The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Awards the Federation of State Humanities Councils $1.75 Million to Continue “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” Initiative
A national grant program that examines what it means to be an informed citizen in today’s society

ARLINGTON, VA – The Federation of State Humanities Councils (FSHC) has been awarded $1.75 million by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue the FSHC national grant program, Democracy and the Informed Citizen. This nationwide program focuses on the role of journalism and the humanities in a democratic society, as well as on the ways citizens gather, assess, and share information to make decisions about the futures of their communities and nation.

This award builds on the successful Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative, which ran from 2017 through early spring 2019. It will allow for more communities to be reached across the country, while also providing opportunities to strengthen existing relationships, partnerships, and tools developed over the past two years. The Federation invites all member councils to submit proposals.

“We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for supporting the continuation of Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative,” said Esther Mackintosh, president of the Federation of State Humanities Councils. “The first round of programs brought people together in unprecedented ways to connect about issues that deeply mattered to them and their communities while also reflecting on the important role that journalism plays in a thriving democracy. This second round will expand on those programs, connections, and topics to develop resources and support more communities.”

Democracy and the Informed Citizen seeks to strengthen media literacy through community conversations and other public programs with journalists, scholars, and local and national organizations. Content produced as part of the initiative will be available to the public and distributed through print, digital, and other media.

“The councils are uniquely equipped to bring journalists into meaningful conversation with the communities they serve, to help citizens distinguish trustworthy from unreliable news, and to explore the historic role that journalism and the humanities have played in informing Americans,” added Mackintosh.

Democracy and the Informed Citizen officially launched in the summer of 2017 with grants awarded in November of that year to 49 state humanities councils. Since 2017, councils have facilitated conversations, conducted programs, and brought individuals, organizations, and institutions together to help make sense of the expanding availability of information and provide clarification on complicated issues.

An RFP will be distributed in summer 2019 to all member councils and grant awards announced in winter 2019. The grant period will run from December 2019 through June 2021.


The Federation of State Humanities Councils, founded in 1977 as the membership association of state and territorial councils, provides support for the state humanities councils and strives to create greater awareness of the humanities in public and private life. For more information about the Federation of State Humanities Councils, please visit

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