2021 Relief Grants


Application deadline: September 3, 2021

Overview & Purpose of 2021 Relief Grants

Humanities Texas 2021 Relief Grants are designed to help Texas museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, and other humanities-focused organizations respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our 2021 Relief Grants are made possible by the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) as a part of the American Rescue Plan, signed into law in March 2021.

This is Humanities Texas’s second round of COVID-19 pandemic relief grants, the first of which we awarded through the CARES Act in spring 2020. While our regular grants support public programming in the humanities, our relief grants primarily support general operational expenses. Humanities Texas recognizes the severe economic impact that the pandemic has had on cultural organizations throughout the state. The 2021 Relief Grants will help alleviate the financial burden that these organizations have endured, as well as help them respond to the pandemic going forward.

Click here for a printable PDF copy of the guidelines.

Applicant Eligibility

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.

Our 2021 Relief Grants can cover operational and programming expenses related to COVID-19 pandemic recovery at humanities-focused organizations—that is, organizations that make humanities research, education, and programming a major part of their work.

Organizations that are not humanities-focused but do offer public humanities programming may request 2021 Relief Grant support only for costs related to the administration of their humanities programs.

Organizations that do not typically offer public humanities programming are not eligible for Relief Grant support. If you have questions about your organization’s eligibility, email our grants staff at relief@humanitiestexas.org or click here to schedule a phone call.

Humanities-Focused Organizations

To determine whether an organization is “humanities-focused,” Humanities Texas will ask applicants to describe their organizational mission, programming, and record of reaching public audiences in Texas. Applicants should demonstrate that one of their principal organizational goals is to advance the humanities by providing educational opportunities in the humanities to the public. Humanities-focused organizations may include operational expenses in their Relief Grant request, along with all other allowable costs listed below.

Organizations That Are Not Humanities-Focused

Per NEH guidelines, Humanities Texas 2021 Relief Grants may not support operational expenses for non-humanities-focused organizations.

Organizations that do not make humanities research, education, and programming a major part of their work may not request operational funding as part of their Relief Grant requests. They may, however, request support for costs related to public humanities programs offered by the organization. Requests for operational costs that do not demonstrate a humanities-focus will be declined.

Fiscal Sponsors

An organization may not apply as a fiscal sponsor with the intention of re-granting the award to a different organization. An applicant must contribute to the management and administration of the award throughout the grant period. The sponsoring organization must be an accredited non-profit that has secured tax-exempt status from the IRS.

Eligible costs

The following costs are eligible for funding under a 2021 Relief Grant:

  • General operating costs, including but not limited to:
      • Payroll
      • Rent
      • Utilities
      • Telephone costs
      • Internet costs
      • Insurance costs
      • Website domain fees
      • Office supplies
      • Advertising costs
      • Printing costs
      • Postage
      • Subscriptions to streaming services
      • Subscriptions to software services
  • 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
  • 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

As noted, organizations that are not humanities-focused may not request support for operational expenses.

Ineligible Costs

The following expenses are ineligible under 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 percent of total project costs
  • Travel (both foreign and domestic)
  • 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)

Funding Levels

There are two funding levels for our 2021 Relief Grants.

  • Tier One: If your organization had a Fiscal Year 2020 operating budget of under two million dollars, the maximum request is $12,000.
  • Tier Two: If your organization had a Fiscal Year 2020 operating budget of two million dollars and above, the maximum request is $20,000.

Important Dates

Application launch: August 1, 2021
Final submission deadline: September 3, 2021

How to Apply

The grant application closed on September 3, 2021.

Applicants will be asked to register before they can complete the application. Applicants will receive an email from relief@humanitiestexas.org with a link to their application. The application can be saved for later and revisited as often as is needed by using the emailed link. Please retain the email throughout the application process until your grant application is submitted.

Be sure to include the required attachments and answer questions clearly and with enough detail to provide Humanities Texas with a full understanding of your organizational mission, your humanities programs, how your organization was impacted by the pandemic, and how you propose to spend Relief Grant funds.

A viewable PDF copy of the application can be found here. This copy is only for reference, all applications must be submitted online.

Grant Period

Applicants will be asked to enter a grant period. The grant period should encompass all project activities, from early planning to final wrap-up. All project expenditures must take place within the grant period. We will provide the earliest allowable grant period start date in the application. The latest end date for a grant period is December 31, 2022. Final reports are due ninety days after the grant period end date.

Application Review Process

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.

Award Process

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.

Funds will be disbursed in a single payment via mailed check or electronic direct deposit. At the time of award, we will contact awardees to notify them of the available payment method(s) and request their latest payment information.

Award Requirements

Your organization is 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 organization's grant in good standing. Humanities Texas will provide grantees with guidance and materials to acknowledge Humanities Texas and NEH support in their print and online communications.

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.