The Maine Humanities Council is accepting applications from Maine nonprofit humanities and cultural organizations for rapid-response coronavirus relief grants of up to $7,500.

Some libraries are among the nonprofits that are eligible for the relief grants offered by the Maine Humanities Council. Shown is the Lithgow Public Library in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

The deadline for applying is May 15, and grants will be awarded in early June. Eligible nonprofits include museums, libraries, historic sites, preservation and historical societies and other organizations that focus on the humanities.

The money can be used to support general operating expenses, and matching funds are not required, said Hayden Anderson, the council’s executive director.

“This money is absolutely intended to respond to financial hardship caused by this current circumstance,” he said. “In some cases, it could be a loss of revenue. In others, it’s an additional expense. For some organizations to continue virtually, maybe they needed to get a couple of laptops of whatever. That’s what this is for.”

The Maine Humanities Council received $423,400 from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the CARES Act. It will distribute all of that – plus an additional $600 to make it an even $424,000 – across Maine, Anderson said. If each organization received the full amount, 56 groups would receive funding. He encouraged organizations that serve communities lacking in the humanities to apply.

“We want to direct this to where it does the most good, to under-resourced communities. We want to help organizations for whom a grant of a maximum of $7,500 would have a big impact,” he said.

Hardships include closure, loss of staff, loss of venue or workspace or significant loss of revenue. Individual artists, for-profit organizations, political or advocacy organizations, government agencies, universities, colleges and public and private schools are among those not eligible to apply. Neither are organizations focused solely on the arts.

The application is simple and the review process will be swift, Anderson said. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of staff and board members of the council. Maine Humanities will host a Zoom information session at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday to explain the grants in more details. Participants must register in advance by email at [email protected].

Meanwhile, Space gallery in Portland has received $14,250 in emergency funding for unrestricted use from Boston-based VIA Art Fund. Space was one of 24 independent, small arts nonprofits to receive the funding.


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