The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.
Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans.
State and Jurisdictional Humanities Councils
The NEH provides annual support for 56 state and territorial humanities councils to help support some 56,000 lectures, discussions, exhibitions and other programs each year. The councils are funded in part by the federal government through NEH’s Office of Federal/State Partnership. They also receive funding from private donations, foundations, corporations, and, in some cases, state government.
NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars. The grants:
- Strengthen teaching and learning in schools and colleges
- Facilitate research and original scholarship
- Provide opportunities for lifelong learning
- Preserve and provide access to cultural and educational resources
- Strengthen the institutional base of the humanities
Since 1965, the Endowment has opened new worlds of learning for the American public with noteworthy projects such as:
- Seven thousand books, 16 of which have won Pulitzer Prizes, and 20 of which have received the Bancroft Prize.
- The Civil War, the landmark documentary by Ken Burns viewed by 38 million Americans
- The Library of America editions of novels, essays, and poems celebrating America’s literary heritage
- The United States Newspaper Project, which cataloged and microfilmed 63.3 million pages of historic newspapers, paved the way for the National Digital Newspaper Program and its digital repository, Chronicling America