Each June, our major funder and federal partner, the National Endowment for the Humanities, requests from all 56 humanities councils a report outlining the past year’s activities. The report includes a self-reported summary of council- and grantee-conducted events, awards, activities within each Congressional District, and much more.

This effort requires a great deal of participation from current and long-past grantees, so we’d like to acknowledge all the number-crunching on the part of our grantees in order to strengthen our report! Thank you so much!

Here are some highlights from this year’s submission:

In calendar year 2015, California Humanities and its grantees conducted at least 1,750 activities and projects ranging from small group discussions to national broadcasts of film and radio pieces. The activities are estimated to have reached close to 6.38 million audience members throughout the state and beyond.

Total reported live events: 1,345
Total estimated attendees: 250,282

Total reported online/broadcast occurrences: 406
Total estimated viewers/listeners: 6.13 million

The spread of activities across California’s Congressional Districts varies from year to year, and 2015 saw a strong showing particularly from districts in the Far North and Bay Area, while there was no reported activity in many of the districts in the Sierras and Eastern Desert Regions of the state. See our heatmap below based on the reported number California Humanities-related activities within California’s Congressional Districts in 2015:

California Humanities-supported projects also won several awards in 2015. Highlights include:

LAST DAY OF FREEDOM, a California Documentary Project-supported animated, half-hour documentary exploring issues of veterans’ care, mental health access and criminal justice, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. The project also won the award for Best Documentary Short at the 31st IDA Documentary Awards, and nine other Jury and Audience awards at film festivals nationally.

ROMEO IS BLEEDING, a California Documentary Project-supported film that documents an urban restaging of “Romeo and Juliet” set in Richmond, CA by young spoken word artists, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2015 San Francisco International Film Festival. In all, the film has received 17 Jury or Audience Awards at film festivals nationally since premiering in May 2015.

CALIFORNIA FOODWAYS, a California Documentary Project-supported radio series telling food and culture stories from every county in the state, received the Arts & Culture Excellence in Journalism Award from the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As they write, the series “goes far beyond the food on our plates and tells us about the people who put it there.” “California Foodways” has been broadcast statewide on KQED’s California Report and nationally on NPR series such as Weekend Edition, Latino USA, and the Splendid Table.

California Humanities received a Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize from the Federation of State Humanities Councils in November 2015 in recognition of the outstanding work of the Community Stories grantee for the WAR INK project. WAR INK is an interactive photography and web project that shares the narratives of California veterans and their tattoos, and has also been awarded the John Cotton Dana Public Relations Award.

Again, many thanks to all our grantees and partners for their participation in this year’s report of activities!