Colorado Humanities, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was established in 1974 as a result of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, and the subsequent founding of the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH). We have forged hundreds of community partnerships, and have created more than 90 unique initiatives in our 46-year history. We provide programs at no cost to participants. We reach an estimated 340,000 people each year as program partners, participants and audiences. The majority of our annual budget goes directly to programs, and we are grateful for the generous contributions from businesses, foundations and individuals that make it possible.
What are the Humanities?
The humanities help us understand and define what it means to be human. They provide
ongoing content for a fulfilling life on personal and societal levels. And, importantly, applied
humanities learning provides essential method and skills-based approaches for personal and
community-based problem solving, strength and resiliency, connectivity, resolution, and
movement toward a just and robust future. History, literature, philosophy and ethics,
jurisprudence, the history and criticism of the arts, comparative religion, languages and
linguistics, cultural anthropology and archeology, and the social sciences are the humanities
disciplines that tell the human story.
To fulfill our mission to inspire the exploration of ideas and appreciation of Colorado’s
diverse cultural heritage, and to foster a love of reading and books, our objectives include
forging community partnerships statewide to develop and implement meaningful programs
that encourage community engagement.
We are one of the 56 humanities councils across the nation that receives core funding from
NEH to promote humanities education through community-based programs. The state
humanities councils, with connections to communities and organizations in every corner of
our respective states, are essential for engaging millions of citizens in community and civic
life across diverse populations in humanities learning.
The humanities are not a luxury; they are fundamental to the fabric of our country and its
individual communities. A strong, vibrant democracy requires engaged citizens informed by
Facing recent national and world-wide crises and an uncertain future, we have continued to
grow and change, as our understanding of Coloradans’ needs has grown and changed. As
part of our regular five-year assessment process, in 2017 we established our Blue Sky
Green Field Team to evaluate program impact and assess the need for humanities
programming across Colorado. Blue sky over a green field is an apt metaphor for Colorado
Humanities. Grounded in the firm belief of the value of community- based humanities
education for sustained social good, we recognize that the sky’s the limit when creative,
inclusive, dynamic programming is concerned.
The COVID crisis has forced us all to look at our world in new ways, and find new paths. Colorado Humanities has taken steps to develop online programming to continue reaching communities statewide despite social-distancing requirements. The need to turn to digital programming has opened new possibilities for us, and we believe it will become an important addition to our in-person program implementation in the future. During Spring 2020, we held Colorado Book Awards finalist readings and the awards celebration online, and you can still enjoy them as recordings through this website. We also provided our Motheread/Fatheread Colorado training institute online in June 2020, and are prepared to develop online MFC classes for parents. In October, we completed our 2020 Colorado Veterans Writing workshops online, and held an online panel discussion for our Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity program. We also awarded 68 grants totaling nearly $500,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
For years we have offered programs that encourage learning about Black, Latino, and Native
history, along with efforts to foster and facilitate difficult, critical community conversations
about race. But we can and must do more. We are always looking for ways to make our
programs more relevant, more accessible, more inclusive, and more effective, and we are
redoubling our efforts now. Above all, we urge all Coloradans to join in the self-education,
contemplation, and conversation that this moment demands.