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Press Release

Oklahoma Humanities American Rescue Plan COVID Relief Funding Now Available!

May 31, 2021

(Oklahoma City, OK – May 20, 2021) Oklahoma Humanities (OH) announced an initiative to rapidly distribute approximately $660,000 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act funding to cultural organizations and educational institutions impacted by the pandemic. OH will provide recovery funding for general operating expenses to museums, archives, historic sites, and other nonprofits with awards of up to $15,000 to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the pandemic. Operational expenses include but are not limited to: staff retention (salaries and benefits), rent or mortgage, utilities, and supplies. 

The online application opens June 1 and is available on the OH website ( It will run through July 1 or until funds are expended.  OH especially encourages applications from rural, underserved, and minority-serving institutions and organizations. Grant funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The pandemic’s economic ramifications for our cultural institutions and their employees have been severe,” said OH Executive Director Caroline Lowery.  “Museums, universities, libraries, archives, and historic sites across Oklahoma have experienced layoffs, extended closures, and revenue losses. We will work quickly to distribute this much-needed American Rescue Plan relief funding efficiently and equitably across Oklahoma. We are grateful to members of our local delegations for their recognition of the vital role that humanities organizations play in our economy and our communities.”

This new funding opportunity is supported by $135 million in supplemental funding allocated to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  OH is responsible for the distribution of federal funding allocated to the state of Oklahoma from the NEH Federal and State Partnership Division. To help ensure the recovery funding is spent quickly and project activities are conducted in a timely manner, all grant funds will be awarded by November 30, 2021.

The ARP funding opportunity builds upon OH’s distribution of CARES Act funding in 2020, when NEH distributed awards to the state and jurisdictional humanities councils that serve the needs of states and local communities. OH CARES grants allowed cultural institutions to retain humanities jobs, continue operations, and shift programs and resources online at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. See a list of our CARES awards here.

Questions about this grant program should be directed to Senior Program Officer Kelly Burns at

Media inquiries may be directed to Executive Director Caroline Lowery at


About Oklahoma Humanities:

Oklahoma Humanities (OH) is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen communities by helping Oklahomans learn about the human experience, understand new perspectives, and participate knowledgeably in civic life. As the state partner for the National Endowment for the Humanities, OH provides a free educational magazine, Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibits, reading and discussion groups, and other cultural opportunities for Oklahomans of all ages. OH engages people in their own communities, stimulating discussion and helping them explore the wider world of human experience, through humanities disciplines such as history, literature, film studies, ethics, and philosophy.



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