Implementing Climate Smart Initiatives to Protect the Humanities

Jun 27, 2024 1:15:59 PM / by Mari Crocitto

Implementing Climate Smart Initiatives to Protect the Humanities

[…] Disasters come in all shapes and sizes—fires, hurricanes, economic downturns, droughts, virus outbreaks, terrorism. We can’t predict how long the impact will be felt but we can do much to be ready. […] Disasters stretch the limits of community systems. Communities that recover best are […] those that have invested in social fabric, inter-connectedness, physical and emotional infrastructure, and those that have woven bonds between sectors and between citizens.

Jennifer Cole, Metro Nashville
Arts Commission1

Given the uncertainty of disasters, humanities organizations must have precautionary preparedness plans to ensure that their valuable works are accounted for. Some risk strategies to develop include:

  • Relocating pieces to more structurally-sound areas;
  • Conducting comprehensive structural assessments of the building to determine areas of vulnerability;
  • Training staff to know the plan of action when disasters occur;
  • Prioritizing pieces of most importance; and
  • Ensuring that individuals are not put in harm's way in order to protect their work.2

The National Endowment for the Humanities has reopened its Climate Smart Humanities Organizations program for the 2024 cycle, offering a total of $2.5 million to ensure that humanities organizations are prepared against the risks of climate change. The final deadline for this opportunity is September 18, 2024, yet applicants can submit an optional draft by August 9, 2024 to ensure their work adheres to the application’s requirements.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Accredited institutions of higher education;
  • Tax-exempt 501c3 organizations;
  • Federally recognized Native American Tribal governments; and
  • State or local governments (or one of their agencies).

Applicants are capable of receiving up to $300,000 worth of federal funds towards activities such as risk assessments, energy audits, and meetings with consultants. There will also be a focus on either two separate but related priorities:

  • Adaptation Planning/Assessment – The preparation and adjustment to expected climate change scenarios that humanities-focused facilities/institutions will need to prepare for.
  • Mitigation Planning/Assessment – The reduction of an institution’s energy costs and environmental impact.

A one-to-one non-federal cost match will be required. In-kind gifts and funds from the applicant or any subrecipient organizations are ineligible. Projects are also expected to be completed within 24 months.


Humanities organizations interested in improving their facilities and readying themselves to protect their cultural, historical, and educational artifacts should contact USFCR’s Grant Team at (877) 252-2700 and complete the grant assessment below for further assistance.

Don't miss out on the funding that could elevate your project to the next level!

Take the Grant Assessment

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1.  Cole, Jennifer. “Why Arts Organizations Need to Prepare for Disasters Before They Happen” (blog). National 
Endowment for the Arts. April 16, 2016. 

2. Braveman, Seth. “How to Keep Art Safe during Natural Disasters” (blog). PedestalSource. April 20, 2018.

Tags: News, Hot Grants

Mari Crocitto

Written by Mari Crocitto