New Hampshire Humanities awarded $350,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

New Hampshire Humanities is the recipient of a $350,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The grant, which must be matched by $1,050,000 in non-federal contributions, will support the long-range development of New Hampshire Humanities’ popular speakers bureau, Humanities to Go.

Over the past 30 years, New Hampshire Humanities has developed a superb mechanism for delivering the humanities to the people of New Hampshire. Called Humanities to Go, this program works the way the state works, capitalizing on New Hampshire’s highly decentralized structure and our collective belief in local control. It is by far the most popular public humanities activity in the state, with more than 450 programs – all free and open to the public - offered each year and attended by more than 19,000 Granite Staters, in partnership with more than 280 local organizations in more than 150 New Hampshire cities and towns. Current Humanities to Go programs range from a talk on NH’s Native American history pre-contact to a discussion of civil liberties vs. security in America today to a living history presentation of Eleanor Roosevelt.

The Challenge Grant will fund the long-range redesign of Humanities to Go in order to increase interactivity, incorporate new program formats, and expand training and mentoring of scholars.

“Our vision is to give New Hampshire residents the opportunity to experience – and practice – the humanities, and to be able to do so together with their neighbors in their own communities in ways that are appealing to people today and tomorrow,” said Deborah Watrous, New Hampshire Humanities Executive Director. “Humanities to Go will offer New Hampshire citizens vitally important occasions to engage with ideas and with one another thoughtfully and respectfully. It will offer the public the tools and knowledge that enable them to connect local stories, concerns, and traditions with global questions about the human condition.”

“The $350,000 NEH Challenge Grant serves as a ’seal of approval’ for this project and for New Hampshire Humanities,” Watrous added. “We hope and expect that it will inspire thousands of people in New Hampshire to invest in Humanities to Go in order to help us meet the NEH Challenge and to ensure that New Hampshire residents always have access to thoughtful conversation about issues that matter.”

This is the largest competitive grant that New Hampshire Humanities has received from the NEH in its 40 year history. In 2007, New Hampshire Humanities received a $225,000 grant from the Public Programs Division at NEH for a multi-year initiative on immigration in New Hampshire. In 1998, they were awarded a $200,000 Challenge Grant that formed the basis of an endowment supporting K-12 humanities education and teacher professional development.

“With these grants, the National Endowment for the Humanities continues its 50-year tradition of supporting excellence in the humanities,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “From scholarly books and humanities programs on college campuses to new digital humanities resources and preservation efforts at local museums, the projects receiving funding today will reach deeply into communities and expand access to our shared cultural heritage.” 

For more than four decades, New Hampshire Humanities has been connecting people to culture, history, places, ideas and one another. They bring the thrill of discovery and the power of ideas to people of all walks of life, from all corners of our state. They support local cultural and educational institutions during hard economic times by awarding grants for innovative educational programs and capacity-building. The programs of New Hampshire Humanities invite citizens to reason together, to learn from and listen to one another. They offer teachers cost-effective, content-rich professional development that strengthens the teaching of the humanities in our schools, from civics to Native American history. And they develop communities of readers, especially among those struggling with literacy and those new citizens just learning about their new culture and government.

The NEH is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

Note: Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed through Humanities to Go do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.