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Bridge Street Fund for Local History

Mass Humanities will sponsor online events hosted by history organizations. 

Every Massachusetts resident deserves the opportunity to learn, question, and contribute to the histories of their communities. As we confront the challenges of the pandemic, racial injustice, and political polarization, we feel more than ever the need to reconnect with the events and people that shaped the places we call home.

A new opportunity from Mass Humanities supports local history organizations in their efforts to reach audiences near and far through online programs and events.

Bridge Street sponsorships will fund free online programs hosted by Massachusetts historical societies, centers, museums, or historic sites, helping these institutions recover lost income, and enabling free access to the humanities.

Organizations can apply for sponsorships for up to three online programs per eligible applicant, at $500 per program ($1500 maximum). Programs must be open to the general public and must be free to attend.

Timeline

Applications open March 1, at noon. Sponsorships awarded will be announced every 3-4 weeks (see guidelines for a full calendar). Applications must be submitted at least three weeks before the upcoming award date to be considered for that cycle.

Looking for support for a different type of grant? More updated grant opportunities for Reading Frederick Douglass Together, Local History and more coming soon!

Why Bridge Street?

Shepherd House, circa 1932. Courtesy of Historic Northampton.
Shepherd House, circa 1932. Courtesy of Historic Northampton.

Mass Humanities is headquartered in the Pomeroy-Shepherd House, a historic home on Bridge Street in Northampton. Our location embodies our belief in the power of local history to strengthen the fabric of our communities. We believe these shared spaces will be crucial to the rebuilding process.

Support

The Bridge Street Fund is made possible through support from individuals and by Mass Cultural Council. Donate to the Fund today to keep local history alive in Massachusetts.

Mass Humanities announces two grants for organizations bringing the humanities to the public through digital programs and platforms. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have pivoted to offering creative, accessible, and free online humanities platforms and programs. In many cases, these programs have found audiences far beyond traditional in-person attendees. While digital divides remain, virtual and hybrid programs reach over entrenched barriers like accessibility of locations, neighborhood segregation, competing responsibilities for working people, and more. 

Mass Humanities anuncia dos subvenciones para las organizaciones que hagan llegar las humanidades al público mediante programas y plataformas digitales. Para saber más, lea nuestras pautas y las preguntas claves de la solicitud en español a continuación.

Organizations may apply to both opportunities, but not for the same programs or projects. See each grants’ guidelines for details. 

Digital Capacity Grants of up to $5000 will support organizations undertaking projects that make the humanities digitally accessible to the public and increase the applicants’ skills and capacity to continue digital humanities programs in the future. Funding for Digital Capacity Grants is provided by the Mass Cultural Council. For details, read our grant guidelines, FAQ, and key application questions.

Timeline: Applications open January 14th, 2021 at noon and close February 7th at 11:59pm. Recipients will be notified of their awards the week of March 29th.

Resources: View slides from our recent Digital Capacity Grant Webinar. Sample answers to application questions are included in the webinar slides.

Consultations: Want to speak with a Mass Humanities Program Officer about answering the application questions? Sign up for 10-minute consultations with:

Jennifer Hall-Witt: https://calendly.com/jhall-witt/digital-capacity-grant-application-check-in

Katherine Stevens: https://calendly.com/kstevens-3/digital-capacity-grant-consultation

Note: questions about application eligibility are best answered by emailing grants@masshumanities.org


Bridge Street Sponsorships: Mass Humanities’ Bridge Street Fund supports history organizations across our state. Through the generosity of donors, Mass Humanities will sponsor up to 3 free, public online programs by historical societies, centers, museums, or historic sites, at $500 per-program. For details, read our guidelines and key application questions.

Timeline: Applications open March 1, at noon. Sponsorships awarded will be announced every 3-4 weeks (see guidelines for a full calendar). Applications must be submitted at least three weeks before the upcoming award date to be considered for that cycle.

