May 2018 Update - Federal/State Partnership

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Around the Nation: State Council Programming

Julie Buntin, author of Marlena, is the 2018 Nevada Reads visiting author

Nevada Humanities - Author Julie Buntin will present a series of events throughout northern Nevada during the month of May. Ms. Buntin is the author of Marlena: A Novel, which focuses on themes of belonging, poverty, coming-of-age, and the national opioid epidemic. For more information, please visit:  Nevada Reads - a statewide, public book club. 

Hawai'i Council for the Humanities Papahana Kuaola, through support from Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities, will kick off free tours starting May 26th and continuing through June and July. The tours share the value of stories as told through music and moʻolelo. Both Mele (poetry, songs, or chants) and Moʻolelo (Hawaiian literature) will be explored to help nurture the understanding and appreciation of traditional Hawaiian literature and the places to which they are connected.

South Carolina Humanities -  The Greenwood County Library in partnership with the Benjamin E. Mays Historical Site has been presenting a three-month series, "Let's Talk About Race in America." The following two programs will finish out the series which started in February: a film screening of Slavery by Another Name took place on Sunday, May 6th at 2:00 p.m. and will continue with a book discussion on Four Spirits, a novel by Sena Jeter Naslund, Sunday, May 20th, at 2:00 p.m.

NEH Grant Opportunities

Division of Public Programs

Deadline June 6, 2018

Digital Projects fort the Public 

Deadline August 8, 2018

Media Projects: Development Grants

Media Projects: Production Grants

Public Humanities Projects

Division of Education Programs

Deadline June 26, 2018

Humanities Initiatives at Community Colleges

Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Humanities Initiatives at Tribal Colleges and Universities

Deadline September 18, 2018

Humanities Connection Planning Grants

Humanities Connection Implementation Grants

Division of Preservation & Access

Deadline May 31, 2018

Common Heritage

NEH’s “Common Heritage” program supports community digitization and outreach events to increase public awareness and stewardship of heritage collections held by the public.  America’s cultural heritage is preserved not only in libraries, museums, archives, and other community organizations, but also in all of our homes, family histories, and life stories. The Common Heritage program aims to capture this vitally important part of our country’s heritage and preserve it for future generations. NEH has posted new guidelines here.  Applications are due on May 31, 2018.

Deadline August 1, 2018

Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants

Deadline  September 18, 2018

Documenting Endangered Languages

Mississippi Humanities Honors Former Board Chair and Founding Federation Board Member

Stuart Rockoff, Mississippi Humanities Council Director, with former MHC Board Chair and Founding Federation Board Member, Estus Smith

During a recent site visit to the Mississippi Humanities Council the council was reunited with one of its most stalwart leaders and community members, founding board member, Dr. Estus Smith. Dr. Smith was honored by Mississippi Humanities Council in 2015, receiving the inaugural Cora Norman Award, recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to the public humanities in Mississippi.

Throughout his long career, Dr. Estus Smith has been a pioneer for the public humanities in Mississippi. After growing up in Brookhaven, Dr. Smith graduated from Jackson State College in 1949. He later became a music professor and band director at Jackson State before serving as the Dean of the School of Liberal Studies and later Vice President for Academic Affairs.

When Dr. Smith was dean, Jackson State president Dr. John Peebles asked him to represent the college at a meeting at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington to discuss the creation of a state humanities council for Mississippi. In early 1972, Smith became one of the five founders of the Mississippi Committee for the Humanities, and for next dozen years, was instrumental in its development, working closely with its first director, Dr. Cora Norman. In 1977, he became chairman of the Mississippi Humanities Council board.  Dr. Smith led the Council board for five years, and was even on the founding board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, which continues today as an invaluable resource for the MHC and other state councils.

According to Stuart Rockoff, Executive Director of Mississippi Humanities Council, "While leading the council, Dr. Smith worked to ensure that the MHC reached out to all segments of our state and addressed important contemporary issues; this philosophy was later encapsulated by our motto that 'the humanities are for everyone.' During these crucial early years, Cora Norman liked to say no other citizen in Mississippi devoted more time to the Humanities Council aside from the small paid staff."

In 1984, Dr. Smith left Mississippi to work for the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio. During his time there as a Program Officer and later Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Smith supported numerous education and community engagement projects around the country, and became an important civic leader in Dayton. After retiring in 2003, Dr. Smith came back home to Mississippi, where he has resumed his role as a trusted advisor and community leader. Throughout his life and career, Dr. Smith has worked to show that the humanities can be a crucial tool in improving Mississippi and our world.

