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.
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 assessments, plans, and compliance and other reporting.