Looking for support for a different type of grant? More updated grant opportunities for Reading Frederick Douglass Together, Local History and more coming soon!

Mellon Foundation, Federation of State Humanities Councils support new opportunity for Clemente graduates.

Mass Humanities recently received funding through “Why It Matters,” a special initiative of the Mellon Foundation and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The grant will make possible “This is Your Democracy:  A Clemente Course on Civic Engagement in America,” online seminars that will bring together Clemente graduates from around Massachusetts to consider how civic engagement has shaped the nation.   

John Lewis (l) and Martin Luther King, Jr. Courtesy of wikimedia.

This marks the fourth grant awarded to Mass Humanities through the Mellon-FSHC partnership. Thanks to a grant awarded in 2020, Clemente graduates participated in writing and media literacy courses that resulted in We, Too, Are America, an anthology of essays now available from Harvard Book Store.

The new courses begin in January 2021. More than 50 past Clemente students enrolled for classes led by Clemente faculty Gina Ocasion, Lucia Knowles, and Ousmane Power-Greene. Graduates of the course will earn 1 credit from Bard College. Classes begin with a discussion with a look at the career of John Lewis. Participants will study some of the many forms engagement can take, from volunteering, to demonstrating, to writing op-eds and letters, to running for office. Mass Humanities will publish writing by the students in a special section of MassHumanities.org.

Click here to learn more about the Clemente Course.

Mass Humanities thanks Governor Baker and our allies in the House of Representatives and Massachusetts State Senate for their continued support for the humanities. This month Governor Baker signed the FY21 state budget, with $18.1 million allocated for Mass Cultural Council, which provides major funding for Mass Humanities. We’re grateful to our elected officials for  protecting the cultural sector as the commonwealth combats the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mass Humanities is especially grateful to our partners at Mass Cultural Council and MASSCreative, and to the many residents who advocate for the humanities’ place in public life. In 2020 Mass Humanities awarded $1.2 million to 207 organizations in Massachusetts.

Mass Humanities announced today the release of, “We, Too, Are America,” an anthology from the graduates of the organization’s Clemente Course in the Humanities. Published in partnership with Harvard Book Store, the book is a collection of essays written by residents of Dorchester, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester.

The book emerged from classes held in the summer of 2020, as the United States faced a global pandemic, nationwide protests against police brutality, and a fractured political landscape. In Dorchester, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester, graduates of the Clemente Course in the Humanities responded to the turmoil with original essays that reflected their experiences and views on the country, our democracy, and their communities.

We Too America Cover

“We are excited to share the words of our Clemente students,” said Brian Boyles, Executive Director of Mass Humanities. “Each piece provides a unique narrative from the voice of those who deserve to be heard. We hope that these collections of short writing pieces will provide a sense of inspiration and hope that our community desperately needs.”

Supported in five Massachusetts cities by Mass Humanities for more than twenty years, the Clemente Course offers free classes in the humanities to residents living at or near the poverty line. Adults study history, art history, literature, philosophy, and creative writing with college professors, and earn credit from Bard College. The new anthology was made possible through “Democracy & Informed Citizen,” an initiative of the Federation of State Humanities Councils funded by the Mellon Foundation.

“We, Too, Are America” is now available for print on demand at Harvard Book Store. All profits from the sale of this book support the Clemente Course in Massachusetts.

Mass Humanities announces $224,000 in 2020 Support Grants to 56 organizations in Massachusetts. The grants fund operations at organizations that support the cultural wealth and civic potential of vulnerable communities in our state, engaging them with the humanities in ways such as exploring their culture or values, sharing and connecting their stories, having conversations about the big questions facing our world, or developing literacy and the knowledge they need to become citizens.

“The grants awarded this month represent our commitment to the organizations that strengthen our democracy,” said Brian Boyles, Executive Director of Mass Humanities. “We believe access to the humanities is a fundamental right of every resident of the commonwealth as we grapple with the challenges facing our communities in 2020.”

