The Federation is celebrating 40 years of Schwartz Prizes! In 1982, the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities (now the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities) won the first Schwartz Prize for their project: “The Trinity Humanities Series: The Dramatic Work as a Historical, Cultural Document.” In the decades since, the prize has recognized a slate of outstanding public humanities programs from state and territorial councils.  This is the highest honor awarded to humanities councils by the humanities council community. You can view a list of previous winners from the last 40 years here.

Following are frequently asked questions regarding the 1) Nomination Packet & Eligibility, 2) Awards Process and Ceremony, and 3) Promoting the Schwartz Prize

Schwartz Prize FAQs

Nomination Packet & Eligibility

Q: What needs to be included in the 2022 nominating packet?

A: The nominating packet should include the following information:

  1. The council’s nominating statement which contains: 1) the council’s aim in undertaking the project; 2) the project’s public impact; and 3) the project’s financial structure.
  2. Electronic image(s) with proper attributions and a brief program description suitable for posting on the Federation’s website and for use on social media and other promotional activities*
  3. Link to program information online (either council, partner, or program-specific webpage)

NOTE: to ensure receipt of images, the Federation recommends using an online sharing tool to link to the images, instead of including images as separate attachments to the nominating email. Examples of these tools include Dropbox and Google Drive.

Q: Where can I find examples of nomination packets?

A: You can find past nomination packets on the Federation’s website under Events/Schwartz Prize.

Q: When is the deadline to submit a nomination?

A: Nominations to the 2022 Schwartz Prize are due no later than Thursday, August 18, 2022 . To submit a nomination, please review the criteria for the nominating packets, including the nominating statement, and send all materials to Kennedy McAlister at kmcalister@statehumanities.org. You have until midnight in your time zone to submit a nomination on August 18, 2022.

Q: Can I submit more than one nomination to the Schwartz Prize?

A: Yes! Councils have always been eligible for more than one nomination, and this year we have even more opportunities to do so. Up to three Schwartz Prizes will be awarded across two different categories:  Council-conducted programs and Grant-funded programs. If more than one of your Council’s programs meets the eligibility requirements in either category, you may nominate it. 

Check the Call for Nominations to see the eligibility requirements.

Q: The 2022 Schwartz Prize is looking for 2021 programs? What does that mean?

A: It means that the majority of the program needs to have taken place in 2021. For work to be eligible, it can have started before 2021 or gone beyond 2021, but most of the work or the final event must have taken place in 2021. 

Q: How do we know if a program we conduct or support is worth nominating for the Schwartz Prize? 

A: Great question! A number of past nominees have told us that their council hosts a staff meeting to discuss past programs and see if any meet the criteria for the Schwartz Prize. We’ve also heard that sometimes a board member suggests nominating a particular program, and sometimes the nomination comes from sharing the Call for Nominations with grantees, who then wish to have their program nominated. Other times, councils have reached out to one another to encourage someone to submit a program they found particularly innovative, impactful, or inspiring. The Federation encourages you to review the criteria announced in the call for nominations to ultimately determine whether you think the program should be nominated.

Awards Process and Ceremony

Q: When and where is the Schwartz Prize Awards Ceremony? 

A: The 2022 Schwartz Prize awards ceremony will take place in Los Angeles, California on Friday, November 11, 2022. The ceremony is held in conjunction with and as a part of the National Humanities Conference, which runs from November 10-13, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. To attend the Schwartz Prize awards ceremony, you must be registered at the National Humanities Conference.

Q: When are the winners notified?

A: Winners of the 2022 Schwartz Prize will find out during the live Schwartz Prize awards ceremony on Friday, November 11, 2022.

Q: Do I need to be at the Schwartz Prize Awards Ceremony in November to submit a nomination? 

A: While we’d love to see you at the awards ceremony, you do not have to be in attendance. We do recommend appointing a representative to receive the award on your behalf. Please note that if it is funding that is preventing you from attending the National Humanities Conference and the Schwartz Prize, the National Humanities Conference offers support requests to help offset the cost of the conference for eligible attendees.

Q: I submitted a nomination but cannot attend the Schwartz Prize Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles on November 11. Is my nominated program still eligible, and how do I find out whether or not it won?

A: While plans are still being made for this year’s Schwartz Prize, in past years we have either live streamed the awards ceremony through Facebook or recorded the ceremony and published the video on the Federation’s YouTube channel. Additionally, the Federation reaches out to the main contact on the Schwartz Prize nomination packet to share the official press release, a template press release, and the judges’ statement about the winning program(s) to the Schwartz Prize winner(s).

Q: What do the winners receive?

A: In addition to a modest financial award, Schwartz Prize-winning programs have typically received increased publicity, press, and national interest. As the nominations are judged by peers and partners, the programs naturally receive increased exposure, and the Federation uses the winning programs to demonstrate council capabilities, reach, and innovation to potential partners, funders, and other supporters. 

Q: Who are the judges and how are they selected?

A: The judges for the Schwartz Prize come from the previous year’s Schwartz Prize winners and Federation national partners or board. Typically, the judging panel comprises an executive director, program officer, board member, and/or partner. The judges for the Schwartz Prize remain anonymous until the Schwartz Prize awards ceremony.

Q: Can I be a Schwartz Prize judge?

A: If your council received a Schwartz Prize award last year and you wish to be considered as a judge, or you are a national partner of the Federation and are interested in judging, please email Kennedy McAlister  at kmcalister@statehumanities.org with your request. All requests must be received no later than Monday, August 1, 2022. 

Promoting the Schwartz Prize

Q: Can I let my community know that our council nominated a program for the Schwartz Prize?

A: Yes, but we ask that you wait until September before promoting your nominated program. This gives the judges enough time to review and make their decision without the influence of social media or other promotional activities. After September, please tag @humfed and #SchwartzPrize in your social media promotion and forward any Schwartz Prize-related content from your newsletters to Jazzy DiMeglio at jdimeglio@statehumanities.org.

Once winners are announced, the Federation provides a logo, Federation announcement, template press release, graphics, and judges’ statements to the winner(s) to help in additional promotion.

Q: How does the Federation promote the Schwartz Prize winners and nominees?

A: The Federation uses the nominated programs in its efforts to increase visibility of the work of the humanities councils to its partners, supporters, funders, and interested public. Throughout the year, the Federation highlights winners and nominees in its newsletters, social media, and in conversations with partners to demonstrate the award-winning work and capabilities of its members. We use #SchwartzPrize on social media.

Additionally, once all nominations are received, the Federation may contact nominees to schedule an interview, obtain optional audio, additional images, or video related to the nominations to be used for promotional and archival purposes.

Once winners are announced, the Federation provides a logo, Federation announcement, template press release, graphics, and judges’ statements to the winner(s) to help in additional promotion.

Q: What is the Schwartz Prize hashtag and should I tag anyone on our social media posts regarding the Schwartz Prize?

A: So glad you asked! Yes, please use #SchwartzPrize and tag us @humfed when posting across all social media channels.

I still have questions, who do I ask?

A: For any other questions, please contact Kennedy McAlister at kmcalister@statehumanities.org.