninety days of the end of your grant period. Final reports will be submitted electronically via a form on our website. 

How will funds be disbursed? 

Funds will be disbursed in a single payment via mailed check or electronic direct deposit. In the application, we ask that you provide both the correct mailing address and the direct deposit information. At the time of award, we will contact awardees to notify them of the available payment methods. 

What happens after our grant period ends? 

You are required to submit a final report within ninety days of your grant period end date. Once we receive your final report within the ninety-day window, we will close your grant in good standing.

Apply for a 2021 Relief Grant

The Humanities Texas 2021 Relief Grant is now closed. Applicants will receive further information via email.


Email relief@humanitiestexas.org or schedule a phone call with our grants team. Please see the Zoom scheduling option below if a video call is preferred.

Zoom Meetings

Video calls are best suited for applicants who need a walkthrough of the application or help with technical issues.

Watch a Webinar Recording

Click below to watch a recording of our 2021 Relief Grant Webinar that was presented on August 10, 2021.