Talking Points for Colorado Humanities and the State Humanities Councils

Talking Points for Colorado Humanities and the State Humanities Councils

Ÿ The 56 state humanities councils play a key role in communities throughout the nation, fostering the understanding of history and culture, promoting literacy and employability, and boosting local economies. They help us learn about our communities and share our stories and experiences.

Ÿ Local economies benefit from council programs that (a) provide students, teachers and citizens at large with access to learning opportunities and skill development, (b) contribute to quality of life in communities, and (c) spur economic activity through festivals, events and cultural tourism.

Ÿ State humanities councils are 501(c)3 nonprofits organized in each state. They are run by local boards composed of community, business and policy leaders, who are responsible for determining the programming in their individual states.

Ÿ Councils reach over 5,300 communities - rural, suburban, and urban - in nearly every Congressional district each year. Councils extend their reach by partnering with over 9,200 organizations each year, including museums and libraries, K-12 schools and universities, senior centers and veterans hospitals, churches and social service agencies, corporations and local businesses, chambers of commerce and state tourism offices, and radio and television stations. These extensive partnerships enabled councils to serve over 44 million people through in-person events and almost 120 million people through virtual events in 2015.

Ÿ Council programs reach students, teachers, veterans, seniors, youth, underrepresented groups, adults working towards literacy, citizens seeking to enhance their understanding of history and local culture, those navigating medical issues, and the place-bound.

Ÿ State councils receive core funding from the NEH through the Federal/State Partnership account. This core funding for the councils has been essential in enabling us to deliver outstanding programs in communities throughout the nation, tailored to local and regional interest and reaching geographical areas and groups that would otherwise not have access to such programs.

Ÿ The FY 2016 funding for the NEH was $148 million, with $43 million for the Federal/State Partnership, which distributes funding to the state humanities councils. For FY 2017, the House recommended $46 million for the Federal/State Partnership and the Senate $43.5 million.

Talking Points Specific to Colorado Humanities

Ÿ We believe that humanities education provides the tools that help people examine and make sense of our interrelated human experience, ask fundamental questions of purpose and meaning, and connect on profound levels as individuals, social groups, large and small communities, and nations.

Ÿ Colorado Humanities' mission is to inspire and empower the exploration of ideas and appreciation of Colorado's diverse cultural heritage. We fulfill our mission by developing and implementing educational programs of humanities content that engage diverse populations, help preK-12 students-especially youth at risk-improve academic achievement, and encourage community engagement. We offer our programs at very little or no cost to participants.

Ÿ We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliated with several national organizations including the Library of Congress, Motheread, Inc., National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Ÿ In 2004, Colorado Center for the Book merged with Colorado Humanities to become our program department for reading and writing, and we expanded our mission to include fostering throughout Colorado the love of reading and books.

Ÿ We work with hundreds of program partners statewide to provide more than a dozen educational, school-based and community-based programs every year.

Ÿ We build the capacity of our program partners to best serve their communities.

Ÿ We have created more than 75 unique educational initiatives for Colorado in our 43-year history.

Ÿ We devote more than 85% of our annual budget directly to programs.

Ÿ Every year, 250-300 volunteers give more than 7,000 hours of assistance, and we receive more than $450,000 in donated goods and services.

Colorado Humanities' 2017 Programs

1.   Black History Live, a two-week Chautauqua tour in honor of Black History Month
2.   Colorado Book Awards, celebrating Colorado's literary achievement
3.   Colorado Encyclopedia, an authoritative online resource, provides teachers with leveled content and education resources
4.   Durango Chautauqua, in its 3rd year
5.   High Plains Chautauqua, in Greeley, in its 17th year
6.   Latino Heritage Live, a speaker tour in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month
7.   Legacy of Race, a film screening and discussion series to begin in 2017
8.   Letters About Literature, a reading and writing competition for elementary, middle and high school students
9.   Motheread/Fatheread Colorado, an early childhood and family literacy program
10. River of Words, a poetry and art competition based on the theme of watersheds for elementary, middle and high school students
11. Student Literary Awards, celebrating Colorado's student achievement
12. Two Rivers Chautauqua, in Grand Junction, in its 12th year
13. War Stories/Denver Veterans Writing Program, a writing workshop series for combat vets and discussion series for the general public
14. Writers in the Schools, a creative writing workshop series for K-12 students
15. Young Chautauqua, a living history workshop series for elementary, middle and high school students

Click HERE to learn more about the Federation of State Humanities Councils and things you can do to advocate for funding for the humanities.