The PAST organization of Union County operates the Heritage House in Jonesboro. File photo.

PAST among organizations to receive emergency grants

Illinois Humanities on May 5 announced it will award 24 COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants, totaling $60,000. 

A Union County organization is among those receiving grant funds.

The 24 organizations funded in this round include:

PAST of Union County (Jonesboro).

Gallatin County Historical Society (Shawneetown).

Gen. John A. Logan Museum (Murphysboro).

Washington County Historical Society (Nashville).

Williamson County Historical Society (Marion).

PAST operates the Heritage House in Jonesboro. PAST relies entirely on donations and events it hosts for funding. Fund-raisers have been temporarily cancelled due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

PAST will  be receiving $2,500, which will help to cover the costs for utilities, insurance, lawn care, maintenance and an alarm system. The grant funds are seen as a life-saver for the organization.

The purpose of these general operating (non- project) grants is to help smaller humanities organizations throughout Illinois weather the current pandemic.

“Especially in this moment of duress, Illinois Humanities is proud to support not-for-profit organizations that promote the importance of the humanities in private and public life and that inspire collective action and hope,” said Illinois Humanities executive director Gabrielle Lyon in a news release.

“These champions of the humanities make their communities and our whole state more vibrant.”

The 24 Illinois Humanities COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants are meant to help humanities organizations with budgets of $300,000 or less that are based in Illinois outside the city of Chicago. 

Applicants were ranked by commitment to the humanities, budget size and location, statement of need, and the actions groups are taking to confront the programmatic and financial challenges being inflicted by the pandemic.

The grants represent the first of three rounds of COVID-19 emergency relief grants that Illinois Humanities will make between now and the end of October. 

The next two rounds of grants are also meant to help alleviate stress on Illinois humanities organizations. 

In addition to more general operating support, grants will be made that support innovation, adaption, and strengthening access to programming. 

They will also be awarded for projects that make community experiences during the pandemic visible and that highlight resiliency throughout the state. 

The next two rounds are made possible by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, CARES, allocations to the National Endowment for the Humanities.  

Illinois Humanities has a number of other grants offerings available in 2020, in addition to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants. 

Illinois Humanities promotes and supports the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community and strengthen civic engagement. 

Illinois Humanities is a nonprofit organization and the state’s affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

The Gazette-Democrat

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