National Endowment for the Humanities grants have a major economic impact. By providing the backbone for strong local tourism economies and spurring additional private investment, NEH funding contributes to the financial health of organizations, cities, and states, while supporting strong communities.
NEH investments in museums and historic sites attract cultural heritage tourism, bolstering local economies. Over several decades, the NEH has supported the development of new exhibitions at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. These grants have had an outsized impact on the local economy as Monticello has welcomed nearly 400,000 annual visitors. Ninety-three percent were from outside Virginia and 50% stayed in a hotel for at least one night adding at least $13.1 million to the local economy. The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa, where the NEH has made similar long-term investments, adds $10 million per year to the city’s economy.
NEH challenge grants spur local investment in the humanities. By requiring a 3-to-1 match, NEH challenge grants encourage organizations, foundations, and philanthropists to invest in local institutions. Challenge grants support endowments for programming and operations and provide funding for major construction and renovation, creating jobs and sustaining organizations for decades to come. Since 1977, these grants have generated more than $3.1 billion in private support for humanities projects.
NEH public programs grants leverage additional financial support for organizations while encouraging community engagement in the humanities. In a recent survey of FY 2012 Division of Public Programs grant recipients, respondents indicated that NEH funding helped them leverage significant private funding. On average, these grantees raised $33 for every $1 of federal funding.