Michigan Humanities ~ Michigan Stories
Executive Update
Dear Friend of the Humanities,

We at the Michigan Humanities Council closely watched with growing concern as the longest government shutdown in US history stretched on to 35 days. Our primary funder, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), was directly affected, and in turn, so was our Council.

Michigan Humanities Council is one of 56 councils across the country, and we believe in public humanities now more than ever. Understanding one another through discussion, history, cultural activity, and literature is crucial in a divisive, coarse world. We celebrate the many wonderful voices, stories, and projects in our state that illuminate our communities.

We are pleased that the shutdown ended, and despite threats of another, we want to reassure you that our work will continue. We want to express our deep appreciation for the wonderful corporate, state, and individual donors who help make this happen. Our Board of Directors will meet in February and is following developments closely. At our Board meeting, we will be welcoming eight new members. Five are Governor appointees, and three join us from the nominations process. We will be sharing profiles on each over the next few months so you can get to know them.

Poetry Out Loud takes place on March 1 and 2 at the Crowne Plaza in Lansing with the support of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Meijer, and Liesel  Litzenburger Meijer Fund. The young competitors who are representing their schools are amazingly talented, and you can preview what's ahead in March via the POL video below. 

We are planning a special celebration this year because we value our local partners beyond measure. Stay tuned – there will be an announcement in mid-February. Let's work together and keep our focus on the mission of bringing humanities to life in every small town and big city in Michigan. We genuinely appreciate your partnership and look forward to our continued work together!

Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki
President & CEO
Board and Governance
We will be welcoming new leadership this month! Eight new board members, five of which are governor appointees, will be joining the Michigan Humanities Council Board of Directors. We will feature a synopsis of each member in our next issue.

We also thank Anne Marlowe Belanger for her dedicated service as Board Chair. What a genuine servant leader who showed tireless passion for the humanities. She will pass the mantle of leadership to Versell Smith, Jr. , who is is a cultural consultant, renowned singer, and Executive Director of the Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti. Versell’s leadership is evident in every undertaking since joining the board three years ago.

Pictured above: Anne Marlowe Belanger, former Board Chair, Paul Chaffee, Secretary, Celeste Diehm, Vice Chair, and Versell Smith, Jr., Board Chair.

The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways Exhibit continues in Michigan until April 2019!
Visit Niles District Library and Shiawassee Arts Center:

Venue: Niles District Library
Now through February 17, 2019

Venue: Shiawassee Arts Center
February 23 – April 7, 2019
Great Michigan Read
The Michigan Humanities Council was honored to recently receive a commendation for the Great Michigan Read from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Dr. Melba Boyd, MHC board member, accepted the award on behalf of the council at a gala hosted by the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME). The AASL recognized the Great Michigan Read's achievement in "deepening the understanding of the state, society, and humanity." You can read more about the AASL's commendations on their website

Though our 2017-18 Great Michigan Read for  X: A Novel  is winding down, we will announce the 2019-20 selection -- chosen by our regional committees -- in the spring. A new, 12-month series of programming will kick off in fall 2019. Visit our  Great Michigan Read webpage  in the months ahead for more program updates or reach out to program officer  Katie Wittenauer with questions.

Dr. Melba Boyd (center) with Mr. Mark Howe, Chief of Staff to the Chief Deputy Superintendent of the Michigan Department of Education, and Klaudia Janek, MAME President.
Poetry Out Loud
The   2018-19 Michigan Poetry Out Loud  program is in full swing with school competitions underway and the statewide event only a month away! Teachers, don't forget to send in your school champion details by  Friday, February 8 , and save the date for the State Finals on  March 1 and 2, 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Lansing.  Round 1 of competition will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 1. Rounds 2 and 3 will be held from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 2. State Finals will conclude by 11:30 a.m. on March 2. Recitation rounds are open to the public and free to attend. Please share our  State Finals Facebook event  with your family and friends!

Curious about what students, teachers, and parents have to say about Poetry Out Loud? Take a look at our new video highlighting the program and 2017-18 State Finals at the top of this email!
Humanities Grants are Open
The Spring 2019 Humanities Grants cycle is now open. Humanities Grants provide up to $15,000 in project support for public, humanities-based programs. For full grant guidelines and to apply please visit the Michigan Humanities website. To discuss a potential project please contact Program Officer, James Nelson .
Michigan Humanities has a new
Online Portal for Grants and Programs
Foundant , our new grant and program application tracking tool, is a user-friendly and intuitive system that will make all of your applications and reports for Michigan Humanities available in one place. We are excited to introduce this smooth and simple system that will help us to better serve Michigan communities.

You can register for Foundant when you are ready to apply for one of our programs. Once you have created a login, you can use the same login and profile to submit all of your applications. If you have any questions about registering, contact James Nelson .
Ignite your humanities programming with an Action Grant

Formerly known as Quick Grants, Action Grants strive to help you share your innovative perspective of the humanities with your community. Humanities programming cultivates new ideas to inspire action and strengthen our communities and our democracy. We hope Action Grants will help Michigan nonprofits develop original public humanities work that creates thoughtful dialogue challenging ideals and prejudices in the world.

Apply for a 2019 Action Grant starting Friday, February 1, 2019

Action Grants provide up to $750 to Michigan-based nonprofits to support public humanities programs. Organizations may receive one Action Grant per calendar year. At least one humanities professional is required to participate in the project. Programs and presenters already supported through the Arts & Humanities Touring Program are not eligible. Learn more about Action Grants on our website . If you have questions or would like to discuss a potential project, please contact Jennifer Rupp or (517) 372-7770.
Please Support Humanities throughout Michigan!