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NEH Grants to Leverage $34 Million for 17 Cultural Institutions

Four receive special recognition as We the People awards

WASHINGTON (June 17, 2004)--The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that 17 U.S. cultural institutions in 12 states will receive NEH Challenge Grants. Four of the awarded institutions earned special recognition as part of the Endowment's We the People initiative, which supports model projects that strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture.

These new grants, which require the awarded institutions to match the offered federal funds on a 4-to-1 or 3-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 $26 million in matching nonfederal funds, institutions will receive more than $7.3 million in federal funds from NEH. Together the federal and nonfederal funds will provide nearly $34 million in new support for the humanities.

"NEH is a catalyst for the long-term viability and strength of America's leading cultural institutions and their humanities programs," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "These grants draw support from individual, foundation, and corporate donors to benefit 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.

Four institutions received We the People awards, a special recognition for model projects that advance the study, teaching, and understanding of American history and culture:

  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, will receive up to $500,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 3-to-1. Funds raised will provide an endowment to support programs of the University's "Symposium on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy."
  • New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord, will receive up to $300,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 4-to-1. The funds raised will support the creation of an education center and an endowment for related humanities programming.
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, N.Y., will receive up to $600,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 3-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support staff positions and humanities programming.
  • Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, will receive up to $500,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 4-to-1. The funds raised will support an endowment of a preservation fund for the society's library and archives.

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

  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Calif., will receive up to $500,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 4-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support the Education Curator, a key humanities staff position, and for humanities programming.
  • Commonwealth Fund for Kentucky Educational Television, Lexington, will receive up to $500,000 in NEH funds that must be matched 3-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment to support humanities programming on local history and culture in Kentucky's public television system.
  • Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa., will receive up to $441,600 in NEH funds that must be matched 4-to-1. The funds raised will provide an endowment and bridge funding for curricular innovation, graduate fellowships, internships, and scholarly visitors in a multidisciplinary graduate program.

A complete list of the challenge grants awarded (3-page PDF) is available in the above box.

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 NEH and this new Challenge Grant initiative is available on the Internet at www.NEH.gov.

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