Budget Supports NEH Core Programs and We the People

WASHINGTON, (February 6, 2006)

Agency's FY 2007 request seeks level funding

President Bush's fiscal year 2007 budget request for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) seeks funding of approximately $141 million, including $15.2 million for the agency's We the People program. The request maintains NEH's budget at the current year's level with continued support for the Endowment's core programs and We the People, which encourages and strengthens the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture.

"President Bush's budget reaffirms his commitment to promoting excellence in scholarship, strengthening humanities education, and enhancing public knowledge of the humanities," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "The We the People program has proven its success, and this request will continue its momentum and build on its achievements."

In addition to sustaining the Endowment's grant programs in support of excellence in the humanities, the FY 2007 funding will continue support We the People through a variety of projects and activities:

  • Support for core programs: Hundreds of projects in the agency's core programs have received We the People funding. These include collected editions of the papers and writings of the Founding Fathers, U.S. presidents, and other important figures in the nation's history and culture; summer seminars and institutes on American history and culture for school and college teachers; documentary films, museum exhibitions, and reading and discussion programs in libraries on important people, events, and ideas in the nation's history; and projects to preserve and increase the availability of cultural and intellectual resources essential to the American people, such as books, newspapers, manuscript collections, audio and visual materials, and objects of material culture.
  • State Humanities Councils: The state humanities councils have enthusiastically embraced the goals of the We the People initiative. The Endowment has provided significant funding to the 56 state councils, thus enabling them to develop high quality local and statewide projects and programs on American history and culture. The state humanities councils are helping to ensure that the initiative reaches citizens in every state by sponsoring reading and discussion programs, speakers' bureau presentations, films, exhibitions, teacher institutes and workshops, and Chautauqua-type historical performances.
  • Landmarks of American History and Culture: The Landmarks of American History and Culture program supports intellectually engaging one-week workshops for K-12 teachers and community college faculty at important historical sites around the nation. In the program's first two years, workshops were held in such historic places as St. Augustine, Fla., the Vancouver Historic Preserve in Washington, and Mt. Vernon, Va., drawing more than 3,600 teachers. This year's program offers 19 workshops for K-12 teachers and seven for community college faculty.
  • National Digital Newspaper Program: The NDNP is an innovative program that supports projects to digitize historically important U.S. newspapers into fully searchable files and to make these files available on the Internet. Developed in partnership with the Library of Congress, this complex, long-term project ultimately will make more than 30 million pages of newspapers accessible online to students, teachers, parents, scholars, and historians.
  • We the People Bookshelf: In partnership with the American Library Association, the Endowment has annually provided sets of classic works of literature to thousands of public and school libraries as part of a new We the People Bookshelf program. These books convey important themes from American history and culture to an audience of young readers.
  • New We the People grant categories: New grant categories have been established to expand opportunities for audiences to engage in lifelong learning related to the themes of We the People: "Interpreting America's Historic Places" supports projects that use one or more historic sites to address themes central to American history, and "Family and Youth Programs in American History" supports projects designed to encourage intergenerational learning about significant topics in U.S. history and culture.
  • Challenge Grants: The NEH Challenge Grants program is offering special awards for educational and cultural institutions to strengthen their programs that advance knowledge of the founding principles of the United States.

The Endowment's $15.2 million FY 2007 budget request for We the People would allow the agency not only to continue these excellent and diverse programs, but also to add important new ones, such as the following:

  • A major initiative to transcribe, digitize, and mount on the Internet the papers of the nation's first four presidents: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. In partnership with private foundations and other nonfederal contributors providing matching funds, this NEH initiative will supplement NEH's ongoing support for long-term projects to compile and publish comprehensive, annotated editions of these presidential papers;
  • An effort to preserve and increase access to collections of papers of former members of the United States Congress; and
  • A special program--American Art in the Classroom--to provide schools and teachers with high quality poster reproductions and educational materials on key works of American art.

In addition to We the People, the Endowment also will continue its special initiative, "Documenting Endangered Languages." In 2005, NEH joined with the National Science Foundation to support a multi-year effort to record, document, and archive information relating to the estimated 3,000 current spoken languages that are on the verge of extinction. The Endowment made 18 grants to individual scholars and institutions in FY 2005; this cooperative effort will continue into FY 2007.

The FY 2007 budget includes essential funding for NEH grant programs in support of high quality education, research, preservation, and public programming in all fields and disciplines of the humanities and for the projects and programs of the state humanities councils; challenge and other matching grants to stimulate and match nonfederal contributions to humanities projects; and the Endowment's administrative expenses necessary to operate the agency.

The agency's FY 2007 budget request will support the following NEH strategic objectives:

  • Preserve and increase access to essential cultural and intellectual resources;
  • Strengthen humanities teaching and learning in the nation's schools and colleges;
  • Facilitate basic research and original scholarship in the humanities;
  • Provide opportunities for Americans to engage in lifelong learning in the humanities;
  • Maintain and strengthen the programs and activities of the state humanities councils;
  • Strengthen the institutional base of the humanities;
  • Leverage third-party contributions to humanities projects; and
  • Provide administrative funds to operate the agency effectively and efficiently.
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