Author Archive

Announcing Major Grant awards this fall

Humanities Programs in Focus | November 8, 2017 | By:

We’re pleased to award $29,420 in Major Grants to three great projects that include capturing Wisconsin music history to exploring the issues of sexual assault in a Native American community through a Wisconsin Reads project to finding common ground among persons of different faith traditions.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council couldn’t fund these projects without support from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The NEH provides 90% of the funding that enables us to bring great programming, support and services to the state of Wisconsin. Project sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.

Congratulations to these three organizations! These projects tell meaningful stories about Wisconsin and bring communities together to explore important themes. We welcome you to be a part of the story and see these projects and events.

Inspiration starts here! Read More


Building Citizens for their Future

Humanities Programs in Focus | June 1, 2017 | By:

gabrielle-and-heather-on-the-track 

Why is learning to be a citizen something youth need? What good is it? Why should we care? Why should THEY care?

New Holstein Middle School Teacher Heather Tomchek has been a long time participant in Project Citizen, a curriculum and professional development program for which WHC provided funding over the last three years. This year, she and I were both judges for the Project Citizen statewide showcase. I was taken by student enthusiasm for projects students felt would really make a difference in their community. I asked Tomchek if she had a sense of whether the lessons stuck beyond the 7th grade, if there was any way to measure the success of a program like this. Read More


Grants 101: Healing through the Humanities

Humanities Programs in Focus, Tips for Grant Writers | December 1, 2016 | By:

A poem and artwork by a participant in an Untold Stories workshop

It’s through the reflection allowed by the humanities that we gain the perspectives that help us heal.

by Meg Turville-Heitz

We’ve been looking at measuring the impact of humanities programs through evaluation. Last time, I wrote about evaluating impact internally – how we improve our own programs with honest post mortems. This article focuses on our external impact and talking about why the humanities matter. Read More


Grants 101: Evaluating your relationships

Humanities Programs in Focus, Tips for Grant Writers | November 2, 2016 | By:

Picturing Milwaukee People & Places

Experiences with the humanities change lives. We know that. We also know that beyond the tally of who participated directly, the impact of an encounter with ideas can ripple outward in unpredictable ways.

by Meg Turville-Heitz

A few weeks ago I started a conversation about evaluating our impact in “Taking measure of your humanities project.” I talked about how we can evaluate impact both from the perspective of how programming affects how organizations operate, and what individual participants take home. This week, I’m sharing the story of Professor Arijit Sen’s project, Picturing Milwaukee, as a case study in using participant feedback to improve programming and organizational relationships.

I visited Sen at his UW-Milwaukee Building-Landscape-Culture field school this past summer to talk about how his project evolved since he received two Major Grants from the Council several years ago. His experience was enlightening. He looked beyond the feel-good successes in participant evaluations of his project to focus on where he missed the mark.

In thinking through those short-comings, Sen built a far better project and more meaningful partnerships that led to a much deeper community impact than he had initially imagined. Read More


Grants 101: Taking measure of your humanities project

Tips for Grant Writers | September 22, 2016 | By:

Electric flash

It was a fabulous project. The best project. Everyone said so …

Taking measure of your humanities project

by Meg Turville-Heitz

Evaluations. Ugh, why? You’ve completed your project and it’s time to move on to the next thing. Sometimes it feels like a forced exercise in number crunching and self-scrutiny that can kill the buzz from your successes. Other times it may leave you feeling like you are sugar-coating a big lemon.

Evaluations get a bad rap. Really. Good evaluations promote better projects – both our ability to offer guidance, and your ability to design great programming. Evaluation can help institutions improve how they do their work and provide a way to talk about why the humanities matter. Thus we’re taking a step back and looking again at how we measure what we measure. We’re realizing we can do better. And there are some pretty compelling reasons why we need to. While reporting numbers and dollars is a function of grant funding everywhere, it’s really the impacts that matter, especially in the humanities.  Read More


Our New Grant Program Director is Here!

Humanities Programs in Focus, Tips for Grant Writers | July 14, 2016 | By:

New WHC grant program director's farm

This is where our new Grant Program Director, Meg Turville-Heitz, calls home.

We are excited to introduce you to Meg, our new Grant Program Director!

Hi! I’m Meg, the new WHC Grant Program Director.  I’m the newest member of the Wisconsin Humanities Council staff and I’ve been asked to introduce myself. Pleased to meet you! I’m eager to learn about your public humanities programs and work with you on your grant applications.

I’m a writer; writing an introduction should be easy. But I have that Midwest “humble” ingrained from birth, that tendency to not crow, to blush at praise, and to self-deprecate whenever there are opportunities to shine. Add to that an irreverent and somewhat gallows-minded sense of humor and I spend a lot of time kicking myself, mostly metaphorically, with under-the-breath “I shouldn’t have said that” moments.

But I digress.

Read More