Illinois Humanities to Distribute Over $1m to Illinois Cultural Institutions Affected by the Pandemic

Mark Hallett

Read Time 3 minutes
May 20, 2021


CHICAGO, May 20, 2021 – Illinois Humanities announced that it will begin accepting applications today for 2021 COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Recovery Grants. More than $1M in funding for these grants has been made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 through the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 will provide general operating support for humanities nonprofits as well as humanities-based project grants. Nonprofit organizations based in Illinois with annual budgets of $2M or less are eligible to apply. The application deadline is July 15, 2021.

“Illinois Humanities will be working quickly to distribute this much-needed aid in order to help support and protect jobs, bolster programs and operations and ensure accessibility to the humanities across Illinois at a time when they are needed more than ever,” said Illinois Humanities Executive Director, Gabrielle Lyon. “Our state has a robust public humanities sector that includes libraries, cultural centers, history and literature organizations, and passionate members of the creative economy who gather and produce oral histories, create digital history walking tours, curate exhibitions, organize book clubs, host civic dialogues and more to nurture community and keep us connected. Can any of us imagine being able to get through this past year without access to these kinds of experiences?”

In 2020, Illinois Humanities awarded over $700,000 to 177 nonprofit public humanities organizations across the state, with funding made possible through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and support from generous individuals. The grants assisted public humanities organizations across Illinois impacted by COVID-19. To read a report from Illinois Humanities analyzing the impact of these grants and the role small cultural organizations have been playing in mitigating the effects of the pandemic in their communities, visit “On Wisdom and Vision: Humanities Organizations in Illinois during COVID-19,” by clicking here.

Visit 2021 COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Recovery Grants to learn more about the grants, application process, and to apply.

Illinois Humanities will host a 2021 COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Recovery Grants info session on Wednesday, June 9th, 1PM CST. For questions about the grants and the info session contact: Mark Hallett, Director of Grants Programs,


Illinois Humanities, the Illinois affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community and strengthen civic engagement. We provide free, high-quality humanities experiences throughout Illinois, particularly for communities of color, individuals living on low incomes, counties and towns in rural areas, small arts and cultural organizations, and communities highly impacted by mass incarceration. Founded in 1974, Illinois Humanities is supported by state, federal, and private funds.
Learn more at and on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn @ILHumanities.

For more information on how to apply to the 2021 COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Recovery Grants Program, contact Mark Hallett, director, grants programs, at