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Grantee Spotlight: Liz Venditto

"Immigrant Stories started as a local digital project collecting the stories of people in the Twin Cities area, but NEH support allowed us to take the program nationwide with a new website that makes it easy for everyone from students to elders to create their own stories. Hundreds of people across the United States have used our site to write down their families' stories, record voiceovers, upload images, and put together videos that will preserve their stories for future generations.

Most people don’t have the software or training they need to document their histories, even if they have access to a computer at school or a local library. To make up for this, we developed a website with step-by-step tutorial videos that walk users through the entire process and allow anyone to create stories from start to finish within the website, even if they have never done anything like that before.

Thanks to NEH, we have been able to reach so many members of the public, including educators at all levels. Our grant allowed us to create guides that help teachers use the Immigrant Stories website to teach writing and video editing in high schools, colleges, and classes for adult English-language learners. These lesson plans allow students to learn new skills as they create their digital stories and help us document American history."

The University of Minnesota's Immigration History Research Center received $324,121 to develop an easy-to-use website to produce digital video narratives.  They also received a grant of $148,015 that supported a year-long series of public forums and smaller-scale public programs on the history of immigration in Minnesota.