Affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities

Congress enacted the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 in order "to promote progress and scholarship in the humanities and the arts in the United States." This act established the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as an independent grant-making agency of the federal government to support research, education, and public programs in the humanities. NEH "supports exemplary work to advance and disseminate knowledge in all the disciplines of the humanities." Endowment support is intended to complement and assist private and local efforts. In the most general terms, NEH-supported projects aid scholarship and research in the humanities, help improve humanities education, and foster in the American people a greater curiosity about and understanding of the humanities." (from NEH Overview of Endowment Programs, 1996)

NEH is divided into five programs, or offices, as avenues for grant funding: Preservation and Access, Public Programs and Enterprise, Research and Education, Challenge Grants, and the Federal/State Partnership.

The state humanities councils are funded through the NEH Federal/State Partnership. State humanities councils were created in response to the legislative mandate to "bring the humanities to a major segment of our lay population." Most of the state humanities councils were formed in the early 1970s. There are now 56 state humanities councils: one in each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa.

Since 1973, Colorado Humanities has been a grantee of the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Federal/State Partnership (formerly the Division of State Programs). NEH grants to state humanities councils are awarded on a three-year basis in response to self assessment reports and proposals which each state council prepares. On the years when assessments and proposals are not required, state councils submit an interim report and compliance plan to NEH.