CARES Grants

Necessary CARES Documents

Please read the News Release for important CARES Act information and download and fill out the first three documents for attaching to your application. If awarded CARES funding, you are required to download and fill out the Final Report.

Funding for these grants has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan.

CARES Act Emergency Operating Grants

The South Dakota Humanities Council CARES Act Grant provides unrestricted operating and/or humanities program support to cultural organizations who have suffered program financial losses due to COVID-19 in the state of South Dakota. These grants are meant to provide small but immediate grants to humanities-based cultural organizations to help stabilize organizations by providing funds for them to maintain essential functions and retain core personnel during the current public health crisis and ensure their future success.

We anticipate the demand for COVID-19 Emergency Support Grants for cultural organizations will exceed the funds we have available. Therefore, the amount funded will be based on the organization's operating revenues, the panelists' assessment of the application, and the funds available for the program. If an organization is not awarded funding, we will retain their application for consideration should additional funding become available.

NOTE: Funding rounds have concluded. Check back for information about the possibility of additional rounds of funding.

Who is eligible?

To apply for a COVID-19 Emergency Support Grant for non-profit cultural organizations, you must meet the following criteria:

  • U.S. organizations with 501(c)(3) status
  • Public and 501(c)(3) accredited institutions of higher education
  • Federally recognized Native American tribal governments
  • A core mission to provide humanities programs open to the South Dakota public
  • Maintain a primary business address in South Dakota
  • Have a DUNS number. While not required when applying, funds cannot be allocated without this registration. An active SAMS registration is not required for this grant.

This includes but is not limited to these categories:

  • Public libraries and archives
  • Historical societies and heritage groups
  • Museums with a humanities focus
  • Historical homes and cultural sites

Who is not eligible?

The following organizations are not eligible to apply for a COVID-19 Emergency Support Grant:

  • International and for-profit entities
  • Government agencies or institutions
  • Nonprofit charitable organizations that are designated as private foundations by the IRS
  • Religious or primarily faith-based programs or organizations that receive a significant portion of their funding from a religious organization
  • Public, private, or parochial K-12 schools
  • Individuals
  • Groups that do not provide strong humanities programs, including arts organizations whose primary mission is the creation, performance, or display of art
  • Organizations who received an SDHC CARES grant during the first round of funding


Please send all inquiries to We will respond by email or call you upon request.

COVID-19 Response for SDHC Events & Programs

The South Dakota Humanities Council believes that public health and safety are top priorities and, as such, has outlined a policy for upcoming programs and events in light of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Additional Information 

NOTE: CARES funding has concluded.

Funding Levels

CARES Act General Operating Support Grants are for the general operating support of South Dakota based humanities and cultural organizations.

What size grant can my organization apply for through South Dakota Humanities Council CARES Act General Operating Support Grants Program?

CARES Act General Operating Support Grants will fund requests up to $10,000 for organizations with budgets up to $500,000 and up to $20,000 for organizations with budgets $500,000 and above. Awards will be determined, in part, by the applicant's financial need and annual operating budget. A match is not required.

The Council cannot award funding for project costs that overlap with any other pending or approved applications for federal funding. For example, if you are applying for funding support from the National Endowment for the Arts to a specific expenditure, funds from this grant cannot be allocated for the same expenditure. It is the responsibility of the grant recipient to track expenditures separately.

When will applicant organizations receive notice of an award?

South Dakota Humanities Council will review and award grants during the application period of July 20-Aug. 31. Requests will be reviewed internally on a rolling basis and the fund will remain active until all monies have been committed. After an application has been received, an applicant can expect a decision within approximately fifteen business days. All South Dakota Humanities Council Cares Act funds must be awarded by October 31, 2020.  

What's the deadline to apply? 

Applications must be completed online beginning July 20, 2020 and no later than Aug. 31, 2020.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel and will be awarded based on available funds. Applicants will be notified via email of the application award status.

Applications that are not initially funded will remain under consideration for the duration of the grant period. South Dakota Humanities Council staff will inform applicants of the decision to either approve or hold their applications for further consideration. There will be no need to reapply. 

How do I apply?

Complete the online application by the deadline date, Aug. 31, 2020. The application is at the bottom of this page.

If I receive a grant, what are my responsibilities?

  • Sign a grant award letter
  • Acknowledge South Dakota Humanities Council and NEH in all public communications.
  • Submit a final report by November 1, 2020 

If I have questions, who can help me?

Please send all inquiries to We will respond by email or call you upon request.


SDHC Cares Act Impact So Far

Cares Awardees

SDHC has awarded $414,215.20 to 49 organizations in 30 counties. See on the adjacent map.

  • Timberlake & Area Historical Society, Timber Lake - $6,500

  • South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Hill City - $10,000

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant Society, De Smet - $10,000

  • Yankton County Historical Society, Yankton - $9,710

  • Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home, Yankton - $6,000  

  • Midland Pioneer Museum Association, Midland - $2,500
  • High Plains Western Heritage Center, Spearfish - $10,000
  • Boys & Girls Club of Moody County, Flandreau - $10,000
  • SDSU, English Department, Brookings - $5,350
  • South Dakota Oral History Center, Vermillion - $5,600
  • Brookings County Historical Society/Museum, Volga - $3,000
  • Lake County Historical Society, Madison - $9,408
  • Klein Museum, Mobridge - $10,000
  • Brule County Historical Society, Inc. - $1,500

  • Trail of Governors Foundation, Pierre - $10,000

  • South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, Brookings - $14,050

  • The Journey Museum, Rapid City - $20,000
  • Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS), Martin - $10,000
  • Gregory Public Library, Gregory - $6,000
  • Geddes Historical Society, Geddes - $4,400
  • Prairie Historical Society, Madison - $20,000
  • Belle Fourche Public Library, Belle Fourche - $10,000
  • Norman B. Mears Library, University of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls - $7,929.20
  • Wagner Public Library, Wagner - $10,000
  • Museum of Wildlife, Science & Industry, Webster - $10,000
  • Hand County Library, Miller - $6,793
  • Custer County Library, Custer - $10,000
  • Stockyards Plaza Inc./Stockyards Ag Experience, Sioux Falls - $7,000
  • Dakotaland Museum, Huron - $3,000
  • Tripp County Library Grossenburg Memorial, Winner - $6,300
  • Avon Public Library, Avon - $3,500
  • Children's Museum of South Dakota, Brookings - $20,000
  • Clear Lake City Library, Clear Lake - $3,950
  • Kennebec Public Library, Kennebec - $6,000
  • Washington Pavilion of Arts & Science, Sioux Falls - $3,500
  • Tabor Public Library, Tabor - $1,000
  • Cozard Memorial Library, Chamberlain - $9,900
  • Deadwood History, Inc., Deadwood - $16,100
  • Lake Andes Carnegie Public Library, Lake Andes - $9,600
  • SDSU Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings - $14,000
  • South Dakota Hall of Fame, Chamberlain - $2,300
  • Haakon County Public Library, Philip - $9,900
  • Mitchell Public Library, Mitchell - $20,000
  • Deadwood Public Library, Deadwood - $10,025
  • Northern Prairie Arts, Watertown - $7,500
  • Dell Rapids Society of Historic Preservation, Dell Rapids - $2,500
  • White SD Area Historical Society and Museum, White - $1,000
  • Faulk County Historical Society, Faulkton - $8,500
  • Potter County Library, Gettysburg - $9,900







South Dakota State Railroad Museum in Hill City is an SDHC CARES Grant recipient. 

49 - CARES Grant Awards  

30 - Counties funded

$414,215.20 - funding provided for operating support