About the Prize

The Schwartz Prize was established by Helen and Martin Schwartz in the early 1980s and has brought recognition to outstanding public humanities programs every year. A panel of judges, representing previous Schwartz Prize winners and various perspectives in the public humanities community, is appointed to review and judge nomination submissions. Up to three councils are awarded the Schwartz Prize every year in a special ceremony at the National Humanities Conference. 

Helen and Martin Schwartz

At the 2023 Schwartz Prize Ceremony their daughter Deborah Schwartz gave a heartwarming virtual tribute

In 2023, the Schwartz Prize was presented to Alaska Humanities Forum, North Carolina Humanities, and Rhode Island Humanities. Alaska Humanities Forum won for its Ilakucaraq Program; Rhode Island Humanities for its 2022 Civic Health Index; and North Carolina Humanities for its North Carolina Reads program. The Schwartz Prize to North Carolina Humanities was given this year in memory of Marilyn Hatza, the former Director of Grants and Community Engagement at Maryland Humanities.

Watch the interviews of the 2023 winners.

Nomination Process

Beginning in 2024, the Schwartz Prize Nomination Process will be managed through the Federation’s new online portal (link to Schwartz Prize Nomination Packet in Portal). 

In 2024, up to three awards will be given in two categories, 1) council-conducted 2) grant-supported. 

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

  • Unique collaborations that broaden the footprint of humanities councils’ impact  
  • Capacity-building efforts in communities
  • Demonstrated commitment to diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible programming 
  • New uses of technology for council programming 
  • Demonstrated sustainability within the public humanities 
  • Creative and successful integration of public and academic programs/audiences  

Councils will complete their nomination statements, which answer questions that give the judges an in-depth understanding of their project. All nominations submitted by August 4 deadline will be considered, and the winners will be announced on November 15 at the 2024 National Humanities Conference in Providence, RI.

Have a Submission?
Member Councils: Please visit the
Schwartz Prize online portal page and the FAQs: the Submission Process web pages for full details on how to submit your council’s project or program.


*Please refer to our official nomination packet for official deadlines*


Our most commonly answered questions can be found by clicking the FAQs button below. Additional inquiries can be sent to khendren@statehumanities.org.