The Schwartz Prize

The 2021 Schwartz Prize

The Call for Nominations for the 2021 Schwartz Prize is now open! We are accepting nominations for the 39th annual Schwartz Prize through Sept. 13, 2021. Questions? Check out our recently developed Schwartz Prize FAQs which include topics from the nomination packet and program eligibility to awards logistics and promotion.

The 2021 Schwartz Prize awards presentation will take place during the 2021 National Humanities Conference in Detroit, Michigan. Learn more about the Schwartz Prize, including past nominees and winners below.

View the Call for Nominations Here

About the Schwartz Prize

The Schwartz Prize was established by Helen and Martin Schwartz in the early 1980s and was designed to bring recognition to outstanding public humanities programs. An outside panel of judges, typically selected from council board members, executive directors, and program officers who have recently won Schwartz Prizes, is appointed to review and judge the Prize nominations. Up to three councils are awarded the Schwartz Prize every year in a special ceremony at the National Humanities Conference. The first prize was awarded to the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities (now the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities) in 1982.

The 2020 Schwartz Prize

Congratulations to California Humanities, Vermont Humanities, Humanities Texas, and Humanities Washington!

Congratulations to the 2020 Schwartz Prize winners! The awards were presented by Federation Board Member Paxton Williams during a special virtual ceremony at the 2020 National Humanities Conference on November 12, 2020. This year, there were two Schwartz Prize categories; the first was to honor outstanding public humanities programming that was conducted or supported by a humanities council in 2019. The second category was created this year to recognize innovative and outstanding public humanities programming conducted by a council in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Congratulations to California Humanities and Vermont Humanities who won Schwartz Prizes in the 2019 category and to Humanities Texas and Humanities Washington who won in the COVID-19 Response category! 

Check out the four councils’ nominating statements to learn more about these outstanding programs! Don’t miss the other excellent programs that were nominated – all nominations for the 2020 prize are included below.

Meet the 2020 Nominees:

Alaska Humanities Forum
Kindling Conversation Program, Continuous Conversations

California Humanities
Library Innovation Lab

Delaware Humanities
DEstination Space

Indiana Humanities
IN Slow Moments

Humanities Kansas
Responding to the Moment: Connecting Kansans in 2020

Michigan Humanities
Bridging Michigan

Humanities Montana
Weekly Digital and DIY Humanities Email

New Mexico Humanities Council
The Manitos Community Memory Project

Nevada Humanities
Humanities Heart to Heart

South Carolina Humanities
The Food We Celebrate

Humanities Texas
Teacher Professional Development Programs

Vermont Humanities
Vermont Reads 2019: “March: Book One” by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

Humanities Washington
Cabin Fever Questions

The 2019 Schwartz Prize

Congratulations to Humanities Guåhan and Ohio Humanities Councils!

Congratulations to the 2019 Schwartz Prize winners who were announced in a special ceremony at the 2019 National Humanities Conference in Honolulu, HI this November! The first prize went to Humanities Guåhan for its “Taking Root: Growing Youth Empowerment for Island Sustainability” and the second prize to Ohio Humanities for “Not Far From Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio.”

Check out both Guåhan’s and Ohio’s nomination statements to learn more about these outstanding programs! Don’t miss the other excellent programs that were nominated – all nominations for the 2019 prize are included below.

Guam and Ohio Win 2019 Schwartz Prizes
November 2019
Press Release

Taking Root: Growing Youth Empowerment for Island Sustainability
Humanities Guåhan
Nominating Statement, 2019

Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio
Ohio Humanities
Nominating Statement, 2019

Meet the 2019 Nominees:

Alabama Humanities Foundation
Making Alabama: A Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit

Alaska Humanities Forum
Sister School Exchange

California Humanities
CA 2020: Youth Perspective and the Future of California

Humanities Guåhan
Taking Root: Growing Youth Empowerment for Island Sustainability

Illinois Humanities
Sojourner Scholars

Indiana Humanities
One State / One Story: Frankenstein

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
64 Parishes

Maryland Humanities
Is Justice Just?

Michigan Humanities
Third Coast Conversations: Dialogues about Water in Michigan

Humanities Nebraska
An Issue of Trust: Democracy and the Future of Journalism

Ohio Humanities
Not Far From Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio

Virginia Humanities
Immigration Stories

Wisconsin Humanities Council
Beyond the Headlines

Wyoming Humanities
WY Treaties Matter

The 2018 Schwartz Prize

Congratulations to Mississippi and Oregon Humanities Councils!

Congratulations to the 2018 Schwartz Prize winners who were announced in a special ceremony at the 2018 National Humanities Conference in New Orleans, LA this November! The first prize went to Mississippi Humanities Council for its “Racial Equity Grant Program” and the second prize to Oregon Humanities for “This Land.”

Check out both Mississippi’s and Oregon’s nomination statements to learn more about these outstanding programs! Don’t miss the other excellent programs that were nominated – all nominations for the 2018 prize are included below.

Mississippi and Oregon Win Schwartz Prizes
November 2018
Press Release

Racial Equity Grant Program
Mississippi Humanities Council
Nominating Statement, 2018

This Land
Oregon Humanities
Nominating Statement, 2018

The 2018 Nominees:

California Humanities
Straight Outta Fresno: From Popping to B-boys and B-girls

Illinois Humanities

Minnesota Humanities Center
We are Water

Mississippi Humanities Council
Racial Equity Grant Program

Humanities North Dakota
GameChanger Ideas Festival: In Justice: Rethinking America’s Criminal Justice System

Oklahoma Humanities
In the Light Bulb Room

Oregon Humanities
This Land

The 2017 Schwartz Prize

Congratulations to the 2017 Schwartz Prize Winner!

The 2017 Schwartz Prize was awarded to Indiana Humanities for their program “Next Indiana Campfires,” a program judges lauded as “groundbreaking” and a “remarkable confluence of the humanities with the natural world.” View the press release, read their nominating statement, and learn more about their program and where it is today below.

Indiana Humanities Wins Prize
Press Release, November 2017

Next Indiana Campfires
Nominating Statement, 2017

Next Indiana Campfires
Program, 2016-Present

The 2017 Schwartz Prize Nominees

Thank you to Jesse Moss of NEH for this video of the 2017 Schwartz Prize nominees. This video was aired for the first time at the 2017 National Humanities Conference Schwartz Prize awards presentation in Boston, MA.

Nominees included are: California Humanities’ “We Are The Humanities” presented by President & CEO Julie Fry, Indiana Humanities’ “Next Indiana Campfires” presented by Director of Programs and Community Engagement Leah Nahmias, Maryland Humanities’ “A Journey through Vietnam” presented by Executive Director Phoebe Stein, and Missouri Humanities Council’s “Heritage Program” presented by Heritage Resources Coordinator and Development Associate Caitlin Yager and Director of Development Austin Skinner.

Schwartz Prize Winners (2014-2017)  View All


Martin and Helen Schwartz
Founders of the Schwartz Prize Endowment