Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

California Humanities Announces New Grant Focus Area “Second Responders” in Wake of Natural Disasters


New Focus on Post-Wildfire Public Humanities Projects Supported by National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman’s Award

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Claudia Leung,, 415.391.1474 x303

July 8, 2019

(Oakland, CA) — California Humanities announces the creation of a new focus area within the public humanities grants available to California nonprofits—Second Responders: The Humanities in the Aftermath of Natural Disasters. Supported by a new Chairman’s Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Second Responders is intended to assist California communities in recovering and healing as well as to raise awareness about natural disasters such as wildfires, floods, and mudslides.  This special designation may be selected by applicants to the Humanities for All grants program starting with the August 1, 2019 deadline for Project Grants.

“During 2018, California experienced 12 states of emergency due to wildfire and flooding. From the Camp Fire in Butte County to mudslides in Montecito, communities throughout our state were deeply impacted,” said California Humanities President and CEO Julie Fry. “To respond to this growing need, California Humanities is dedicated to supporting projects that will help people throughout California recover and heal from the aftermath of these events, preserve California heritage and stories for future generations, and raise awareness about the impact of natural disasters in our state.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is providing $30,000 in funding to California Humanities through a Chariman’s Award. The funds will be re-granted through Humanities for All to preserve heritage, tell stories, and support recovery at libraries, museums, colleges, universities, and other cultural and historical institutions in California, Chairman Jon Parrish Peede announced today. This will be matched with another $30,000 by California Humanities.

“We deeply appreciate the NEH for the strong support of these vital grants to help affected areas throughout California,” added Fry. “We will work with the affected communities to ensure that NEH’s funding goes as far as possible.”

“NEH has designated these funds to support the people in California in their efforts to protect the historic materials that document their invaluable contributions to American culture,” said Chairman Peede. “We are proud to partner with California Humanities and their dedicated staff in a coordinated federal-state response.”

Second Responders projects may focus on a range of formats, from oral history exhibits to digital storytelling and writing workshops, documentary photography exhibits to dramatic presentations of personal stories, and more. California Humanities accepts applications for projects focused on the collection, sharing, and discussion of stories and experiences of community members affected by recent natural disasters (within the 2014-2019 period). Applicants may apply for special consideration under this designation starting with the summer 2019 round of Humanities for All Project Grants and the October 2019 Quick Grants.

Humanities for All is a grant program that supports locally-initiated public humanities projects. This program responds to the needs and interests of Californians, encourages greater public participation in humanities programming, particularly by new and/or underserved audiences, and promotes understanding and empathy among all our state’s peoples in order to cultivate a thriving democracy. Quick Grants (between $1,000 and $5,000) are awarded three times a year for small-scale public humanities activities and projects that will take place within a one-year period. Project Grants ($10,000 to $20,000) are awarded twice a year for larger public humanities projects of up to two-years duration. For more information visit

California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, promotes the humanities – focused on ideas, conversation and learning – as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect people to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more, visit, or like and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at


For hi-res press images & interviews: Claudia Leung,, 415.391.1474 x303


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