The grants are made possible through funding from Mass Cultural Council. Mass Humanities has awarded more than $1.2 million in grants in 2020.

2020 Support Grant Recipients 

Organization Name

Grant Amount

Organization City

Berkshire Immigrant Center

$4,000.00

Pittsfield

ROPE

$4,000.00

Pittsfield

Aquinnah Cultural Center

$4,000.00

Aquinnah

Sassafras Earth Education

$4,000.00

Aquinnah

Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts

$4,000.00

Worcester

Worcester Youth Center, Inc.

$4,000.00

Worcester

Center for New Americans

$4,000.00

Northampton

Eggtooth Productions

$4,000.00

Greenfield

Enchanted Circle Theater

$4,000.00

Holyoke

Holyoke Community Media

$4,000.00

Holyoke

Ohketeau Cultural Center

$4,000.00

Ashfield

Piti Theatre Company

$4,000.00

Charlemont

The Literacy Project

$4,000.00

Greenfield

The Nolumbeka Project, Inc.

$4,000.00

Greenfield

The Performance Project

$4,000.00

Northampton

Voices From Inside

$4,000.00

Greenfield

826 Boston

$4,000.00

Roxbury

Agencia ALPHA

$4,000.00

Boston

Ágora Cultural Architects

$4,000.00

Boston

Asian Community Development Corporation

$4,000.00

Boston

Authentic Caribbean Foundation Inc.

$4,000.00

Boston

BAMS Fest, Inc.

$4,000.00

Dorchester

Brain Arts Organization, Inc.

$4,000.00

Dorchester

Castle of our Skins

$4,000.00

Boston

Center for Arabic Culture

$4,000.00

Somerville

Chinese Historical Society of New England

$4,000.00

Boston

Community Art Center, INc.

$4,000.00

Cambridge

Company One

$4,000.00

Boston

DEAFinitely, Inc.

$4,000.00

Newton

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative

$4,000.00

Roxbury

Egleston Square Main Street

$4,000.00

Roxbury

Everyday Boston

$4,000.00

Jamaica Plain

Gilbert Albert Community Center

$4,000.00

Dorchester

Hyde Square Task Force

$4,000.00

Jamaica Plain

Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center

$4,000.00

Roxbury

Rian Immigrant Center

$4,000.00

Boston

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay

$4,000.00

Boston

Somali Development Center

$4,000.00

Boston

The History Project: Documenting LGBTQ Boston

$4,000.00

Boston

The Welcome Project, Inc.

$4,000.00

Somerville

Vietnamese American Initiative for Development

$4,000.00

Dorchester

Women’s Educational Center, Inc. (d.b.a. Cambridge Women’s Center)

$4,000.00

Cambridge

African Cultural Services Inc.

$4,000.00

Waltham

Chelsea Collaborative

$4,000.00

Chelsea

African Community Center of Lowell

$4,000.00

Lowell

Angkor Dance Troupe

$4,000.00

Lowell

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell

$4,000.00

Lowell

Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association

$4,000.00

Lowell

Harbor Voices

$4,000.00

Hamilton

Lawrence History Center

$4,000.00

Lawrence

LEAP for Education, Inc.

$4,000.00

Salem

Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness, Inc.

$4,000.00

Danvers

The Dream Network

$4,000.00

Lawrence

New Bedford Historical Society, Inc.

$4,000.00

New Bedford

South Coast LGBTQ Network

$4,000.00

New Bedford

YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts

$4,000.00

New Bedford

Mass Humanities announces the appointment of Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello as 2020-2022 Chair of its Board. Elected to the board in 2014, Duclos-Orsello is a publicly-engaged scholar, educator, leader and activist with over two decades of experience in the higher education, museum, social service, k-12 and cultural sectors in the US and Europe.

“Liz is the quintessential public humanist,” said Brian Boyles, Mass Humanities Executive Director. “As a scholar, activist, and educator, she strives to expand access to the humanities, in particular the important stories of the many immigrant communities of Massachusetts. I’m thrilled to partner with her as we lead Mass Humanities into a new era.”

