Schwartz Prize: Call for 2016 Nominations

June 28, 2016

Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize
For Public Humanities Programs

The Federation of State Humanities Councils is pleased to announce it is now accepting nominations for the annual Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize, made possible through an endowment established by former Federation board member Martin Schwartz and his wife Helen to recognize outstanding work in the public humanities.

Throughout its 34-year history, the Schwartz Prize nominations and winners have provided an invaluable snapshot of council priorities and achievements. The nominating statements have revealed the remarkable evolution of council work, as it expanded from grant-making to council-conducted programming to more sophisticated and strategic forms of public humanities work.

Nominations should showcase the best and most imaginative work councils conducted or supported in 2015. (Note: eligible work need not have started or ended in 2015, but could have begun prior to 2015 or continue into 2016, with the majority of work or the final event taking place in 2015.) Up to three Schwartz Prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges, based on descriptions submitted by nominating councils of exemplary programming that had a significant impact on citizens, institutions, organizations, or communities in their states. In honor of the first joint FSHC-NHA conference, the Federation would like to also encourage councils to submit programs that successfully and creatively connect the public and academic fields.

Characteristics of programs or initiatives that could result in a prize-winning nomination include the following:

  • Involvement of new audiences
  • Unique or far-reaching collaborations
  • Capacity-building efforts
  • New uses of technology
  • Demonstrated sustainability
  • New this year! Innovative merge of public and academic programs/audiences

The nominating statement should include the following information:

  • The council’s aims in undertaking the project
  • The project’s public impact
  • The project’s financial structure

Nomination “packets” should include the following materials:

  • Nominating Statement
  • Electronic image(s) and brief program description suitable for posting on the Federation website (at least one image must be landscape and no smaller than 400x300px)
  • Link to program information online (either council, partner or program-specific webpage)
  • NOTE: The Nominating Statement, Image(s), and Program Description should be submitted in one (1) PDF. Please DO NOT send separate documents or publications.

Nominating statements from the 2014 and 2015 Schwartz Prize nominees and winners are available on the About Us: Schwartz Prize Page or through searching the Council Program Finder (filter by National Initiative/Schwartz Prize) on the Federation website.

As in previous years, the Federation is offering an opportunity to all nominees to showcase their nomination in the form of a poster or other visual aid at the 2016 National Humanities Conference. Please DO NOT ship visuals to the Federation office. All materials must be shipped directly to the conference hotel. After the conference, nominees can elect to have the Federation ship the poster to the Federation office for use in advocacy events, including the following year’s Humanities on the Hill reception.

PLEASE NOTE: having a visual is not a requirement nor does it increase chances of winning a Schwartz Prize. The winner will have already been selected by a panel of judges prior to the start of The National Humanities Conference.

All 2016 Schwartz Prize nominations and questions should be submitted to Natalie Pak at

The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, August 17, 2016.