July 1, 2020

Today the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced federal grants of $50,000 each to support personnel and facilities costs for 64 orchestras nationwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress designated $75 million of funding for the NEA to administer within the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020.

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. “All of us at the National Endowment for the Arts are keenly aware that arts organizations across the country are hurting, struggling, and trying to survive and that our supply of funding does not come close to meeting the demand for assistance,” said Arts Endowment Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “That said, I am enormously proud of the over-and-above efforts of the Arts Endowment staff to swiftly and professionally manage such a large amount of additional work in a relatively short period of time on behalf of the American public.”

Less than two weeks from the signing of CARES Act legislation, the Arts Endowment posted guidelines for direct grant applicants and shortly afterward announced the disbursement of the required 40% of its $75 million CARES Act appropriation to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations. The NEA estimates that resources administered at the state and regional level may result in an additional 4,200 to 5,600 awards. Nine awards of $250,000 have been made to local arts agencies for regranting purposes. Orchestras that did not receive direct NEA CARES Act grants may be eligible to apply for support from state and regional arts agencies or from local arts agencies that have received NEA stimulus funding. Please check each source for specific guidelines and eligibility requirements.

The League has compiled a list of orchestras and grants related to the orchestra field, below. A complete list of grants to all organizations may be found on the NEA website.


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