The West Virginia Humanities Council, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has provided over $420,000 in CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants to West Virginia cultural institutions to help ensure staff retention and program delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Made possible by the NEH as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of March 27, 2020, the Council’s CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants will help to pay staff salaries, utility bills, mortgage and rent, and other operational costs for West Virginia cultural institutions that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“West Virginia’s rich, diverse cultural life is one of our state’s most valuable qualities,” says Council executive director Eric Waggoner. “Organizations all around West Virginia work every day, most with a modest and dedicated staff, to support, grow, and contribute to that cultural ecosystem, and to represent us to the world. These grants will help organizations large and small to survive the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, retain employees, and continue to deliver on their missions.”
The Humanities Council’s CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants have been awarded to historical and archeological associations, museums, performance spaces, preservation societies, community festivals, heritage centers, libraries, research centers, and many other organizations. Most relief funds have been committed to operational costs; a small percentage will help organizations convert in-person programs to digital formats.
“We’re grateful and honored to be able to help sustain these institutions,” says Waggoner, “many of which were preparing to open for new seasons just when the pandemic hit. The timing absolutely could not have been worse, and the impact on West Virginia’s cultural life and economy has been far-reaching and significant. We’re humbled to be able to assist West Virginia’s many excellent cultural organizations, and their employees, as we go through this difficult moment together.”
Among those receiving the grant is Voices of the Earth of Tucker County.