Office of Federal/State Partnership

For more information about the
Office of Federal/State Partnership:
202) 606-8254
The Office of Federal/State Partnership is the liaison between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the nonprofit network of 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils.

The Office of Federal/State Partnership brings humanities education, lifelong learning, and public humanities programming to communities across the country by providing general operating support grants to 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils.

The council community helps the National Endowment for the Humanities realize its two primary strategic goals of advancing knowledge and understanding of the humanities and increasing public awareness of, access to, and support for the humanities throughout the United States.

State Humanities Councils

State humanities councils are the public humanities in action. Councils offer a wide array of thought-provoking programming that makes rich humanities ideas accessible for general public audiences, fosters discussion, and promotes civic engagement. The work they do is tailored to the resources, demographics, interests, and concerns of their state or jurisdiction.

Councils sponsor book festivals, literacy campaigns, speaker’s bureaus, teacher development, cultural tourism, humanities publications, films, exhibitions, and Chautauqua performances. They also help extend the reach of NEH-funded projects, and ensure NEH remains connected to local and regional communities.

Through council initiatives and grant-making, state councils enrich lives through the humanities—with an emphasis on the specific needs of the communities they represent.

The Federal/State Partnership

By congressional mandate, the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency in the executive branch, provides general operating support grants to the 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils. Federal/State Partnership is the NEH office designated to work with the councils. The councils are Federal/State Partnership’s sole grantees.

State humanities councils are independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations governed by volunteer boards of directors and staffed by humanities professionals. They operate, as designated by Congress, in each of the 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. The councils employ more than 500 staff members and engage over 1,000 board members. The first councils were founded in 1971 and the last, the Amerika Samoa Humanities Council, was founded in 1994. All but four councils were founded in the 1970s.

The core work of Federal/State Partnership

Federal/State Partnership oversees the councils’ congressionally appropriated general operating support grants, carries out on-site consultations and review, provides resources on best practice in nonprofit governance, and maintains network-wide communication.

Federal/State Partnership encourages councils to develop and support inclusive, meaningful programming that is grounded in rich, well-vetted humanities content; to engage diverse audiences with humanities ideas, to serve as models of excellent nonprofit management; to maintain open communication, mutual support and collaboration, and shared goals with NEH and other councils; and to exercise responsible and impeccable stewardship of public—and all—funds entrusted to them.

one-page description of the work of Federal/State Partnership is available for download.

Download a printable version of the contact information for the 56 state humanities councils.

The National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 is the legislation under which the National Endowment for the Humanities and the state humanities councils operate. The legislation about state humanities councils is Sec. 956 (sec. 7)(f)(1-7). Other pertinent sections are:

  • Sec. 951. Declaration of findings and purposes
  • Sec. 956. National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Sec. 959. Administrative provisions

View All Blog Posts