Nominations now open for the National Humanities Medal and Jefferson Lecturer


The National Humanities Medal honors individuals and organizations whose work has deepened our nation’s understanding of and engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) established this annual prestigious award in 1997 as the successor to the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, which the agency sponsored from 1989 to 1996. The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 8, 2018, learn more here

Each year the National Endowment for the Humanities selects an outstanding individual to deliver the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. The lectureship is the highest honor the federal government bestows for achievement in the humanities. NEH welcomes nominations from the public. Before submitting a nomination, please consult the list of past recipients for reference. Self-nominations are not permitted. To submit a nomination, please use the online nomination formNominations must be received by close of business, Friday, June 8, 2018.

Strengthen your Nonprofit with these Free Webinars

May 22: The Conversation You Are Not Having – and Should Be Having – about Measuring Your Fundraising Effectiveness 

Anne Wallestad, BoardSource president & CEO, and Andy Davis, director of education, will discuss a relatively new framework that helps board leaders measure and reflect on the efficacy of their fundraising efforts and avoid the risks of underinvesting in fundraising efforts. Register here.

    May 23: From Startup to Stagnation to Sustainable Success: The Nonprofit Board Lifecycle

    Lifecycles give us all helpful context to our evolution – as individuals, as businesses, and more. Every organization moves through lifecycle stages, as do boards of directors. Your board’s lifecycle stage can provide the organization with a more holistic approach to predicting and navigating current and future needs for meeting the mission. From startup to stagnation to sustainable success, every board needs to use the lifecycle model for adaptation and growth. Join us for this webinar to learn the lifecycle stages and their definitions; identify where your board is in its lifecycle, and what steps to take in achieving nonprofit governance excellence. Register here.

    May 24: A Closer Look at the 2018 Study on Nonprofit Investing

    As a follow-on to the recently concluded nonprofit investment webinar series, Dennis Gogarty of Raffa Wealth Management will be reporting out on Raffa’s 2018 Study on Nonprofit Investing (SONI). The study seeks to meet the need for timely, relevant, actionable data about how nonprofits invest their reserves and how those investments perform. Register here.

    BoardSource webinars are free of charge through your NEH-funded BoardSource membership. If you haven't signed up for your free membership, contact for more information.

    Fed/State on the Road: Rhode Island Council for the Humanities co-hosts a Congressional Delegation

    Clockwise from top left: Elizabeth Francis and Randall Rosenbaum open the Cultural Conversation; U.S. Senator Jack Reed addressing the audience; Karen Kenton meets with members of the Southside Cultural Center; and Elizabeth Francis leads a cultural walking tour of Providence.



    Earlier this month, Karen Kenton, Acting Director of Federal/State Partnership and Caitlin Green, NEH Congressional Affairs Specialist, traveled to Rhode Island to participate in A Cultural Conversation co-hosted by Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH) and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Council (RISCA).  Also participating in the program were Senators Reed and Whitehouse, Congressional Representatives Langevin and Cicilline, and Jane Chu, Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.  During the event, Kenton remarked, "In communities, large and small, urban and rural - in all corners of Rhode Island and throughout the states and territories -humanities programming enriches lives and positively impacts communities through education, community engagement, and by providing employment opportunities.” She continued "It is worth noting that the Endowments would not exist today were it not for the efforts of Rhode Island's Senator Claiborne Pell, who sponsored the legislation that created NEH and NEA. Pell described the arts and humanities as: 'two areas most significant to our nation's cultural advancement and to the full growth of a truly great society.'”

    After the event, Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director, RICH, and her team took Kenton and Green on a tour of RICH-supported programs, including a walking tour of downtown Providence using the Rhode Tour mobile app, website, and paper map, which were developed in partnership with Brown's Public Humanities program and the Rhode Island Historical Society; visits with the staff of New Urban Arts to learn about recent projects for at-risk youth connecting humanities to arts and civic engagement; Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island, a historic building in a low-income neighborhood that houses several organizations focused on Latin-American cultural heritage, preservation, and storytelling; and a walk through the historic Wedding Cake House, which is currently being renovated.  According to Kenton, “It was inspiring to meet the many scholars and professionals whose collaborative work is positively impacting the community.  Support and guidance by RICH is certainly at the heart of the vibrant humanities programming in Providence and throughout the state.”