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National Endowment for the Humanities Receives $2.5 Million Gift from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2001--The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has made a $2.5 million gift in support of NEH's Regional Humanities Centers Initiative. The gift-the single largest ever awarded to the NEH by a private sector donor-will help create a nationwide network of 10 major regional centers dedicated to preservation, research and lifelong learning about the heritage and cultures of America's regions.

"We are deeply grateful for Knight Foundation's generous investment in our vision to create regional centers," said NEH Chairman William R. Ferris. "Regional centers are at the heart of NEH efforts to encourage all of us to rediscover America. They will highlight that special sense of place which connects us to where we grew up or to where we live now. Regional centers will deepen our understanding and pride in the people, culture and history that make every community in our nation unique."

"NEH has come up with a superbly creative idea built on an enduring truth about our vast country," said Hodding Carter, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. "We are a land of many regions and peoples, and our culture reflects that diversity. Knight Foundation is delighted to be participating with NEH in building an innovative approach to that national reality."

NEH is seeking to raise a total of $50 million over five years from foundations, corporations, individual philanthropists and Congress to underwrite grants to 10 educational institutions, to be selected on a competitive basis, to implement plans for regional humanities centers. Each regional center finalist will be required to raise its own funds to match the implementation grant, 3 to 1, priming it to play a major role as steward and educator for the region's share of America's heritage.

NEH raised nearly $1 million from private donors last year to make planning grants to two universities in each of the 10 regions identified for the NEH initiative: Pacific, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, Central, Deep South, South Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, New England. The 20 grants were awarded on the basis of each institution's existing resources, capacity for original research and documentation of regional heritage, plans for educational outreach to schools, communities and cultural tourists, and commitment to creating regionwide partnerships.

Institutions that have been awarded planning grants are:

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities.

  • Pacific (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands)
    San Francisco State University, Calif.
    University of California, Davis
  • Southwest (Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas)
    Arizona State University, Tempe
    Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos
  • Rocky Mountains (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming)
    University of Montana, Missoula
    University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Plains (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota)
    North Dakota State University, Fargo
    University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Upper Mississippi Valley (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin)
    Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Central (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia)
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
    Ohio University, Athens
  • Deep South (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee)
    Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
    University of Mississippi, Oxford
  • South Atlantic (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)
    College of Charleston, S.C.
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville/ Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
  • Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia)
    Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa. / Rutgers University, Camden, N.J..
    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
    Brown University, Providence, R.I.
    University of New Hampshire-Durham

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Office of Communications at (202) 606-8446 or info@neh.gov