In the mid-20th Century, the United States was deeply concerned with technological advancement. America was fully engaged in its space race with the Soviet Union, and fears of nuclear annihilation grew with each passing year. Our emphasis on science, however, endangered the humanities. National leaders came to understand that without history, literature, ethics, and philosophy, America could obtain immense power without an understanding of how to wield it effectively.
On September 29, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act into law. This law created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The purpose of the NEH is to advance the humanities and its respective disciplines into the public square.
The NEH soon realized the immense challenge of its mission. To respond more effectively to local needs, the NEH decided to establish a humanities council in every state, plus six U.S. territories. The Florida Humanities was established in 1973.
Since the organization’s founding, we have been dedicated to advancing NEH’s core mission in the state of Florida. In order to accomplish that mission—to provide humanities access to all Floridians, wherever located– we emphasize partnership opportunities with organizations and locations with limited access to the humanities.
To date, Florida Humanities has awarded over $14 million toward grants and public projects. A majority of these awards are in the form of “mini” grants, consisting of $5,000 or less. The most impactful projects are often those which are narrow in scope and respond to an immediate need. The public programs we support increase organizational capacity and bring Floridians together to develop a shared understanding of the past and a willingness to address future challenges.