Important Update:The NJCH COVID-19 Response Grant program is currently closed.

General Operating Support grants, awards of $5,000 to $20,000 to nonprofits, support humanities organizations that demonstrate need based on hardships experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


To be eligible for funding, the applicant organization must be doing work in the public humanities.

The humanities examine our history, cultures, values, and beliefs. The public humanities take these ideas out of classrooms to engage broad public audiences in that examination.

The humanities help us to analyze our complex society and make thoughtful decisions based on inquiry, evaluation, and empathy. They can help us to think critically about activities and issues of importance to communities, offer historical and cultural perspective, and broaden our thinking. Humanities fields include (but are not limited to) anthropology, archaeology, area studies, art and architectural history and criticism, cultural studies, economics, ethics, ethnic studies, folklore, gender and sexuality studies, geography, history, history of science and technology, international studies, jurisprudence, languages and linguistics, literature, music history and criticism, philosophy, political science, religion and comparative religion, sociology, theater history and criticism. (You can read more about the public humanities by clicking here.)

Applicants may apply for only ONE type of COVID-19 Response Grant: either General Operating Support or Program Support, not both. Organizations that have an open NJCH Action or Incubation Grant, or that have recently applied for one of those grants and are awaiting notification, may apply for a General Operating Support grant ONLY, assuming the institution meets all other eligibility criteria.


Any 501c3 nonprofit institution based in New Jersey whose mission is in the public humanities.

Organizations must have been granted their 501c3 status at least one year ahead of application, per their designation letter from the IRS.

Types of eligible institutions:
• Museums that focus on humanities subjects.
• Libraries and archives.
• Historical societies and heritage organizations.
• Other cultural and community nonprofits with missions that involve the humanities.

Institutions that are not eligible for this type of grant include:
• Colleges and universities, including affiliated centers, institutes, foundations, etc.
• K-12 educational institutions.
• Departments or agencies of government (other than municipal libraries).
• Arts and cultural organizations whose mission focuses on the creation, performance, skill-building around, and display of art.
• For-profit businesses.

Additional Details:
Organizations must show budgets greater than $50,000 on their most recent 990.
Grant funds must be used for general operating support.
Match is not required.


NJCH COVID-19 Response Grants are designed to support New Jersey’s humanities infrastructure during the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

We recognize the financial need in our state’s cultural sector far exceeds the funds that NJCH has available to support these emergency grants. In order to receive NJCH COVID-19 Response funds, organizations must demonstrate need based on hardships experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of how hardship may be demonstrated:

  • Loss of revenue.
  • Loss of staff or reduction in staff hours.
  • Difficulty paying bills.
  • Risk of closure.

We recognize that your organization’s financial situation can change or fluctuate rapidly. We understand and ask that you simply do your best to describe, clearly and concisely, the greatest hardships you are currently experiencing at the moment you write your application.

NJCH is one of many organizations at both the state and federal level offering operating support to nonprofit organizations. We ask that you briefly describe other sources of funding that you have sought or received as part of your application.


NJCH commits to providing funds as fairly and equitably as possible through the COVID-19 Response Grants.

Priority will be given to organizations with a track record of engaging the public, particularly traditionally underserved and underrepresented audiences, in the humanities.

General Operating Support grants range from $5,000-$20,000. Organizations may receive no more than 10% of their average annual operating budget (determined by averaging operating budgets from the last three years), as indicated in the grant application, up to the maximum grant amount. Many organizations will receive substantially less. Priority will be given to small to mid-sized institutions with operating budgets under $1 million who have little access to other emergency funding opportunities.

Per the National Endowment for the Humanities, funds may not be used for any of the following:

  • Work outside of the humanities (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, autobiographies, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and empirically based social science research or policy studies).
  • Overlapping project costs with any other pending or approved application for federal funding, including an open or pending NJCH Incubation or Action Grant.
  • Lobbying.
  • 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.
  • Institutional acquisitions (archival or material culture).
  • Purchase of land or facilities, capital projects, construction or renovation.
  • Contributions to endowment.
  • Re-grants, prizes, awards, or scholarships.


Important Update: COVID-19 Response Grant applications will close on Sunday, May 31, 2020. If you are requesting funding for either General Operating Support or Program Support, please submit your application to NJCH by 11:59 p.m. on May 31, 2020.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis while funds are available.

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by NJCH staff for eligibility. If an organization is determined to be ineligible for funding, they will be notified immediately.

The review process will take approximately two weeks, after which each applicant will be notified of the funding decision. Under most circumstances, an organization will know whether or not they have received a grant within one month of their application, often sooner.

Organizations that are awarded funding will be notified via email and funds will be dispersed as quickly as possible. Applications that are not funded will remain under consideration until all funding is expended. A second review will take place if funds remain available. Awarded funds will be paid as soon as a grant contract is signed by an authorized official at the applicant organization. NJCH is able to make payments via check or electronic funds transfer.

Review and awards will continue until all funds are expended. All funds must be dispersed by October 31, 2020.


After awards are made, NJCH will follow up with grantees in order to document the vital role that the funds play collectively in New Jersey’s cultural organizations.

If you receive a grant, NJCH staff will send more detailed requirements for administering your grant. You will be required to:

  • Review the grant agreement we send you and return a copy signed by an authorized official from the organization. The language is standard and is non-negotiable.
  • Confirm your DUNS number. If you do not have a DUNS number already, we recommend that you apply for one immediately at It is free and your grant funds cannot be dispersed without it.
  • Send letters to your state and federal elected officials announcing your grant award.
  • Comply with basic state and federal nondiscrimination statutes.
  • Acknowledge the support of NJCH and the NEH as directed.
  • Provide simple reports as requested by the NJCH staff.
  • Retain auditable records of grant funds for at least three years, or as directed by law.

The grant administration process will include monthly check-ins and a short final report that includes both narrative and fiscal information about how funds were spent. These reports are significant for the broader public humanities community because they help us show our lawmakers that public funding is important to the economies and social fabrics of our communities. Every effort will be made to ensure that grant administration requirements are not burdensome for any organization receiving COVID-19 Response Grant funds.



We anticipate the volume of applicants for NJCH's COVID-19 Response Grants to be very high. We encourage you to read through all the information available on our website before coming to us with a question. We have developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for your reference and will be updating it regularly as additional queries come in.

All NJCH grants, including COVID-19 Response Grants, are overseen by Gigi Naglak, Director of Grants & Programs, and James Kirkland, Program Officer. Emails sent to are received by both staff, so that is usually the fastest way to get in touch. Like all of you, NJCH staff normal work schedules are anything but normal these days, but you are welcome to give us a call at our respective numbers (below); we will do our very best to answer or get back to you as quickly as we can. We will likely be faster at responding to emails than to calls.





Director of Grants & Programs
609-695-4838 x223


Program Officer
609-695-4838 x221