COVID-19: National Endowment for the Arts Funding

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) included $75 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to administer for COVID-19 assistance and the American Rescue Plan includes an additional $135 million in dedicated funding. Of these amounts, 40% of funding is administered in partnership with state arts agencies, and the remaining resources have been delivered through direct grants to eligible nonprofit arts organizations across the country. NEA CARES grants were disbursed to help entities and their employees endure the economic hardships caused by the forced closure of their operations due to the spread of COVID-19. NEA ARP direct grants to organizations will “support organizations’ programming and general operating expenses to cover up to 100 percent of the costs of the programs which the grants support, to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the coronavirus.” The NEA will be releasing further information about the NEA ARP grant process and timeframe for implementing new grants. 

On July 1, 2020, the NEA announced federal CARES Act grants of $50,000 each to support personnel and facilities costs for 64 orchestras nationwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Endowment’s grant announcement describes the broad distribution of awards among small, medium, and large organizations, and across locations that are urban, rural, and in-between. Out of more than 3,100 eligible applications, available funding supports 855 grants. 

For FY21, the NEA received an appropriation of $167.5 million, $5.25 million more than the 2020 enacted levels. The NEA is also permitted by Congress to provide flexibility for grantees’ use of funds in fiscal years 2019, 2020, and 2021. Further details will be announced by the NEA.

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