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About Us
About Mass Humanities

Mass Humanities supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life throughout the Commonwealth.

Established in 1974 as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Mass Humanities is a programming and grant-making organization that receives support from the NEH and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as private sources.

Mass Humanities is governed by a volunteer board of 25 directors who reflect the social and geographic diversity of Massachusetts. Approximately half the board represents the general public (business, labor, the professions, cultural affairs, and community life) and half are humanities professionals (college faculty, K-12 teachers, independent scholars, museum and library professionals, and writers). Six directors are appointed by the governor.

What are Mass Humanities' Priorities?

Mass Humanities grant initiatives and priorities change over time. Currently, project applications get highest priority that:

  • reach those whose access to the humanities has been limited due to social, economic, educational, or geographic circumstances. This priority animates our Inspire endowment campaign, which seeks to sustain and extend our work to new and underserved communities across the Commonwealth.
  • address our current thematic focus, "Crisis, Community and Civic Culture," which encourages applicants to explore the confluence of challenges that has led to today's fraying of the social contract as well as the history and promise of collective action organized in response to a variety of past crises.
  • involve collaboration among humanities institutions and other types of institutions and agencies, both public and private (e.g. hospitals, prisons, social service agencies).
  • foster connections across disciplines, among different bodies of thought, or between past and present.
  • apply the humanities to current issues, deepening public understanding of these issues and thereby enhancing civic life.
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