“I can see how important this work is to our communities.”
- Representative Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.
Time and again, Members of Congress have told us that they need to better understand the impact of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) on their districts so that they can prioritize the humanities among other needs. In order to foster this understanding, we have begun collaborating on a series of district-based conversations aimed at providing a forum for NEH grantees to share their stories.
On October 17, we partnered with Humanities New York to convene local humanities organizations at Historic Hudson Valley in Westchester County, New York, for a conversation with Representative Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. and NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. The meeting highlighted the NEH’s role in building local institutions, expanding educational access, and cultivating dialogue and civic engagement in New York’s 17th congressional district through presentations from a range of institutions including:
- Historic Hudson Valley,
- Warner Library,
- Suffern Public Library,
- Mercy College,
- Westchester Community College,
- and the Jacob Burns Film Center.
We also produced a briefing document to provide a lasting complement to these presentations.
Even a Member of Congress who has been as supportive as Representative Lowey gains a deeper understanding from conversations like this one. In her closing remarks, Representative Lowey reflected: “When I see these grants come in, I get very excited. But when I hear your stories, I can see how important this work is to our communities.”
Over the past few years, we have partnered with humanities organizations and state humanities councils across the country on conversations like these with similar results. What’s clear from these experiences is that both the grantees and the Members of Congress enjoy meeting and reflecting on the impact NEH grants have had on their community over time. Grantees also have the opportunity to consider potential collaborations that could deepen that impact.
We are always on the lookout for partners for in-district meetings. If you are interested in hosting or participating in one, please contact us.
Thumbnail image: Representative Nita Lowey talking with NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. Photo courtesy of Humanities New York
In text image: From left to right - Historic Hudson Valley President Waddell Stillman, Representative Nita Lowey, NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede, and Humanities New York Executive Director Sara Ogger. Photo courtesy of Humanities New York.