Duclos-Orsello is Professor of American Studies and Chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Salem State University where she has led university initiatives related to civic engagement, strategic planning, general education and internationalization. Her scholarly work – much of it public- facing – relates to the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, immigration, religion, place-making and the cultural construction of a community.

“I’ve crafted a life and a career at the intersection of the public humanities and social justice and I’m honored to have this opportunity to lead and co-create with a talented Board and staff at this critical moment,” said Duclos-Orsello. “A moment in which it is more apparent than ever the ways in which the humanities writ large—and their transformative power—can and must be called upon to tackle the most pressing issues of our time. Critically, our work over the next two years will be focused on expanding the public’s understanding of which voices define and shape the humanities, raising awareness of the impact of the public humanities on the health of individuals and communities across our state, and, most centrally, expanding access to the tools, skills and wisdom of the humanities in service to building a more just, equitable and inclusive Commonwealth.”

Joining Duclos-Orsello as officers of the board for 2020-22 are Peggy Kemp (Vice Chair), Bruce Grinnell (Treasurer) and William Fowler (Secretary). Click here for a full list of Mass Humanities board members.

For further information or to schedule an interview, please contact Sara Seng at sara@heardstrategy.com.

How can a dream inspire an entire nation’s language revitalization movement? If you ask jessie little doe baird of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe that question, she will talk about a series of dreams she began having in her mid-20s while a young mother. In her dreams she saw people who seemed familiar and even looked like people she knew, but they were saying something she could not understand. Then one day while driving, her attention was drawn to the street names she was passing. Something clicked. She knew the street names were Wampanoag words, but now she understood that the words in her dreams sounded like the street names. She interpreted her dreams as a call from her ancestors to ask contemporary Wampanoag community members whether they were ready to welcome the return of their language.

She was encouraged to find resounding community enthusiasm among the Wampanoag Tribes. She also was welcomed by Algonquian language scholars at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who offered her first a research fellowship and then a scholarship to earn her master’s degree in linguistics. Over the next four years, while raising four young children, jessie traveled four hours a day to attend classes and collaborate with MIT linguist Kenneth Hale. Her task of reviving Wampanoag was facilitated by the fact that as early as the 1650s Wampanoag was recorded in written texts including a translated Bible, letters, public records, place names, and Wampanoag words that were borrowed into English. It was, in fact, the first native language to use an alphabetic writing system.

jessie understood that simply studying and comprehending the words on paper did not constitute a language. A language lives through the people who speak it. So Baird founded the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project (WLRP). WLRP have invited the community to learn their language in classes and family camps and a language immersion school that resides on the ancestral lands of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. WLRP has reawakened a language that had gone silent for generations, and it has realized jessie’s dream: to bring her language back into daily life. WLRP’s Wampanoag dictionary now holds more than 11,000 entries and her work is not done; she’s quick to say it may never be done.

Today, jessie and her husband, Jason Baird, who also is fluent, are raising their daughter, Mae Alice, in Wampanoag and have several grandchildren that are also speaking the language. Mae Alice was the first native speaker in seven generations. Earlier this year jessie was named one of USA Today’s Women of the Century for her work and the substantial impact she has made on her community.

Dr. M. Lee Pelton was born into a working-class family in Wichita, Kansas. His paternal great grandparents made a meager living as farmers near Little Rock, Arkansas where civil rights battles over the soul and dignity of our country were waged. Lee’s maternal ancestors were Cherokee Native Americans living off the land in north central Oklahoma and his ancestors were what the Historian Nell Painter, called, Exodusters – African Americans moving from the agrarian South to Kansas and Nebraska.

