FY 2023 Dear Colleague Letter Successes

Each year, NHA works with our advocacy partners and allies on the Hill to cultivate sign-ons to  Dear Colleague Letters requesting increased funding for various humanities programs. These letters are led by specific Representatives and Senators, and we encourage additional members to sign on, lending their support to the appropriations request.

Though Dear Colleague Letters (DCL) began circulating well after Humanities Advocacy Day this year, we were still able to mobilize our advocates quickly and two letters saw an increase in signers.

We continued to work closely with the Federation of State Humanities Councils and Representative David Price’s office on the NEH Dear Colleague Letter, offering edits to update the letter and make it fit the global moment. The House NEH DCL, which requested at least $204 million for the NEH in FY 23, argued that increased funding will not only allow the agency to keep funding important humanities work in every congressional district but is necessary to help us continue to better understand geopolitical contexts as history unfolds around us. The letter received 142 signatures, including four Republicans. 

Similarly in the Senate, we worked closely with Senator Jack Reed’s office and our arts advocacy colleagues to update the Senate NEH/NEA letter which received a total of 44 signatures, four more signatures than last year. The letter, which requested at least $204 million for both the NEH and the NEA in FY 23, highlighted the important work that both agencies fund to help our nation’s veterans.

The House Title VI and Fulbright-Hays Dear Colleague Letter, led by Representatives David Price and Young Kim, and the Senate Title VI and Fulbright-Hays Dear Colleague Letter, led by Senators Tammy Baldwin, Brian Schatz, and Todd Young discussed the importance of cultural understanding and effective communication in a world where international cooperation in the face of global challenges is increasingly crucial. We worked closely with the Coalition for International Education to urge Members of Congress to sign on. The House letter, which requested $141.1 million for Title VI and $20 million for Fulbright-Hays in FY 23, received a total of 100 signatures, including four Republicans. The Senate Title VI letter, which requested robust funding for both programs, received 34 signatures.

In collaboration with the National Coalition for History, we worked with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office to get the Senate NARA letter circulating again this year and offered edits to make sure the letter was updated to accurately reflect the current situation at NARA facilities across the country. The letter, which requested robust funding for the National Archives and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, highlights that as the largest record keeper in the U.S., NARA not only houses our nation’s founding documents but is a crucial resource for researchers, genealogists, and veterans. The letter received 20 signers, one more than last year, including three Republicans.

The finalized versions of each letter, including a list of all the Members who signed on, can be found on our congressional library page.

Read more: policy updates