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Tampa Bay organizations are awarded Florida Humanities COVID-19 relief grants

A bungalow with garden and stone marker
Woodson African American Museum of Florida
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The Woodson African American Museum of Florida in St. Petersburg is one of 11 Pinellas county nonprofits to be awarded a 2021 Florida Humanities American Rescue Plan grant.

The National Endowment for the Humanities received $135 million to assist organizations across the country. State humanities councils each received a portion of the NEH award.

Dozens of non-profits in the greater Tampa Bay region will soon get a financial boost as part of the American Rescue Plan.

When the federal relief package was passed by Congress in March, the National Endowment for the Humanities received $135 million to help groups affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Statewide partners, including Florida Humanities, are now distributing nearly $2 million in grants to museums, historic sites and other humanities-focused nonprofits.

In all, 80% of total funding was awarded to organizations with budgets of less than $500,000.

Florida Humanities Executive Director Nashid Madyun says many of these groups faced challenges like longtime closures and reduced capacity.

"Closing the doors to the public, not having traffic, can be catastrophic,” he said. “We estimate that about 500 jobs were saved because of this initiative."

Madyun also noted that the ARP funds provide a safety net for organizations and a lifeline to the state’s history and cultural organizations.

“For smaller nonprofits, when bills are paid and staff are safe and intact, that type of alleviation is immeasurable,” Madyun said.

African-American man in blue suit and orange tie smiles at camera.
Nashid Madyun is the Executive Director of Florida Humanities, a statewide partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"These organizations, they have their finger on the pulse. They understand the history that goes back generations. If we're not able to support organizations not just through funding but our patronage, there's a chance that those stories will go untold. Those stories will go unpreserved."

The funding package is the largest single grants initiative Florida Humanities has managed and distributed at once.

Nearly 30 non-profit organizations, museums and historic groups in the greater Tampa Bay region were awarded grants.

The Florida Humanities ARP Impact Report, which includes a complete list of the state’s 129 awardees, is available here.

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