CARES Act Guidelines

West Virginia Humanities Council CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants Grant Guidelines




To assist humanities-centered institutions and organizations in West Virginia by providing general operating and/or programming support during a period of financial hardship caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.




Beginning early May, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the funds are completely committed through October 10, 2020.


Applicants can apply for general operating and/or programming support.  Programming support will only be awarded for (a) projects directly related to the pandemic in some way; or (b) conversion of at-risk existing programming to digital or virtual delivery.  Applicants must apply through the Council’s regular grant process for all other projects.


Applicants should anticipate up to a 21-day turnaround between application filing and decision announcement.  Applicants will be notified via e-mail.


Applicants may request up to $10,000.  The Council cannot award funding for project costs that overlap with any other pending or approved application(s) for federal funding.  For example, if you are applying funding support from the National Endowment for the Arts to a specific expenditure, funds from this grant cannot be allocated for the same expenditure.  It is the responsibility of the grant recipient to track expenditures separately.


Applicants will be required to submit a report six months after the award date, which must include a list of grant expenditures.  The West Virginia Humanities Council will provide a reporting template.


If the need can be justified, awardees may apply for additional funding, but must allow at least 60 days between applications.  Rejected applicants may apply again.




  • West Virginia organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, public and 501(c)(3) accredited institutions of higher education, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments.
  • Any West Virginia-based nonprofit organizations with a demonstrated commitment to programming in humanities content areas, including history (any aspect), cultural heritage or cultural studies, living or historical traditions, literary or aesthetic criticism, or religious/philosophical/ethical studies.
  • Must serve the general public.
  • Must be able to show current direct loss of income, loss of opportunity, or increased financial hardship in direct connection to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Must supply FEIN # and DUNS # and have an active account.




  • Financial hardship: All organizations will experience financial impacts at this time, but some will suffer acute financial hardship. Applicants are asked to clearly state and document the financial challenges they face.  Types of challenges may include:
    • Increased costs incurred in complying with official social distancing policies, purchase of new technology specifically to support online program delivery or remote work by full-time employees, or conversion of in-person programming to digital or online delivery.
    • Disproportionate reduction in revenue as the result of loss of income or opportunities beginning on March 1, 2020, as demonstrated in program or event schedule and official 2020 budget.
    • Limited or no access to other sources of COVID-19 relief funds from other funders


  • Emergency: Applicant demonstrates an emergency need and ability to use a timely infusion of grant funds to maintain organizational operations. Demonstration of need and ability may include:
    • Imminent loss of public space due to inability to make monthly rent, mortgage, or utility payments, as demonstrated by official notice from property, mortgage, or service provider
    • Inability to make payroll in full or in part between May 1, 2020 and October 31, 2020, due to lack of financial income or reserves, as demonstrated by difference between current cash statement and most recent payroll expenses
    • Inability to pay healthcare premiums for employees in full or in part between May 1, 2020 and October 31, 2020 due to lack of financial income or reserves, as demonstrated by difference between current cash statement and most recent monthly bill from healthcare provider


  • Public benefit: Applicant offers substantial public humanities benefit to West Virginia residents in a typical year. “Public benefit” describes your organization’s efforts to make your events, activities, and programming available to West Virginians in specific local communities or statewide in accordance with your organization’s mission.  Examples may include:
    • Demonstrated service to general public as evidenced by available data on audience contact
    • Demonstrated service to traditionally under-served communities (age, income, rurality, ability, race, etc.)




Funds may not be used for the following purposes:


  • 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
  • purchase of land or facilities, construction, or renovation
  • projects that fall outside of the humanities
  • Equipment not related to compliance with social distancing


Download these guidelines