He attended Wichita State University – a stone’s throw from his childhood home – before leaving Kansas to earn a PhD in 19th century English and American Literature and Languages at Harvard. He taught English and American literature at Harvard and served as what is now called a residential dean of Winthrop House. Later, Lee served on the Harvard Board of Overseers and as a vice-chair of its executive committee. After Harvard, he served as dean of the college at Colgate University and Dartmouth College before serving for 13 years as the president of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. Lee became president of Emerson College on July 1, 2011.

There were very few books in Lee’s house growing up except the Bible, whose rich poetic cadences and tropes invigorated and inspired him. He was captivated by the Biblical exegetical exercises of Sunday sermons that sought to make meaning out Biblical stories and connect Old Testament and New Testament symbols and meanings. He didn’t know it then, but this was the foundation for Lee’s abiding love of poetry, critical analysis and, eventually, his graduate school work. The classroom was a magical place where ideas – new and old – came alive.  Lee always reminded his students that literature and the humanities were as relevant to understanding the meaning and purpose of the living world as biology or other branches of science. He continued to teach a wide range of literature courses, even when he became a full-time administrator.

Lee felt a calling to academic leadership at an early stage in his career.  

Lee often points to Jim Freedman, a cherished friend and one-time president of Dartmouth College as an affirming voice on the value of liberal learning and the humanities:

The public self that we all show to the world is, obviously, important. An engagement in public life, an engagement in one’s profession and all those things are, obviously, important. But what I hope a liberal education does is to make you ask questions about yourself. What is it that makes me happy? What makes me a good person? What would make me a better person? Why is it so difficult to come to grips with unhappiness and sadness? Why is life so unfair to some people? Those are the questions that a liberal arts education, that great literature, great essays, help you ask yourself. And I think they make you a wiser person because of that.

Lee believes that the best education is deeply rooted in and connected to human experience and human endeavor.

Lee Pelton is president of Emerson College and an internationally known speaker and writer on the value of liberal education and leadership development, civic engagement, and diversity and inclusion. Pelton served as dean of the college at Colgate University and Dartmouth College, and was president of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon for 13 years. He serves on the board of directors of the Boston Chamber of Commerce, WGBH, MIT Press, Harvard Graduate School Alumni Council, Boston Arts Academy Foundation, Facing History and Ourselves, and the Barr Foundation.

Recently, he was recognized by the Boston Chamber of Commerce as 2020 Distinguished Bostonian and was asked by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to lead the Boston Racial Equity Fund. He has been recognized for his civic engagement with several awards, including 50 Most Powerful Leaders in Boston (Boston Business Journal), One of The 100 Most Influential People in Boston, The 21 Most Powerful People in Boston Business, 75 Bold Thinkers Who Are Shaping Our City and the World (Boston Magazine) and Boston’s 100 Most Influential People of Color (Get Konnected!).

Fredi was born and raised in Jamaica Plain. She attended Boston Public Schools in her early years and went on to graduate from high school and college at two institutions that have since closed.  

Neither of her parents had university degrees but they strongly encouraged all of their children to pursue higher education. Fredi and her four siblings all went on to graduate from college, law school, and business school with some pursuing doctoral studies.

Fredi’s natural leadership skills flourished in college.  She later served on the school’s board and Winsor School’s  board.  From early on, she has championed opportunities for women, a cause for which she still cares deeply.

She joined the board of the Crittendon Society and as her four children came along, she joined the boards of their schools.  She has mentored young people in both her professional life and as a volunteer for countless organizations.

After marrying her husband, Howard, Fredi began her philanthropic career in earnest.

In 1994, she was the founding board chair of Summer Search Boston and on its National Board. The goal of the program is to give students hope and confidence through challenging summer programs and on-going mentoring.  For over 26 years, Summer Search Boston has served over three thousand low income students- ninety eight percent of whom graduate from high school. In order to assure continuity of this wonderful program, Fredi decided that after twenty years, leadership had to transition to the next generation and she left the board.

