Meelia Center receives NEH Humanities Access Grant

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The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently announced the first recipients of its new Humanities Access grant, a program offering significant grants to help enhance and support existing cultural programs for youth, communities of color, and economically disadvantaged populations. Thirty-four institutions and organizations across the country will receive a total of $2,950,000 in matching funds to support humanities programming for groups that have historically lacked access to the humanities.

Among the recipients is the Meelia Center for Community Engagement at Saint Anselm College, which will receive a $100,000 grant for its project, Enhanced Humanities Programming as a Bridge to School Success and College Access. Through its Humanities After School and Creative Writing programs, the Meelia Center’s Access Academy provides immigrant, refugee, and underrepresented high school students with an opportunity to build their academic skills, college readiness, and confidence as learners. The grant will allow the college to increase the number of participants, strengthen the existing humanities courses, and provide new humanities classes in philosophy, theology, history, art history, and literature. 

According to Meelia Center director Daniel Forbes, “Saint Anselm’s journey into the lives of under-served high school students began with New Hampshire Humanities’ support for our Humanities After-School (HAS) Program in 2010 as part of the statewide initiative Fences & Neighbors: NH’s Immigration Story.”

 Today the HAS program is one of seven educational offerings in the Access Academy targeting the same diverse high school students. Two of those campus-based educational programs are currently humanities

“With the NEH Humanities Access grant, the college will broaden the reach of the humanities to Manchester high school students and significantly expand the number and quality of humanities offerings within the Access Academy, said Forbes. “The NEH matching grant will, among other things, add 12 new humanities programs in the academy between 2018 and 2021.”

In order to receive the full amount, the institutions and organizations receiving this grant must match the NEH funds with the same amount of money raised from non-federal, third party donors.

“Humanities Access grants support innovative projects that will help ensure that high-quality cultural programming is available to everyone,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “Americans of every age, race, and economic status should be able to access the incredible opportunities that the humanities provide.”

Photo courtesy of the Meelia Center for Community Engagement