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October 2013

the latest from Suite 603

October 31, 2013

Federal/State Partnership is delighted to be back at work
after the government shutdown.

Etched in Collective History at the Birmingham Museum of Art

Etched in Collective History presents "the work of artists who interrogate, depict, and memorialize the Civil Rights Movement." See it in the Jemison Galleries at the Birmingham Museum of Art prior to the Capps Lecture, November 8, at the National Humanities Conference.
Meet NEH staffers at the Federation conference
Ave atque vale / Hail and farewell: Stuart Rockoff becomes the Mississippi Humanities Council's third executive as Barbara Carpenter retires
Longtime humanities insider Erik Jorgensen now looks at humanities councils from the outside
"How can we model the behavior we seek to inspire?" State humanities councils, the economy, fundraising, and philanthropy

* President Obama proclaimed October National Arts and Humanities Month.
* Just in: Elizabeth "Liz" Goggins is the new Virgin Islands Humanities Council executive. She'll be at the Federation conference.
* Judy Dobbs, Maryland Humanities Council, received the first "Outstanding Professional at a Social Studies-related Organization" award by the Maryland Council for Social Studies.
* The Washington Post wrote about the Humanities Council of Washington, DC's House History Workshops where 156 people learned to research the history of their homes.

Meet NEH staffers at the Federation conference

The Old Post Office, home of the NEH since 1983.
The Old Post Office, home of the NEH since 1983.
 

Each year, the Federation of State Humanities Councils' National Humanities Conference provides a great opportunity for NEH and state humanities council staffers to meet and talk. You can find us at the following sessions:

Friday 11:00-12:15: Carol Peters, director of the EDSITEment Partnership, along with Judy Dobbs of the Maryland Humanities Council, will speak on "Coming Together in Education with NEH’s EDSITEment"; and Karen Mittelman, director of Public Programs, will talk about NEH's Bridging Cultures initiative, "Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle"

Friday 3:30-4:45: Federal/State Partnership's director, Edie Manza, presents the orientation to NEH for the council board members

Saturday 9:00-10:15: Robert Straughter, director of the Office of Grant Management, "lifts the veil" on managing a General Operating Support grant

Saturday 10:45-12:00: Laura Davis, NEH Inspector General, brings everyone up to date with the concerns and interests of the Office of the Inspector General regarding sound council financial management and controls

Saturday 12:00-1:15: NEH Acting Chair Carole Watson will speak at the luncheon

Saturday 1:30-2:45: Federal/State Partnership's Kathleen Mitchell will be joined by Stuart Parnes, Connecticut Humanities; Michael L. Chambers II, Humanities Council of Washington, DC; and Diane Wakeman, Florida Humanities Council, for an interactive conversation about leading by example and modeling behaviors we seek to inspire

Be on the lookout as well for Eva Caldera, Assistant Chairman for Partnership and Strategic Initiatives; Courtney Chapin, White House Liaison and Director of Congressional Affairs; Judy Havemann, director, Office of Communications; Tony Mitchell, director of human resources; and Malcolm Richardson, Senior Partnership Officer.

Ave atque vale / Hail and farewell: Stuart Rockoff becomes the Mississippi Humanities Council's third executive as Barbara Carpenter retires

Stuart Rockoff
Stuart Rockoff
 

Be sure to give Stuart Rockoff a warm welcome when you see him at the National Humanities Conference. He begins his work at the new executive at the Mississippi Humanities Council on tomorrow, November 1. One of his first responsibilities will be to attend the conference.

Stuart moved to Jackson in 2002 to become the Director of the History Department at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life. In 2010, he received the Preserver of Mississippi Culture Award from the Council in recognition of his work with it as a project director for grant-funded programs, scholar, oral historian, evaluator, and lecturer. His bachelor of arts degree in U.S. history is from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. His master of arts and PhD, also in U.S. history, are from the University of Texas at Austin.

Stuart succeeds Barbara Carpenter who is retiring after 27 years with the Council, 17 of them as director. We wish Barbara well.