While working with Summer Search, Fredi also had the opportunity to work with Hestia on its executive committee. This organization is run by women who channel philanthropic resources to improve educational outcomes in Boston and the surrounding area. Additionally, her passion for education led her to become deeply involved with the educational program at the Boston Museum of Science, “The museum has developed a marvelous program in inspiring elementary and junior high school interest and competency in engineering and technological innovation.”

Fredi’s commitment to educational causes has kept her very busy. She served on the board and then chaired the board at WBUR.  She also had the opportunity to serve on the NPR Foundation board.  In Cambridge, she served on the board of the Cambridge Center of Education and Families First. She is also a member of the Women’s Leadership Board at the Harvard Kennedy School. 

Ten years ago, she joined the Smithsonian National Board. The aim is to further the interest and basic research in history, science and technology.  She had the privilege of working with the Smithsonian Science Education Center where she served as Chair for the past three years.  She was recently  nominated for the role of vice chair of the National Board and to continue on the Board of the Science Education Center.

Most recently, Fredi and her husband have become deeply involved with UpStream USA, which launched a unique program to prevent unwanted pregnancies through education about long-acting, reversible contraception. UpStream is operating in five states including Massachusetts. In Delaware, where the program was launched, records show that unplanned births are down by twenty five percent and abortions have been reduced by thirty seven percent due to the organization’s efforts. 

Fredi’s humility is matched only by her generosity.

“Championing education and my work with numerous nonprofits are the major highlights of my life.  I believe in community.  Community requires understanding of where we come from, where we are and where we might go.  Art, theater, history, music, and literature are all part of our understanding of others and of humanity.  My philanthropic endeavors have given me great pleasure throughout my life that is only rivaled by the pleasure I get from being with my family.  Between Howard and me we have seven children and twelve grandchildren with 7 college degrees and 9 master’s degrees between them.”

You may be surprised to know that Al Griggs—a decorated Marine, respected businessman, philanthropist, former Mass Humanities board member, 2020 recipient of a Massachusetts Governor’s Award in the Humanities, and at the time, vice president of his class—never graduated from high school because he failed a US History course. But since then, he has gone on to achieve remarkable success in the business world, his volunteer endeavors, his ceaseless pursuit of knowledge, and his passion for building respect and inclusion within organizations of all types and sizes.

Al moved to the Northampton area in the mid-1950s with his parents and four siblings when his father acquired a Coca-Cola bottling franchise in Western Massachusetts. Al was attending high school at Philips Andover Academy, where his natural leadership skills blossomed and he served as class president for 2 years.

“Andover’s school motto is Non Sibi, which is Latin for ‘Not for Self’. I learned from a very young age that it is important to work for the common good. This ethos is reflected in every aspect of my life to some extent.”

Despite failing to graduate—an acute disappointment for which he blames only himself—Al was a smart and capable young man. The headmaster encouraged him to join the US Navy, where Al’s commanding officer suggested that he apply to the US Naval Academy from the enlisted ranks. He got in and served as the VP of his class for 3 years. When Al graduated, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps where he flew fighter jets for 5 years. One of his most memorable experiences during that time is hauntingly relevant to the current moment: 

“I was living in Meridian, Mississippi, during flight training when three civil rights activists, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were abducted and murdered in the area. The head of the FBI investigation lived in my house while they searched for their killers. Flight school was suspended and we were ordered to help search for the bodies. At one point, someone burned a cross on our lawn because the locals were angry that we were helping the FBI.”

During the Vietnam War, Al flew over 100 missions in support of Marine ground troops, which earned him 7 air medals. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for putting his fellow Marines’ lives before his own.

After he came home from the war, at his father’s encouragement, Al attended Harvard Business School and then joined the family business. 

“At Harvard, there was a lot of anti-Vietnam War sentiment, but most of the other students were simply interested to hear about my experiences over there. The most meaningful course I took while at Harvard was Human Behavior in Organizations taught by Tony Athos. It was enlightening and it really changed my perception of management and the importance of treating everyone in your company, from the person making the least pay to the CEO, with respect. I have carried this philosophy with me throughout my life as a business person.”

