According to a recent article in The New York Times, the new federal administration’s Office of Management and Budget named the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as well as other social programs, as ones to be cut in the upcoming budget, soon to be proposed.

The Academy of American Poets, the nation’s largest member-supported organization championing poets and poetry, has worked with and received funding from both the NEA and NEH for a range of programs, including the first Poets-in-the-Schools program in 1966, the first major website for poetry in 1996, and a multimedia suite of free poetry lesson plans for K-12 teachers in 2016. In our own work alone, these programs and publications reach more than 20 million readers each year. Federal funding for the arts and humanities underwrites scores of other nonprofit poetry organizations and publishers, arts education programs, libraries, and archives, as well as the work of individual poets. Without federal support, many of these efforts may be jeopardized.

That’s why, for the first time in our organization’s history, the distinguished poets who serve on our Board of Chancellors have made a public statement in support of protecting these vital funding sources.

Since 1965, when the NEA launched, it has provided $116.6 million to literary organizations and more than $46 million to 3,000+ individual writers through individual fellowships. In 2017, the NEA awarded 37 fellowships to poets of $25,000 each for a total of $925,000. These poets are from 19 different states across the country. Current and previous recipients of NEA Literature Fellowships are tagged on

According to the NEA’s website, these fellowships represent “the NEA’s most direct investment in American creativity.” And their goal is “to encourage the production of new work and allow writers the time and means to write.”

Here are some additional facts and resources about the NEA and NEH:

  • The total annual budget for the NEA is $148 million, and the NEH has a $146 million budget, which represents 0.003% of the federal budget respectively.
  • The NEA budget amounts to just 46 cents per capita.
  • The NEA is the only funder, public or private, that supports the arts in all 50 states.
  • The United States funds the arts in different ways, but the NEA is the largest single funder of the arts across America.
  • In addition to supporting literary organizations and individual writers, the NEA’s literature program has two special literary projects—The Big Read, which encourages communities to read the same book, and Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation contest that annually engages more than 300,000 teens.

To find even more facts about the NEA, visit Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. Don’t miss its ten reasons to support the arts.

Jeffrey Lependorf, the executive director of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses and Small Press Distribution, recently gave the original NEA legislation a close read. What he discovered was inspiring.

Curious about how the federal budget process works? Find out.

What else can you do?