The Endowment is directed by a chairman who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a term of four years. Advising the chairman is the National Council on the Humanities, a board of 26 distinguished private citizens who are also appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The National Council Members serve staggered six-year terms.
Chairman Jim Leach was nominated by President Barack Obama in July 2009 and confirmed by the Senate in early August. He began his term on August 12, 2009 and resigned on May 4, 2013. Leach previously served 30 years representing southeastern Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and founded and co-chaired the Congressional Humanities Caucus.
NEH comprises seven program division and offices and several administrative offices. NEH also supports and works closely with the humanities councils in each state and territory.