Meet the 2021 Board

The Federation board includes public members as well as council executive directors from states and territories across the nation. Each board member serves a four-year term. The board chair serves a two-year term and remains for another two years as the immediate past chair. Federation members participate in a nominating process early in the year and elect their representatives to the Federation Board at the Annual Business Meeting, which occurs in conjunction with the National Humanities Conference. The Federation’s all-volunteer board works hard throughout the year to attend to organizational governance, member needs, and legislative strategy. The board’s strength lies in the diversity of its members – whose backgrounds include finance, law, fundraising, and legislating, among others – and their dedication to the Federation’s mission to represent and strengthen the state humanities councils.

Susan McCarthy, OK
Board Chair
Bill Tsutsui, AR
Immediate Past Chair
Kimberlee Kihleng, GU
Vice Chair
Julie Fry, CA
Jim Burke, MA
Paxton Williams, IA
Nominating Committee Chair
Eva Caldera, MD
NEH Partnership Committee Chair
Gloria White Gardner, MD
Racial Equity Co-Chair
Matthew Gibson, VA
Terri Jett, IN
New Board Member (2021)
David Pettyjohn, ID
Stuart Rockoff, MS
New Board Member (2021)
John Phillip Santos, TX
New Board Member (2021)
endawnis Spears, RI
Brenda Thomson, AZ
Sherry Paula Watkins, NC
New Board Member (2021)

Federation Board Member Responsibilities & Committees

Board members are asked to attend three board meetings a year, in various locations, as well as attend the Federation’s two major events: Humanities on the Hill in March and The National Humanities Conference in November. The conference is held in conjunction with the November board meeting. Following are the 2021 meeting and event dates and locations, as well as information on the various Federation committees.

Federation Committees

Executive Committee

This committee is made up entirely of Federation board members and is responsible for the governance of the Federation Board.

Finance Committee

Chaired by the Federation Treasurer, this committee oversees the Federation budget, future projections, and membership dues.

Legislative Committee

Chaired by a Federation board member, this committee works closely with the Federation legislative counsel to determine the Federation advocacy position and inform the membership of important legislative activities, calls to action, and updates.

Development Committee

Chaired by a Federation board member, this committee is responsible for seeking underwriting for conference events and national partnership opportunities that would offer funding for the councils. In 2015, the committee added a charge to explore diversifying funding for the Federation.

Audit Committee

Comprised of individuals with financial expertise, including the Federation Treasurer, the Audit Committee works closely with the Federation’s auditors, reviews the final audit, and gives a report at the July board meeting.

Conference Planning Committee

The Federation conference committee includes members from the Federation board, the conference host council, and other councils. The committee is responsible for developing and issuing a call for session proposals, selecting speakers, and planning special events.

NEH Partnership Committee

Created by the Federation board in 2014, this committee is responsible for maintaining and growing our partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Nominating Committee

With a membership drawn from council staff and board members, this committee identifies Federation board needs, solicits nominations from the membership, and presents a slate of candidates to the members for approval at the Annual Business Meeting.

Data & Evaluation Committee

Chaired by a Federation board member, the Data & Evaluation Committee aims to improve council data collection and evaluation practices, thereby enabling councils to strengthen their programming and better highlight the value of their work to the general public, elected officials, donors, and grantmakers. The committee will work with councils to develop and promote best practices and collaborate with NEH and other organizations on projects of mutual benefit.

2021 Meetings & Events

Winter Board Meeting

January 28-29, 2021 – Virtual The winter meeting of the Federation board typically takes place in Washington, DC on the third weekend in January. This year, due to COVID-19, the meeting will be held virtually. The board reviews the annual plan and budget, prepares for Humanities on the Hill, and welcomes new board members, who participate in an orientation session the morning before the board meeting begins.

Humanities on the Hill

March 2-4, 2021 – Virtual Event Humanities on the Hill is the Federation’s national advocacy event, which typically takes place in Washington, D.C. In 2021, the event will be held virtually due to COVID-19. Humanities on the Hill brings together the humanities councils in coordinated advocacy on the hill. The event includes a briefing, congressional reception on the Hill, and a debriefing breakfast.

July Board Meeting

TBD This meeting occurs in mid-July in a centrally-located city or the city of the board chair. The agenda includes advocacy, the upcoming conference, governance/membership issues of concern, and approval of the implementation plan for the coming year.

The National Humanities Conference

November 11-14, 2021 – Detroit, MI The National Humanities Conference is an annual gathering of the state humanities councils, members of the National Humanities Alliance, NEH, and other humanities partners across the country. The conference is also where the Annual Business Meeting occurs and the November Board Meeting.

November Board Meeting

November 11 & November 14, 2021 – Detroit, MI Held in conjunction with the annual National Humanities Conference, this board meeting focuses on review of the annual Federation evaluation survey results and final preparation for the annual business meeting, which takes place a couple days after the November board meeting. This meeting also includes a breakfast the Sunday morning immediately following the National Humanities Conference.

Annual Business Meeting

The Annual Business Meeting takes place in conjunction with the National Humanities Conference and is where members vote on the Federation plan for the upcoming year, budget, and new members for the Federation Board, among other items.