Connection and collaboration

With a membership spread across the nation, including D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guåhan, Amerika Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Marianas Islands, we bring our members together as a community through a variety of small- and large-group virtual, digital, and in-person offerings, share knowledge and best practices, and collaborate for mutual support of humanities councils in fulfilling their missions.


As the sole national representative for the humanities councils, we make the case to Congress for sustained and increased federal funding for NEH and in particular the NEH Federal/State Partnership that helps fund the humanities councils. In addition, we build the councils’ capacity for case making through advocacy webinars and briefings, “This Week on the Hill” updates, and Humanities on the Hill, our annual advocacy event. We collect data from councils across the country and liaise with national partners to develop comprehensive advocacy materials, including position papers and talking points, to strengthen councils’ local and national advocacy.

Woman drawing with chalk on sidewalk
Photo credit: Pennsylvania Humanities, Teen Reading Lounge

Data and communications

To raise awareness about the essential role our members’ work plays in strengthening our communities, we regularly collect and evaluate data on council programs, grants, and operations to inform national messages about the collective impact and value of humanities council programming. This information is then shared to support funding case making, national partnerships and initiatives, NEH, media promotion and overall public access to humanities tools, programming, and the councils. Through our communications channels and methods, members receive updates on pertinent legislative activities, humanities events, grassroots efforts, national humanities initiatives, partner and funding opportunities, and professional development and resources specific to council operations and program areas.


For more than 40 years, we have been working to represent our members and the value of humanities councils’ work in their communities, states, and across the nation, leading to long-term national partnerships and grant opportunities with leading humanities organizations and funders like the National Humanities Alliance, Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, The Pulitzer Prizes, American Alliance of Museums, Library of Congress, National Humanities Center, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Mellon Foundation, and more. These relationships benefit the humanities community as a whole, and we continue to seek ways to come together with other organizations to foster relationships and an understanding of the importance, value, and utility of the humanities in our everyday lives.

Federation membership

The humanities council community has a greater impact when united in purpose and voice, and that’s exactly what we help facilitate through our events and webinars, data sharing and collection, national representation, communications, and partnerships. We offer a variety of resources in nonprofit management, council operations, DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and access), and partnerships. We provide forums and listservs for members to connect, share, and learn from each other, as well as identify and provide funding and visibility opportunities.

Membership in the Federation is available to state and jurisdictional humanities councils, defined as those that receive funds through a “grants-in-aid” program from the NEH, and administered by the Office of Federal/State Partnership at NEH, and other sources in each of the 50 states, the commonwealths and territories of the United States and the District of Columbia. To learn more, please visit our Members FAQ.

2018 Capps Lecture speakers, Jesmyn Ward and Kiese Laymon, in conversation
Capps Lecture with Jesmyn Ward and Kiese Laymon; 2018 National Humanities Conference: New Orleans, LA

Federation events

Throughout the year, we host a variety of events to strengthen the capacity, operations, and community of our membership. We host two annual events: a Humanities on the Hill advocacy event in March and the National Humanities Conference in November in partnership with the National Humanities Alliance. In addition, we run numerous webinars and orientations, as well as committee and board meetings that involve both public and council members.

Website member portal details

Inside the Portal, members can contact colleagues from across the council community, participate in forums, share and find resources, and upload their own programs, events, and job opportunities to share with the community. Council programs, events, and jobs will display publicly on our website whereas the resources and forum conversations will remain within the secured Portal. Forums are organized by role, responsibility, subject, and affinity groups. To join the Members Portal, click the “Join/Login” button at the top right-hand corner of the website and set up your profile. You must be a board or staff member at one of our member humanities councils in order to join. Any questions? Please email us.