Wyden, Merkley: More than $1.2 Million to Oregon Institutions of Learning to Help with Economic Recovery from COVID-19

Wyden, Merkley: More than $1.2 Million to Oregon Institutions of Learning to Help with Economic Recovery from COVID-19

University of Oregon, Lewis & Clark College, Willamette University & High Desert Museum to benefit

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that four educational institutions in Oregon will receive a combined more than $1.2 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help programs recover from the economic burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our museums, colleges and universities continue to struggle to stay financially viable as this pandemic rages on,” Wyden said. “As our nation builds back better, cultural and educational institutions must be preserved so they can continue to generate local jobs and provide opportunities for intellectual, social and emotional growth to students now and in future generations.”

“Economic recovery from COVID-19 must be robust and reach every sector that was affected, including our institutions of higher learning,” said Merkley. “This grant will allow universities, colleges and museums to sustain their operations and continue their mission of educating students and inspiring participation in higher education. I will continue fighting for the stability of institutions that grow and develop the brightest young leaders of the future.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities has offered COVID-19 relief grants through the American Rescue Plan Act—which Wyden and Merkley voted for earlier this year— to help the humanities community recover from the economic burdens of the pandemic, reopen and retain staff. The awards are listed below.

  • University of Oregon: $326,233
  • High Desert Museum: $187,487
  • Lewis and Clark College: $331,528
  • Willamette University: $449,976

“The pandemic impacted the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) on all levels – from revenue loss and reduced staffing, to programmatic changes resulting in limited course offerings, to restricted opportunities for Native and other university students to learn about and work with endangered languages. The pandemic has affected our Tribal community partners in immeasurable ways, making the urgency of our work even more important. Federal relief grants have allowed us to continue offering programming throughout the pandemic by moving courses, workshops, and content we usually deliver face-to-face to online learning spaces. This grant will allow NILI, one of the oldest organizations in the United States dedicated to Indigenous language revitalization, to increase course delivery and expand our reach to serve K-12 teachers at this critical time,” said Robert Elliott, Director, Northwest Indian Language Institute and Yamada Language Center, University of Oregon 

“We are grateful to Senators Wyden, Merkley, and the entire Oregon Delegation for recognizing the importance of humanities to the health and wellness of our state. The revitalization of Native American languages is critical to the well-being of  Tribal communities. Programs like those offered through the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI)  and the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages foster capacity-building for language revitalization at the community level. The pandemic presented our programs with great challenges but also opened opportunities to use telecommunications technology to reach a larger audience. The NEH ARP grant will allow NILI and the National Breath of Life to capitalize on these opportunities.  We’re grateful to Oregon’s congressional leaders for championing funding to support NILI, National Breath of Life and the National Endowment for the Humanities during this time and always,” said Gabriela Pérez Báez, Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Oregon and Co-Director of the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages 

“This generous American Rescue Plan grant from the NEH will allow Willamette University to strengthen our commitment to a liberal arts education despite the negative financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will allow us to expand offerings in high-demand humanities programs and to better connect students through hybrid classroom technologies.” said Dr. Carol S. Long, Carol S. Long is Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Willamette University.