I write with glad and hopeful tidings at the beginning of another busy and unpredictable year.
Humanities Texas closed 2021 on a high note. In the final weeks of the year, we announced over $2.3 million in emergency funding to 263 Texas cultural and educational nonprofits affected by the pandemic. Grantees include museums, libraries, and historical and cultural societies in 145 towns and cities. We placed special emphasis on helping small organizations as well as organizations serving rural and traditionally underserved communities. Of the recipients, two-thirds have annual budgets of less than $300,000. Nearly half of the grants are going to organizations in communities of fifty thousand people or fewer.
These Relief Grants represent, by a significant measure, the largest grantmaking initiative in our organizational history. This year, we look forward to continuing our work with the grantees and further supporting the critical service they provide to their communities.
What else does Humanities Texas have in store for the first few months of 2022?
Humanities Texas remains one of the state’s premier providers of teacher professional development. Our in-person and online programs enhance student learning by providing teachers the opportunity to work closely with humanities scholars and explore topics at the heart of the state’s social studies and language arts curricula.
Last year, thousands of Texas teachers attended our webinars and online institutes. This spring, our programs will cover Reconstruction, the transformation of Texas in the 1930s and 1940s, the civil rights movement, and historical documents crucial to understanding U.S. history in the final decades of the twentieth century. We will soon announce additional programs for the spring on teaching The Great Gatsby and using the Stanford History Education Group’s Civic Online Reasoning curriculum.
Also this spring, we will hold Veterans’ Voices programs in College Station and Denton, in partnership with Texas A&M University and the University of North Texas. This reading and discussion program brings veterans, military families, and members of the public together to read aloud from classical and contemporary literary texts about war, military service, and the return to civilian life. The program allows for meaningful reflection on combat and civic responsibility while also mitigating the isolation and alienation that veterans can experience.
Season 3 of our radio program Texas Originals—which we produce in partnership with Houston Public Media—will soon go into production. The new season features episodes on such notable Texans as famed journalist Walter Cronkite, chef and entrepreneur Lucille B. White, sculptor Luis Jiménez, and diplomat and politician Anne Armstrong.
In March, at the annual conference of the National Council for History Education, we will introduce a national audience of teachers to recently completed units in the expansive set of curriculum materials we’re developing on the history of Latinos in the United States.
Keep an eye out for an announcement of more virtual public lectures in our series exploring Texas Foodways. Recordings of the lectures we sponsored in 2021 are available online.
Finally, in the late spring we will recognize fifteen exemplary Texas teachers with our 2022 Outstanding Teaching Awards. Nearly six hundred teachers were nominated for this year’s awards!
As we look ahead, I'm deeply grateful for our board, staff, partners, and supporters for joining us to promote the humanities throughout the state.
I hope our paths will cross in 2022. In the meantime, please be in touch should you have thoughts or suggestions about how Humanities Texas can further advance our mission, which has never been more important.