Frequently Asked Questions

Indiana HumanitiesIndiana Humanities traces its roots to 1972, when the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) asked a group of five energetic Indiana citizens to form a statewide grant-making agency. The group was comprised of Dr. Marvin E. Hartig, Mrs. Edmund F. (Virginia) Ball, Dr. Robert E. Burns, Mr. Edward N. Howard, and Dr. Robert W. Richey. Their goal was to focus federal dollars on more local, grassroots initiatives.

We’ve come a long way since then. Today, we’re still a grant-making agency, but we are also a convener, leader and partner. We promote the public humanities and engage Indiana’s community of minds to create stronger, more vibrant communities. Using literature, history, art, music, philosophy and our shared cultural heritage, we strive to help Hoosiers better understand themselves and the world around them.

What does Indiana Humanities do? 
In short, Indiana Humanities encourages Hoosiers to think, read and talk. How? By creating its own programs, such as Spirit of Competition, Community Conversations, and Novel Conversations; by providing grants for humanities programs throughout the state; and by providing a space—physically and digitally—for people to connect and converse.

Here’s a map of our impact across the state in 2013. (See the right-hand column on this page to read about what we did in your congressional district.)

Indiana Humanities programs and initiatives include:

INconversation – A question-and-answer style discussion that  engages a small, intimate group in interesting, engaging and insightful conversations with some of the nation’s most intriguing thought leaders.

Community Conversations – In a joint project with the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University and other statewide partners, Indiana Humanities facilitates community conversations around the state on topics such as collaboration and regional development, quality of place and making government work.

Novel ConversationNovel Conversations – A free lending library with sets of books available to book clubs, public libraries, and organizations.

Teacher Center – An online resource for educators, which includes professional development opportunities, curriculum guides and toolkits.

Grants – In the past five years, Indiana Humanities has awarded nearly $350,000 to nonprofit groups in more than 60 Indiana cities and towns. Grants fund lectures, workshops, historic preservation education activities, and more.

Past programs and initiatives have included:

Food for ThoughtFood for Thought – A signature two-year program (2010-2011) that engaged Hoosiers in discussions about food — ranging from the persona to the global. Participants talked about how food helps to define Indiana’s culture, and considered food in the context of history, law, politics, science, the arts, religion, ethnicity, etc. Components included a traveling exhibit, Chew on This events, a blog and many partnerships with organizations such as the Indiana State Fair, Spirit & Place Festival and Dig-IN: A Taste of Indiana.

Spirit of Competition – Our two-year theme during 2012-2013, Spirit of Competition, examined five core elements of competition: civility, rivalry, innovation, passion and failure. Through this initiative, Indiana Humanities inspired students, teachers, community leaders, businesses and other organizations to think, read and talk about the role of competition in their lives.

What are “the humanities”? 
Often grouped as the fields of history, literature, philosophy and other related disciplines, “the humanities” are not a thing, but a process for pursuing truths about the shared human condition. They inspire, engage and enrich us, allowing us to remember our past, envision our future and consider ourselves as individuals and as members of communities. In essence, the humanities are the study of, participation in and sharing of the things humans make and the things that make us human.

What types of grants does Indiana Humanities provide? 
Indiana Humanities offers a competitive grants program which awards funding to Indiana not-for-profit organizations, schools, and other institutions. We divide our grants into two broad categories: Humanities Initiative Grants and Historic Preservation Education Grants.

Humanities Initiative Grants are awarded to not-for-profit organizations that wish to sponsor public humanities programs such as town hall meetings, panels, workshops, lectures, reading and discussion programs, film discussion programs, festivals, and production of humanities resources.

Historic Preservation Education Grants are awarded to support educational programs related to historic properties in Indiana.

Visit our grants page for more information.

How is the organization funded?
Indiana Humanities is generously funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The remainder of the funding comes from private, philanthropic and corporate donations. In order to effectively provide programs, grants and resources to Hoosiers, Indiana Humanities needs your financial support. Please print out the pledge form and mail it with your gift, or you can contribute online. All contributions to Indiana Humanities, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, are fully deductible within federal and state law.

How can I get involved?
Have a book club? Take advantage of the Novel Conversations library. Know a child? Download educational activities from the Teacher Center.

Show your support for the humanities by attending an event held by one of our grantees or attend one of INconversations. Check out the calendar for those and other humanities events throughout the state. Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get monthly updates about grant deadlines, upcoming events and general humanities news.

Citizens interested in serving on our volunteer, statewide Board of Directors can review our Request for Board Nominations. You can also pledge your support financially by filling out this pledge form and mailing it with your gift, or you can contribute online.

How can I get updated information from Indiana Humanities?
Indiana Humanities provides most of its updates digitally. You can sign up to receive monthly e-newsletters and you can follow us on Twitter (@INHumanities) or on Facebook for more timely updates. Check the homepage often for news and events.

Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk.