Mellon Foundation Awards $1.96 Million Grant to Federation of State Humanities Councils to Engage the Public on the Importance of Civic and Electoral Engagement

Grant will support Federation’s new national initiative, “Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation,” which will provide free, non-partisan programming in 43 US states and territories.

NEW YORK, NY, October 22, 2020 - The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation today announced a $1.96 million grant to the Federation of State Humanities Councils to support their new national initiative, “Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation.” This new initiative will provide non-partisan, free programming in 43 US states and territories to engage the public on the importance of civic and electoral engagement. Programming will begin this month and will run through spring 2021.

Despite a broad recognition of the importance of voting, electoral turnout in the United States trails that of most developed countries. “Why It Matters” will create opportunities for the public to learn about the roles that electoral and other forms of civic engagement play in establishing and sustaining democracy. Program topics would include expanding voter access, the Electoral College, and election integrity to underscore the power of communal and individual voice through the ballot box and other forms of civic engagement.

To encourage robust dialogue, programming will range from radio shows and exhibitions to town halls and story circles. The following programs will launch throughout the initiative: “Vote Worthy,” a radio talk show hosted by Kentucky voting scholar Joshua Douglas to inform voters about election issues; “The Art of Voting,” a pop-up exhibition designed to inform Kansans on the history of voting; and an online magazine that will explore the historically marginalized indigenous CHamoru perspectives, with a focus on Guåhan’s lack of voting rights at the national level.

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About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.

For more information, contact

media@mellon.org