After several years of advocacy efforts, California Humanities is receiving funding from the State of California for the very first time. Thanks to California Senator Ben Allen and California State Assembly Member Rob Bonta, who led the budget appropriation requests, as well as the many state legislators who signed our letters and supported this ask, the 2019–2020 California State budget includes a $1 million appropriation to California Humanities.
For our almost 45-year history, we’ve relied solely on federal funding, through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as well as grants from private foundations and individual giving to support our numerous grants, initiatives, and programs throughout California. The past three years have marked a significant effort by California Humanities staff, board members, and supporters to advocate to lawmakers for the State of California’s support. In 2018, California Humanities held an informational hearing to the Joint Committee on Arts, called California and the Humanities: Building Bridges and Amplifying Voices. And in March of 2019, our staff and board met in Sacramento for a day of advocacy.
We’re grateful to Senator Allen, Assembly Member Bonta, the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, and state legislators who signed our letter of support. Their approval of this funding confirms what we’ve known for a long time—that the people of California value the opportunities to connect with and learn from each other. We are proud and humbled by the bipartisan investment made by the state of California in emphasizing the role of the humanities in building stronger and more connected communities throughout California.