Longtime humanities insider Erik Jorgensen now looks at humanities councils from the outside

Erik Jorgensen at his desk in the Maine House of Representatives
Erik Jorgensen at his desk in the Maine House of Representatives

Former Maine Humanities Council Executive Director Erik Jorgensen visited the Federal/State Partnership offices recently to catch up and talk about his transition from Council director to state legislator. After being elected he was assigned to Maine's Appropriations Committee, and in that role has been working on learning and developing the state budget. He noted that he has been on a very steep learning curve, and that there is a perspective shift "going from one side of the desk to the other."

The most prescient advice he got was from an MHC project scholar and former state senator who told him that, for a humanist, the most difficult transition would be the requirement to vote yes or vote no; "There are no yellow lights, gray areas, or maybes." Erik noted with some amusement the contrast of going from an environment where one is always trying to persuade news media to cover the work, to one where the challenge is to keep the press at arm's length. He also said that nobody should take for granted the lively intellectual life of working in the humanities. This is his first job outside of a college or cultural organization, and "while there are plenty of very smart and thoughtful people, an appreciation for intellectual endeavor is not always front and center."

Erik especially appreciates getting notes from Council grant recipients, who were advised, based on guidelines that he wrote at the MHC years ago, "to write to your legislator about your project."

He remains on the Federation board, is in frequent touch with the Maine Council, and looks forward to seeing everyone in Birmingham.

"How can we model the behavior we seek to inspire?" State humanities councils, the economy, fundraising, and philanthropy

"How America Gives" from the Chronicle of Philanthropy
"How America Gives" from the Chronicle of Philanthropy

The interactive website "How America Gives" launched in 2012. Covering individual or household charitable giving, it provides the giving patterns in a zip code and in a red or blue state. It shows the impact of religion and faith on giving and it spotlights giving in big cities.

In terms of individual giving, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities' experience of fundraising is dramatically at odds with its state's overall giving levels as is that of Humanities Nebraska. According to the 2012 income survey conducted by the Federation of State Humanities Councils, 11 percent of RICH's revenue comes from individual donations, and individual contributions make up 13 percent of HN's revenues. Both anticipate that their levels of individual donations will have increased in 2013. In "How America Gives," Rhode Island is ranked 44th in charitable giving and Nebraska is ranked 36th.

Chris Sommerich, executive director of Humanities Nebraska, says that, "whether it is public taxpayer dollars or charitable donations, our responsibility is to provide the vision for what that support makes possible, to steward those resources smartly, and to tell the stories of what is happening thanks to that support. In a sense, we are our states’ storytellers, after all. ... It’s simply a matter of getting the stories out." Humanities Nebraska is currently experiencing its strongest year of fundraising in its 40-year history, raising nearly $400,000 from $5-$10 donations on up to five-figure gifts, and from donors all across the state.

Philanthropy has changed in Rhode Island, and with it, fundraising. Elizabeth Francis, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities' executive, writes that, "as Rhode Island emerges from the recession, albeit slowly, the need for solutions has inspired coordinated efforts to develop a shared vision of the state's assets and to spur both business and community development. ... The Council's role as a funder is increasingly to catalyze innovation, thus increasing its ability to attract support and to build public-private partnerships." To do so, it is investigating the state's distinct opportunities, articulating the needs and potential of the public humanities, and telling "deeper, more diverse, and compelling narratives."

Read the full article to learn more about the work of fundraising and philanthropy in Nebraska and Rhode Island. It will also provide a window into the economic contexts in which the state humanities councils work in both those states, as well as in Colorado, Michigan, and Ohio.

Read more >>
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This series is based on the Federation of State Humanities Councils' 2013 conference theme of inclusion. It surveys the challenges the 56 councils face as they confront such issues as geography, educational and cultural resources, audiences, and philanthropy in their work.

 

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National Endowment for the Humanities

Federal/State Partnership is the liaison between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the nonprofit network of 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils