Our communities are living in a time of great transition. To meet the social, environmental, and public health needs of our day, cultural organizations like Vermont Humanities must devote ourselves to transformational thinking, planning, and action.
We began developing this strategic plan before the Covid-19 pandemic, before the murder of George Floyd, and before the most recent organized challenges to the freedom to read and learn. We now recognize that a traditional plan of tasks and milestones is insufficient to meet this moment. And so, we’ve created this road map to help guide us in uncertain times.
We believe that the humanities are tools for change, not a set of books on a shelf. We’ll re-imagine our work by making equity, accessibility, and accountability central to everything we do. In this way we’ll respond to the ongoing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of these times.
This plan engages with many national, regional, and local conversations around the role of the humanities. Our federal partner, the National Endowment for the Humanities, has encouraged state affiliates to focus our work on “five pillars” – advancing racial equity, confronting the climate crisis, restoring America’s global standing, responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, and strengthening our democracy.
This plan is not designed to be filed away. It is a guide to action.
Download the full Strategic Plan
How do we think about “the humanities?”
Throughout our lives, we all explore what it means to be human. We collectively discuss and think about what makes up a good life, including the responsibilities of citizenship, how to be of service to others, and our relationship to the natural world. These questions arise in our town halls, in our schools, in our backyards, on our village greens, and in our faith communities.
The humanities come to life through our connections with each other. They help us achieve a better understanding of the past, a stronger analysis of the present, and a more hopeful vision for the future.
- Strengthen our influence and impact in civic life and public policy, using a humanities-based perspective
- Communicate the relevance and value of the humanities in the 21st century
- Use the humanities as a vehicle for bridging the many divisions in our society
- Broaden our understanding of the humanities and foster new approaches to programming and grantmaking
- Increase our investment in collaborative partnerships with both money and time, especially with organizations working with underserved communities
- Create a system for evaluating our work that has the needs and feedback of our community partners at its center
- Support the next generation of public humanities leaders
- Reduce our carbon footprint and implement environmentally sound practices
- Provide regular educational opportunities for staff, board, partners, and our audience in environmentally sound practices, with an emphasis on climate and environmental justice
- Research, pilot, and adopt actionable, visible, and accountable environmental solutions in our work
- Create and maintain a culture of governance that supports broad, accountable participation and effective, transparent leadership
- Ensure the organization’s health and stability by building an engaged, diverse, and inclusive board
- Strengthen board members’ impact as ambassadors in the community and at humanities events
Fiscal Sustainability and Development
- Strategically manage the financial resources available to meet our mission
- Cultivate an active practice of generosity and possibility
- Expand opportunities for potential donors from all generations and walks of life to engage in our work
- Actively monitor the Environmental, Social, and Governance impact of our resources
- Identify, implement, and promote compassionate organizational practices
- Create and support a welcoming and equitable workplace culture
- Ensure that our physical spaces and policies inspire creative, collaborative, and accessible work
- Share our learning with other cultural organizations in Vermont and nationwide
Download the full Strategic Plan