Call for 2020 Schwartz Prize Nominations!

August 28, 2020

Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize For Outstanding Public Humanities Programming

The Federation of State Humanities Councils is now accepting nominations for the 38th 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 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 expansive and strategic forms of public humanities work.

Nominations should showcase the best and most imaginative work councils conducted or supported in 2019. (Note: eligible work need not have started or ended in 2019, but could have begun prior to 2019, with the majority of work or the final event taking place in 2019.)  In addition, and special to 2020, the Federation is also seeking nominations of council programs that were developed or adapted as a result of COVID19.  COVID19-response programs will be judged in a separate category than those programs conducted in 2019.

Up to four 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. There will be up to two winners for council-conducted or supported programs in 2019 and up to two winners for COVID19-response programs.

Nominating Requirements and Recommendations:

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
  • Innovative merge of public and academic programs/audiences
  • Creative response to COVID-19

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’s website
  • Link to program information online (either council, partner, or program-specific webpage)
  • NOTE: Please submit the nominating statement and program description in one PDF. Image(s) can be sent separately, preferably via Dropbox or a similar sharing

View the  Schwartz Prize webpage featuring more information about the Schwartz Prize, the 2019 Schwartz Prize winners and their nominating statements: “Taking Root: Growing Youth Empowerment for Island Sustainability” by Humanities Guåhan and “Not Far From Me: Stories of Opioids in Ohio” by Ohio Humanities.

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

The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, October 7, 2020.

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