Al met his wife, Sally, while at the Business School and they moved to the Pioneer Valley in 1970. From that time until 1992 when he sold the business, Al owned and acquired several Coke bottling franchises in Western Mass, Upstate New York, Southern Vermont and New Hampshire. Al was Chairman of the National Soft Drink Association for 2 years and worked with Senator Ted Kennedy and his staff to ensure access to safe non-sugar sweeteners in soft drinks.

After retiring, Al shifted his attention to enhancing the lives of people in the Pioneer Valley through philanthropy. Al became chairman of the Tuition Management Systems (TMS) board, which helps individuals and families reduce the student loan debt burden. This experience opened his eyes to the disparities of access to higher education. It is also why he has been such a huge champion of the Clemente Course over the years, which Mass Humanities runs in partnership with Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services and UMass Amherst in Springfield. Another of Al’s achievements was as a co-founder of the Valley Gives program, which spotlighted the numerous nonprofits in the Pioneer Valley, helped small organizations enhance their fundraising capabilities in the digital age, and channeled millions of new dollars to the region’s nonprofits. 

His accolades and titles are numerous. During his nearly 30 years of community service, Al has been awarded the Paul Harris award from the Northampton Rotary Club, named Chair of the Community Foundation of Western, MA, Chair of the Northampton YMCA, Chair of the Cooley Dickinson Hospital Board of Trustees, Chair of the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, Chair of the Board of Williston Northampton School,  Board Member of the Beveridge Family Foundation and Chair of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health Board where he oversaw a $250 million capital campaign for the hospital. Dartmouth- Hitchcock even named an award in his honor- the Griggs Ambassador Award, which is given each year to someone who has “made a commitment to be a part of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s global health solution by promoting wellness at every level of their community”. He also served on several committees at Edwards Church in Northampton, where he has been a congregant for over 60 years. He is the current chair of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA). 

One of Al’s proudest accomplishments, however, was joining the Mass Humanities Board in 2014 and helping to increase the foundation’s visibility in Western MA. 

“When I joined the Mass Humanities Board in 2014, I became interested in reading things other than non-fiction and I loved being exposed to things like philosophy and literature that I had very little experience with in my prior life. The Humanities have given me a lens to view the world in a different way as it relates to the pandemic and the issues of racism facing our country. We are living in challenging times and I am thankful that Mass Humanities is doing such important work to help support organizations and individuals as we grapple with the fallout of COVID-19.”

Al lives in Northampton, MA and Sunapee, New Hampshire with his wife, Sally. They have two children together and Al has two children from a previous marriage.

Marginalized communities, and the wealth of culture, knowledge, critical perspectives and civic potential within them, are at greatest risk during the COVID-19 crisis.

Through funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Mass Humanities will provide operating support grants to organizations that primarily serve the most marginalized people in our society, engaging them with the humanities in ways such as exploring their culture or values, sharing and connecting their stories, having conversations about the big questions facing our world, or learning English and the knowledge they need to become citizens.

Grants are available to organizations that do this work and have operating expenses below $3 million. Applicants need not define themselves as humanities organizations in order to apply. 

Have questions about 2020 Support Grants?  View the Powerpoint and  recording of our online tutorial on filling out the application and registering in our online system, with Q&A with the audience, held on Aug. 3, 2020.

Timeline

Applications open on July 22 and close August 10, 2020, at midnight. If power outages resulting from the recent storm have affected your ability to complete the 2020 Support Grant application by the Aug. 10 deadline, please email us at grants@masshumanities.org and we will work out a solution.

Notification will begin on Sept. 15. Funds must be spent by June 15, 2021, and a final report is due on Sept. 1, 2021.

Funding

Applicants should request grants of $5,000. Actual grant amounts may vary and will be determined by the money available and the number of organizations recommended for funding. Funding for this grant is competitive but all recommended organizations will receive the same amount of funding.

Questions? Click here to email our grants staff.

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