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Humanities Endowment Begins Year-Long Celebration of 40th Anniversary

Donors provide $1 million to expand humanities programming

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 29, 2005)--The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today began a year-long celebration of the federal agency's 40th anniversary with a private reception and program at the National Gallery of Art. Vice President Richard B. Cheney and Lynne V. Cheney attended the event and provided brief remarks to the estimated 500 dignitaries, donors, and cultural leaders and supporters assembled at the Gallery.

"For forty years, the NEH has strengthened our democracy by supporting the great ideas, ideals, and institutions that shaped America," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "Through the support of President Bush and Congress--especially for NEH's We the People initiative--the Endowment will continue to furnish citizens with the wisdom necessary to remain both fearless and free."

Guests received complimentary copies of Fearless and Free: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a new book with 18 conversations with a variety of humanities scholars and thinkers.

During the event, Chairman Cole announced that NEH has received more than $1 million in new support for the Endowment's programs and events throughout the upcoming anniversary year. NEH has received the following major gifts of $50,000 or more:

  • A major gift from the Honorable William D. Rollnick and the Honorable Nancy Ellison will support the production and distribution of Fearless and Free and NEH events during the year;
  • A major gift from the McCormick Tribune Foundation will expand the Endowment's We the People Bookshelf program and launch the 2006 Heroes of History Lecture and Idea of America Essay Contest on the theme of First Amendment rights;
  • A major gift from the Carnegie Corporation of New York will support the production and distribution of Fearless and Free, a new publication marking the agency's 40th anniversary;
  • A major gift from the History Channel will support a new video on the importance of the humanities marking the agency's 40th anniversary, the annual Jefferson Lecture, and NEH events during the year; and
  • A major gift from the Pew Charitable Trusts will support an expanded Landmarks of American History and Culture summer program in Philadelphia on the occasion of the Benjamin Franklin Bicentenary.

NEH also has received gifts from the National Trust for the Humanities to support 40th Anniversary programs and events, from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities for a 16-month 40th Anniversary commemorative calendar; from Scholastic, Inc., to support online educational resources for teachers, parents, and students; and from the John M. Olin Foundation to support the 40th Anniversary celebration and ongoing NEH programs in upcoming year.

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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