As part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act economic stabilization plan appropriated by Congress, NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede and the National Endowment for the Humanities distributed $30 million to 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils as emergency aid for local humanities organizations.
HIHumanities is a grantmaker committed to serving our community. We are proud to have given out our entire CARES Act allocation of $474,167 to a total of 40 organizations, from Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi and Oʻahu. In a normal year, these grantees reach constituencies of more than 4 million people, locals and visitors, and for the months of March and April, they reported financial losses totaling more than $8 million. The majority of these organizations provide public humanities programs to underserved populations and have shown remarkable creativity in maintaining community connection during the current health crisis.
In the coming months, we will be sharing stories from our grantees. We hope you’ll reach out to them and consider supporting their work.
The great need of our culture and humanities sector continues.
We received applications from 63 organizations from across the islands, and these organizations reported a combined financial loss of $10,946,142. Due to the inability of our CARES Act allocation to meet actual need, there were many difficult decisions in the review process conducted by Hawaiʻi Council for Humanities Board of Directors.
HIHumanities prioritized funding organizations with a high financial need, humanities-focused programming, and a commitment to staff retention.
We were inspired and moved by all our applicants, and call to all of our community to continue to apply for our regular public programming grants.
As a related initiative, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has also been making larger operating support grants available to cultural institutions across the US. Chairman Jon Parrish Peede stated, “NEH is pleased to provide $40 million to preserve thousands of jobs at museums, archives, historic sites, and colleges and universities that are vital to our nation’s cultural life and economy.” In June 2020, NEH announced that the State of Hawai’i received 4 of these larger CARES Act support grants totaling $537,823–awarded to ʻAha Pūnana Leo Inc., Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society, Papahana Kuaola, and Native Nations Education Foundation.
Our humanities community are museums, archives, historical sites, learning centers. They are educators and stewards committed to strengthening Hawai‘i’s communities by caring for our cultures, histories, and identities, by providing space for expression, reflection, and connection. The humanities care for our whole selves, and we feel the need for this now more than ever.
HIHumanities is profoundly humbled by the strength of our community, and we are grateful to our members of Congress, NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede, and the National Endowment for the Humanities for providing this much-needed support to our state.
Small or large, I am so impressed with how these organizations are making some really innovative changes to continue their programs. Many organizations are working to reprioritize local communities, preparing for a future where tourism is not going to come back anytime soon.
HIHumanities Director of Grants and Special Projects
It is amazing to see how our mālama ʻāina cultural organizations could move seamlessly into producing and distributing healthy food to families, elders, people suffering economic hardship, especially in rural communities. This is another example of how unique the humanities are in Hawaiʻi, how culture and history can truly nourish us on all levels.
HIHumanities Executive Director
Some of these organizations are so deeply embedded that you could feel their pain, concern, and deep aloha for their communities coming through quite clearly.
—Mary Therese Perez Hattori
HIHumanities Board Member