“A More Perfect Union” 

NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Commemorating the Nation’s 250th Anniversary

Since 1965, NEH has funded the telling of America’s story. In preparation for the anniversary of the founding of the United States in 1776, NEH is launching a major new initiative, “A More Perfect Union: NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Commemorating the Nation’s 250th Anniversary.”

“This agency-wide initiative will help Americans better understand the world’s oldest constitutional democracy and how our founding ideals are met in a pluralistic society,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede.  

Under “A More Perfect Union, NEH welcomes consideration of diverse topics in American history, from Native American culture to rural life to the rise of the industrial city, from the Civil War to the Cold War to the Civil Rights movement, projects that examine foundational documents in U.S. history, etc., as well as projects that examine historical objects, places, traditions, events, and individuals who collectively shaped our states and nation. Applications about the contributions of under-represented communities are highly encouraged. As part of the initiative, NEH is also placing a specific focus on strengthening the nation’s humanities infrastructure, civic education, and veterans programming.

Current grant programs with special emphasis for A More Perfect Union projects include:

Please see NEH's funding opportunities for further information about how your project can become part of the “A More Perfect Unioninitiative.   

Peede quote

NEH and the United States Semiquincentennial Commission

NEH is a member of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission, established by Congress under Public Law 114-196 and signed by the President on July 22, 2016. The commission was created to provide for the observance and commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States and related events through local, State, national, and international activities planned, encouraged, developed, and coordinated by a national commission representative of appropriate public and private authorities and organizations. NEH was charged by the United States Semiquincentennial Commission to “cooperate with the Commission, especially in the encouragement and coordination of scholarly works and artistic expressions focusing on the history, culture, and political thought of the period predating the United States Semiquincentennial.” Chairman Peede created A More Perfect Union in response to this mandate. 

Partnership with the Department of Education on Civic Education

As part of “A More Perfect Union,” NEH and the Department of Education issued a request-for-proposals from nonprofit organizations to plan, develop, and implement two national convenings to bring together educators, national leaders, researchers, and other practitioners to assess how American history, civics, and government are taught in K-12 education. Proposals for the cooperative agreement were due August 12, 2019. At the beginning of November 2019, NEH and the Department of Education announced that iCivics had been awarded a $650,000 cooperative agreement to conduct Educating for American Democracy: A Roadmap for Excellence in History and Civics Education for All Learners. More about the iCivics project is available here.

Held in Trust: A National Convening on Conservation and Preservation

NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access is accepting applications for a three-year cooperative agreement of up to $500,000 to evaluate current national infrastructure in conservation and make recommendations to strengthen preservation of cultural heritage for present and future generations. As our nation approaches its 250th anniversary in 2026, this cooperative agreement will assess the current state of, and challenges facing the preservation of our nation’s cultural heritage. More information about the funding opportunity is available here. The deadline is December 18, 2019.

Support for "A More Perfect Union" provided by David Bruce Smith, Founder, Grateful American Foundation, and author of Abigail and John (Grateful American Book Series); National Trust for the Humanities; Albert H. Small; Bruce and Nora James; Carolyn and John Yurtchuk; and Paul L. Peck.