American Rescue Plan COVID Relief Funding



The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has received $135 million in supplemental funding to assist humanities organizations and other cultural institutions affected by the coronavirus pandemic as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) approved by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden.

With funding from NEH, the New Mexico Humanities Council provides recovery funding to museums, archives, historic sites, and other nonprofits impacted by the pandemic with awards of up to $25,000.00. NMHC has approximately $500,000.00 to provide recovery funding to humanities organizations. The primary purpose of ARP is to provide assistance to entities that have suffered major setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NMHC ARP grant funds were intended to help prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the coronavirus in order to sustain and grow the public humanities in the state.

PLEASE NOTE:  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 and subaward activities must start no later than December 1, 2021. Awardees will be required to submit a final report due by November 30, 2022.  Activities can begin as soon as the grant is awarded.  There is no matching or cost share requirement tied to these funds.  

Applicants will be notified by the end of Fall 2021.

What is the NMHC grants committee evaluation process?
The grant review committee will read and evaluate the applications on the following criteria but not limited to:

• Organization meets basic requirements to apply (D-U-N-S #, not for profit organization, NM organization)
• Organization has expressed a clear, easily understood case for need created specifically by the pandemic and addresses how they have been impacted, and how their request is consistent with the purposes of the ARP
• Organization has expressed a clear plan of how they will use these grant funds
• Organization has established a track record of commitment to the humanities. Mission indicates they are a humanities organization
• Organization describes DEI initiatives and helps NMHC with outreach in underserved areas or part of the state normally under-resourced by traditional humanities funders
• Organization has other circumstances that need to be considered in providing funding
• No feedback will be offered by NMHC staff or Grant Committee on award denials.




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Who was eligible?
Non-profit cultural organizations must have met the following criteria:

• Be a recognized 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service prior to the application deadline
• Have a primary mission that is humanities focused
• Have a unique and active entity identifier (currently a D-U-N-S number)
• Offer humanities programs that are accessible to New Mexicans and open to the public


The American Rescue Plan Grant application is now CLOSED.  

     • Deadline to apply was August 2, 2021


Applicant requirements were:
• Organizations must serve and have headquarters in New Mexico. 
• New Mexico is federally required to limit funding eligibility to U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, accredited public and 501(c)(3) institutions of higher education, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments.
• Individuals, foreign, and for-profit entities are not eligible to receive funding.
• Organizations must have a D-U-N-S® number.
• A SAM (CAGE code) is strongly encouraged, but not required
• Organizations must agree to use the federal funding in a way that does not violate federal funding requirements
• Applicants must not have been federally suspended or debarred
• Applicants must not be delinquent on federal debt
Applicants must address how they have been impacted by the pandemic, consistent with the purposes of the ARP

What was the application process?
All ARP applications were due no later than August 2, 2021 and were to be submitted electronically through the application portal on the NMHC website.  NMHC staff will not provide feedback on draft applications before submission. Log in or create an account to apply on our Foundant platform.


Allowable costs:
Grant funding may support general operating costs of humanities-focused organizations, including but not limited to: staff retention (payroll and benefits), facilities, insurance, and utilities.


Previously encouraged applications:
NMHC especially encouraged applications from minority-serving institutions and organizations, as well as from rural and underserved areas of the state, but applications are welcome regardless of an organization's size, audience, or location.

Applications from multiple departments in institutions of higher education (or a similar entity) were note accepted for this opportunity. For example, both a history department and a comparative literature department from the same university could not submit an application for this opportunity. There was no need for a college or university sponsored projects office to run an internal competition in order to put a single application forward for an ARP grant.


ARP funding may be used to support, among other activities:
•Humanities programming that is in line with the purpose of the ARP COVID Relief Grant: to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the coronavirus.
•General operating costs of humanities-focused organizations.
•Strategic planning and capacity-building efforts related to preparing, responding to, and recovering from the coronavirus.
•Technical/Consultant needs related to a digital transition or in support of preservation and access programs. (equipment costs cannot exceed 20% of your grant request or subaward)
•Expansion, due to the effects of the coronavirus, of outdoor and virtual humanities programming and activities, from traditional environments to those that are more accessible.
•Equity assessments and planning related to coronavirus and the economic crisis.


Unallowable costs:
• Unallowable expenses as defined in 2CFR 200 Subpart E-Cost Principles
• Overlapping project costs with any other pending or approved application(s) for federal funding and/or approved        federal awards
• Funds for activities supported by other non-NEH federal funds
• Competitive regranting
• Cancellation costs
• Costs dating to before March 15, 2021
• Equipment costs in excess of 20% of total project costs
• Travel (both foreign and domestic)
• Construction, purchase of real property, major alteration and renovation
• Environmental sustainability
• Collections acquisition
• The preservation, organization, or description of materials that are not regularly accessible for research, education, or public programming
• 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
• Lobbying
• Projects that fall outside of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences

Subawards were not to be issued to pass-through entities.
Applicants were required to function solely as fiscal agents or fiscal sponsors.

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State funded public libraries and arts organizations:

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) included federal funding for numerous agencies across New Mexico including New Mexico Arts and the New Mexico State Library. To ensure that this funding was distributed equitably, state-funded public libraries and arts-specific groups were encouraged to apply directly to those respective state agencies for ARP funds. 

NM Arts: 505-827-6490 NM Arts
New Mexico State Library: 505 476-9702 NM State Library

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If I have questions, who do I contact?  

Please Note: This process may be updated or amended to reflect changing circumstances. All inquiries about the ARP COVID relief grant program may be directed to Keelyn Byram, Grants Administrator, at Keelyn@nmhumanities.org.

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