In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and jurisdictional humanities councils are uniquely positioned to provide emergency funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2.2 trillion economic stabilization plan appropriated by the U.S. Congress to museums, libraries, archives, historic sites and other nonprofits impacted by the pandemic in their state or jurisdiction.
Nationally, the councils serve the smallest and most vulnerable communities and institutions and are able to reach into areas that receive few other cultural resources. To meet this need, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) issued approximately 40 percent of the agency’s CARES Act appropriation, or $30 million, directly to the councils to support subawards to eligible entities for humanities programming and general operating support as well as fees to humanities scholars and other individuals participating in humanities programming.
In the absence of a humanities council in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) applied for and was awarded NEH funding that CFVI will sub-award to eligible entities through the territory to support humanities programming and activities. Additionally, in response to the current global health crisis, CFVI is providing rapid-response funding to nonprofit humanities and cultural organizations that are facing financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health and economic restrictions.
CARES Act press release and related FAQs are available on the NEH website at https://www.neh.gov/news/neh-receives-75-million-distribute-cultural-institutions-affected-coronavirus.
Summary of Funding
Up to $242,200 is available to fund eligible entities.
Grants ranging between $2,500 and $20,000 are available to nonprofit entities across the U.S. Virgin Islands that provide humanities programming as a significant part of their mission and that are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. (Organizations that have not been affected by COVID-19 may apply for CFVI’s NEH-funded Humanities Project Grants, which will be announced at a later date).
Grants are offered for humanities programming and activities and related general operating support. General operating support includes expenses such as salaries, rent, utilities, supplies and equipment (equipment expenses may not exceed 20 percent of the total request). Fees to humanities scholars and other individuals participating in humanities programming and projects (i.e., as consultants and contractors) are allowable.
As required by federal guidelines, organizations will be required to have a DUNS number in order to obligate funds (though applications can be submitted without one). A DUNS number can take up to two business days to receive. You may acquire a DUNS number from the D&B D-U-N-S Request Service for US Federal Government Contractors and Assistance Awardees.
System for Award Management (SAM) registration is encouraged, but not required.
Cost sharing/matching is not required.
CFVI is committed to equitable grantmaking, and will consider geographic diversity and the importance of reaching underrepresented communities in its funding decisions.
Period of Performance
The period of performance may begin Aug. 1, 2020 and must end on or before Oct. 31, 2021.
Requirements: A U.S. nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service (check your organization’s IRS status here); an accredited institution of higher education; state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments; or groups of persons that form an association to carry out a project.
Non-public organizations or groups must be constituted for nonprofit purposes, and donations to them must be deductible under Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 170(c)). It is not necessary that such organizations or groups be incorporated or have tax-exempt status.
A provider of humanities programming to the general public as a significant part of its mission
Physically located in the USVI and have USVI residents as its primary audience
Experiencing operational and/or financial hardship due to the effects of the COVID-19. Hardship includes, but is not limited to:
interruption in services or closure of facilities
loss/furlough of paid staff
loss of venue or workspace
loss of significant revenue
The following are not eligible to apply:
Individuals (Individuals and groups of individuals seeking funding for humanities projects/programming may apply for CFVI’s NEH-funded Humanities Project Grants, which will be announced at a later date.)
Political or advocacy organizations
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
construction, purchase of real property, major alteration and renovation
overlapping project costs with any other pending or approved application(s) for federal funding
projects that fall outside of the humanities (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, autobiographies, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and empirically based social science research or policy studies)
Application and Evaluation Process
Applications must be submitted using the application in CFVI’s online grant portal. All returning applicants should log in using their previously created account. All new applicants must create a new account.
Applications will be received and reviewed on a rolling basis beginning Wednesday, June 10.
Applications must be submitted by 11:59 pm AST July 1.
The grant portal will not accept applications after the deadline. Once the application has been submitted, an automatic email receipt will be sent confirming that all application materials were successfully received.
Applicants will be notified regarding decisions on or before July 31.
All awards will be publicly announced via the CFVI website and circulated to local news media.
Applications will be reviewed by a committee of individuals familiar with the humanities, nonprofit grantmaking, Virgin Islands culture and/or organizational management.
Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:
The importance of the proposed humanities activities to the applicant’s mission, to the cultural sector and/or to the general public; and the feasibility of successfully completing the proposed activities within the period of performance.
The degree to which the proposed project would retain humanities jobs and sustain humanities and cultural organizations threatened by the coronavirus pandemic or create new jobs, and the qualifications and level of involvement of the relevant personnel dedicated to the proposed activities.
The reasonableness of the proposed budget in relation to the proposed activities, the applicant’s capacity to properly administer relief funds in the current environment, and the long-term viability of the organization.
CFVI staff will review applications for eligibility and completeness. CFVI staff and peer reviewers will evaluate all eligible and complete applications. Peer reviewers are experts in the field with relevant knowledge and expertise to evaluate the types of projects identified in the applications. CFVI and peer reviewers will evaluate applications according to the evaluation criteria outlined above.
This process may be updated or amended to reflect changing circumstances. For the most up-to-date version, visit cfvi.net/grants-scholarships/grants/.
Note: Applications from organizations with past due reports owed to CFVI will not be considered.
Recipients must comply with the following reporting and review activities:
Interim financial and performance report is due by Feb. 28, 2021.
Final financial and performance report is due by Oct. 31, 2021.