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Humanities Endowment Announces 2003 Challenge Grants

27 U.S. INSTITUTIONS OFFERED $9 MILLION IN MATCHING FUNDS

Awards include three to cultural institutions in Philadelphia, Pa.

PHILADELPHIA, December 10, 2003--The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that 27 U.S. cultural institutions--including three in Philadelphia--will receive 2003 NEH Challenge Grants.

These new grants, which require the institutions receiving them to match the offered federal funds on a 4-to-1, 3-to-1, or 1-to-1 basis, are offered only when NEH funds will make a significant improvement in humanities programs, help institutions carry out long-term plans for strengthening their basic resources and activities in the humanities, and enhance financial stability through increased nonfederal support. If successful in raising the required $29.7 million in matching funds, institutions will receive nearly $9.1 million in federal funds from NEH. Together the federal and nonfederal funds will provide nearly $39 million in new funds to support the humanities.

NEH Chairman Bruce Cole announced the new grants at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the three Philadelphia institutions selected to receive new Challenge grants. The NEH challenge grant to the museum will provide up to $800,000 in federal matching funds, making in the largest challenge grant of this cycle and the largest made by the Endowment since 1994. Other NEH Challenge Grants in Philadelphia were awarded to the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts.

"NEH Challenge Grants recognize the commitment of all these institutions to their humanities programs," said Cole. "The Endowment is proud to play its part in encouraging these institutions to meet the challenge of generating support from individual, foundation, and corporate donors. The combined effect of federal and nonfederal funds will reap tremendous, long-term benefits in the cultural life of our communities and our nation."

Institutions receiving their first NEH Challenge Grant must raise from nonfederal donors three times the amount offered. Recipients of subsequent challenge grant awards are required to raise four times the amount offered. In most cases, recipients have 56 months to raise funds from nonfederal sources.

The following institutions are among those receiving new NEH Challenge Grants:

  • Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Pa., will receive up to $250,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 3-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support the Academy Fellow, which is a key humanities position in the Academy's library, and for humanities programming.
  • Chicago Humanities Festival, Chicago, Ill., will receive up to $400,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 3-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support humanities programming and educational initiatives.
  • Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, Philadelphia, Pa., will receive up to $300,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 3-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support enhanced preservation services for humanities collections.
  • History of Science Society, Gainesville, Fla., will receive up to $125,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 4-to-1. Funds raised will provide an endowment to support a bibliographer of the society's annual monograph and cumulative database, the Isis Current Bibliography.
  • Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, will receive up to $400,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 4-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support a preservation librarian, contract preservation services, and conservation supplies.
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pa., will receive up to $800,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 4-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support the position of Senior Curator of Education and for humanities programming.

The Challenge Grants announced today include ten awarded as part of the Endowment's Special Initiative in Local History, which concludes this year. Grants awarded as part of this initiative must be matched on a one-to-one basis. They are designed to build opportunities for research, education, and public programs in local history, especially in communities underserved by humanities activities. Among the ten grants awarded as part of this special initiative are the following:

  • Greenbelt Museum, Greenbelt, Md., will receive up to $100,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 1-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support the position of Education Coordinator.
  • Hanover Tavern Foundation, Hanover, Va., will receive up to $100,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 1-to-1. The funds raised will support an endowment for an education coordinator and for humanities programs at the History Discovery Center.
  • Oberlin Heritage Center, Oberlin, Ohio, will receive up to $100,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 1-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support the position of museum education coordinator and for a local history symposium to be held every two years.
  • Fort Apache Heritage Foundation, Fort Apache, Ariz., will receive up to $100,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 1-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support the foundation's oral history research, presentations by White Mountain Apache elders and cultural experts, and creation of exhibits relating to tribal and regional history.

A complete list of the Challenge Grants awarded is available as a five-page PDF in the box above.

As part of the Endowment's We the People initiative, NEH invites proposals for challenge grants designed to help institutions and organizations secure long-term improvements in and support for humanities activities focused on exploring significant themes and events in American history. NEH is particularly interested in projects that advance knowledge of the founding principles of the United States in their full historical and institutional context. Additional information about this new Challenge Grant initiative is available on the Internet at www.NEH.gov. The initial deadline for the receipt of applications is February 2, 2004.

NEH grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Throughout the year, humanities experts outside of the Endowment and members of the National Council on the Humanities consider all applications and advise NEH on the quality and significance of each proposed project.

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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