Vermont Arts Council

Covid-19 Cultural Recovery Grant Guidelines

The Vermont Covid-19 Cultural Recovery Grant Program is a partnership between Vermont Humanities and the Vermont Arts Council to provide funding to arts and humanities organizations facing financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This program is now closed. The program awarded $1.2 million in recovery funding to 146 Vermont arts and humanities organizations. Check out the list of grantees to see which organizations were awarded Cultural Recovery grants.

Funding for this program is provided primarily from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

We are working together to maximize the impact of relief and recovery funding for Vermont’s arts and humanities organizations. We are committed to equitable grantmaking and will consider geographic diversity and the ability to reach underrepresented communities in our funding decisions.


Who May Apply

Arts and/or humanities organizations that are incorporated in the state of Vermont with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, that comply with federal and state legal requirements, and are experiencing hardship due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic may apply. Arts and humanities organizations that operate under the umbrella of a college or university with 501c3 status may apply. 

Groups without tax-exempt status are not eligible to apply.

Public libraries may apply for humanities-based projects only. Vermont nonprofit organizations that offer humanities programming, but are not strictly cultural organizations, may also be eligible for project support. Please contact us for guidance.

Hardship due to the pandemic includes, but is not limited to:

  • Risk of permanent closure

  • Loss of significant revenue

  • Loss of paid staff

  • Loss of venue or workspace 

Organizations that received a 2020 Cultural Relief Grant from the Vermont Arts Council or Vermont Humanities and/or a Vermont Economic Recovery Grant for Cultural Organizations from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD), or other state or federal Covid-19 relief grants, are eligible to apply for this program as well.

As required by federal guidelines, organizations must have a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number. While the number is not required when you apply, we cannot disperse funds without this registration. DUNS numbers are easy to obtain; visit the Obtain a DUNS Number page on the website for guidance.

This grant program is not open to:

  • Organizations without 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status

  • Individuals

  • Religious, political, or advocacy organizations

  • Government agencies

  • Pre-K through Grade 12 schools

  • Universities, colleges, and academic departments. (Arts and cultural organizations that operate under the umbrella of a college or university with 501c3 status may apply.)

  • Libraries, for general operating support. (Public libraries may only apply for humanities-based projects.)

Special Consideration

Organizations serving and led by members of communities traditionally under-resourced in the arts and humanities are encouraged to apply. These groups include:

  • People of color or indigenous people

  • People who identify as LGBTQ+

  • People who live in rural areas

  • People with disabilities

  • People who identify as immigrants or refugees

  • People whose first (or only) language is not English

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.

First time applicants are encouraged to apply. Contact us if you need help. 

Grant Award

Grant awards are based on organization size:

  • Annual operating budget up to $250,000: $5,000 grant

  • Annual operating budget between $250,000 and $750,000: $10,000 grant

  • Annual operating budget larger than $750,000: $15,000 grant

Organizations should use their expenses from FY 2019, prior to the pandemic, to determine organization size. 

Awards may be made by the Vermont Arts Council, Vermont Humanities, or both. 

What We Will Fund 

Vermont Humanities grant awards may be used for the following purposes:

  • Humanities programming

  • General operating costs of humanities-focused organizations

  • Strategic planning and capacity building efforts related to preparing, responding to, and recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic

  • Technical/consultant needs related to a digital transition or in support of preservation and access programs

  • Expansion of outdoor and virtual humanities programming due to the effects of the pandemic or to transition from traditional environments to those that are more accessible

  • Equity assessments and planning related to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis

Vermont Arts Council grant awards may be used to support day-to-day business expenses or operating costs, including any or all of the following:

  • Salary support, full or partial, for one or more staff positions

  • Fees/stipends for artists and/or contractual personnel for services they provide for specific activities in support of your organization’s general operations

  • Facilities costs such as rent and utilities (for example, electric, phone, and gas bills.) These costs are not to include upgrades to HVAC/ventilation systems. Costs related to home offices are unallowable.

  • Costs associated with health and safety supplies for staff and/or visitors (for example, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and hand sanitizer) 

  • Marketing and promotion costs

Note: Any organizational activities funded by Arts Council grants must be part of the organization’s regular, day-to-day work and cannot be for a new or special project or program. 

Funded activities for all grantees must start no later than December 1, 2021 and must end no later than November 30, 2022. Funds can be used retroactively to cover expenses incurred after March 15, 2021. These grants do not require a match.

What We Do Not Fund 

Grant awards can NOT be used for the following purposes:

  • 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/non-NEA federal funds 

  • Competitive regranting

  • Cancellation costs

  • Pre-award costs dating to before March 15, 2021

  • Travel (both foreign and domestic)

  • 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 

Application Deadlines 

There will be two application deadlines for this program:

  • Round One: July 21, 2021 by 5 pm

  • Round Two: September 14, 2021 by 5 pm 

Applications will be reviewed by an outside peer review panel. Applications that are not funded in Round One will automatically be re-considered in Round Two. 

Applicants will receive a decision or a request for additional information within two to four weeks of submission. Awards will be released upon receipt of a signed contract. A brief final report will be required 30 days after the grant end date. Reports will include brief narrative questions, and a request for photos and stories from your work.

View a draft of the required final report (PDF).

Please note: The Vermont Arts Council is managing the application process through their portal. The Council recently switched to a new grant management system. If you have applied for a grant using the old system, your login credentials will no longer work. All applicants, new and old, must register in this new system using the “Register” link on the portal landing page. All organization applicants must be approved before the applications become visible. Please allow one to two business days for approval. If you run into issues with registration or signing in, please email Meredith Bell.

Application Review and Selection Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on demonstrated need rather than on a polished application. With these limited funds, we seek to fund a diverse range of organizations of different disciplines, sizes, geographic locations, and backgrounds.

The review committee will also consider: 

  • Quality of the organization’s work, artists or presenters, and/or services, and the organization’s ability to carry out the work

  • Potential to have a significant and immediate impact on the arts and humanities workforce

  • The importance and appropriateness of the project to the mission and core work of the organization

  • Fair and appropriate compensation provided to artists or presenters involved with programming

  • The extent to which the organization prioritizes equity and engages underserved populations in governance, leadership, and programming

Access Compliance and Nondiscrimination Policy 

The Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Humanities are committed to supporting entities that maintain an environment free from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic bias, disability, citizenship, veteran status, or other category protected by applicable state or federal law. Grant recipients who receive federal or state funds must be in compliance with the requirements of Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the ADA Amendment Act of 2008, and the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design along with 2010 ADA Title III regulations for nondiscrimination.


We welcome conversations well in advance of your application. Our role is to help you prepare the strongest application possible and support you in the application process.

Inquiries about the Vermont Covid-19 Cultural Recovery Grant Program can be made by sending an email to [email protected].

Inquiries about using the online application system can be made by sending an email to Meredith Bell or by calling (802) 402-4478. We will respond to your voicemail within one business day.

Request More Information

If you are interested in receiving information about how to apply for assistance, please fill out the form at the link below and we will include you in future communications.

Fill out the information request form.

grant homepage
grant faqs
back to top

admin-place June 17, 2021