Skip Navigation

Who We Are

Our mission

We create opportunities for the people of Massachusetts to transform their lives and build a more equitable commonwealth through the humanities.

We do this through grants, programs, and partnerships with nonprofits around the Bay State.
Our work is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mass Cultural Council, and the generosity of our donors.

We support a thriving humanities ecosystem in Massachusetts. Humanities organizations and institutions serve towns and cities in every corner of the Commonwealth, creating free public events, innovative digital projects, and community conversations that bring people together to understand our shared lives and diverse traditions.

What are the Humanities?

The humanities are the cornerstones of our democracy, the tools by which we comprehend the past, forge new ideas, and express ourselves as participants in a free society. History, literature, and philosophy help us respond to essential questions: What is the right thing to do? What do I owe to my family, my community, my country?  When we come together to address these questions, to learn and share our stories, we practice the public humanities.

Our Core Values

We believe the humanities include those studies and interpretive practices that illuminate our deepest concerns and reflect our individual and collective aspirations.

We believe the humanities offer us tools for making sense of our lives and making our way through the collective life we share.

We believe the people of Massachusetts can thrive only when the humanities are accessible to all residents.

We believe in promoting an equitable and inclusive society that recognizes all people’s perspectives, especially those who have been marginalized and underrepresented.

We believe the humanities must be part of decision-making at every level, from the street corner to the classroom to the town meeting and the state house.

We believe in opening routes of engagement and doing so with integrity and accountability.

We believe in being innovative, responsive co-creators and partners.

Our Strategic Plan

Our Strategic Plan establishes the organization’s values and goals as we approach our 50th anniversary in 2024. Responding to the ideas offered through extensive engagement with our stakeholders, the plan calls on Mass Humanities to implement seven key initiatives, with annual outcomes set for each of the three years.  At this pivotal point in the evolution of our democracy, we believe the humanities, created by and for the people, can lay the groundwork for a better future.

Our Impact in Massachusetts

Each year, Mass Humanities supports hundreds of projects across the state through grants, strategic partnerships and our signature programs. In 2021, our work served more than 190 Massachusetts communities. 2021 Annual Report

  • $1.7M
    In Grants Awarded
  • 209
    Clemente Students
  • 24
    Reading Frederick Douglass Together Events
  • 198
    Organizations Funded

Our Staff

Brian BoylesExecutive Director
413-584-8440, ext. 100
Brian leads Mass Humanities, working with communities, scholars, and supporters to advance the council’s mission. Brian joined the organization in 2018 following 11 years at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, where he served as publisher for 64 Parishes magazine and directed public events at the Louisiana Humanities Center. Along with leading partnerships with the Smithsonian Institution, the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority of Louisiana, and the New Orleans Film Festival, he is a past contributor to Oxford-American,, The Brooklyn Rail, Commonwealth Magazine, and the Daily Hampshire-Gazette. A graduate of Tulane University, he lives in Leverett with his wife and two children. Follow him on twitter @brianwboyles.

Jen AtwoodProgram Officer
413-584-8440 ext. 106
Jen Atwood is originally from California and has a in B.A in Technical Theater and an M.S. in Arts Management.  Jen previously was the Manager of the Local Cultural Council Program at Mass Cultural Council and Director of East Somerville Main Streets and has experience with community development, local partnerships and volunteer management.  Jen loves working with Massachusetts communities and telling their stories through a cultural lens. She leads Mass Humanities’ partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program.

Latoya BosworthProgram Officer
413-584-8440 ext. 109

Latoya previously worked in the Springfield public school system for 18 years, most recently as District Behavior Specialist. She brings a wealth of experience from education to crisis intervention to family stabilization, as well as her own mentoring and arts program. Latoya has also worked as an adjunct professor for Springfield College. She holds a PhD, Human Services from Capella University, an M.S. in Non-profit Management & Philanthropy from Bay Path University, and a B.A., Sociology Minor in Social Work from Western New England University. She leads Mass Humanities’ Reading Frederick Douglass Together program.

Diane FeltnerExecutive Assistant
413-584-8440, ext. 101
Diane Feltner was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and currently resides in Ware. Diane previously worked in the Ware Public School system as an afterschool program coordinator and most recently as an Executive Assistant with Ascentria Care Alliance in Worcester. She received her BA from Baypath University and a Master’s Degree in Business from Nichols College in Dudley.

Deepika FernandesFiscal Officer
413-584-8440, ext. 108
Deepika is the Fiscal Officer. She manages accounting, budgeting, human resources and all of the Foundation’s financial systems.

Gina OcasionClemente Program Coordinator
413-584-8440 ext. 107

Gina is originally from California but now calls Western Massachusetts home. She received her doctorate in English and American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2016. She was part of the founding faculty for The Clemente Course in Springfield, MA, and became the Academic Director in 2018. Gina is passionate about open access education and as the Clemente Program Coordinator she works to support the student scholars, faculty, and host institutions that make each Clemente site successful.  


John SierackiDirector of Development
413-584-8440, ext. 104
John represents Mass Humanities in donor relations and oversees all aspects of Development, including the Governor’s Awards dinner and campaign fundraising. He earned a BA in English from the University of Delaware and an MFA in Poetry from UMass Amherst.

Katherine StevensDirector of Grants
413-584-8440, ext. 103
Katherine guides grant applicants through the application process and manages the Reading Frederick Douglass Together program. She earned her PhD in American Studies from Harvard University and BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

Enix ZavalaDirector of Administration
413-584-8440, ext. 102
Enix grew up in Holyoke, MA and currently resides in Belchertown. Prior to joining Mass Humanities, Enix served for 15 years as the Senior Manager at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. She was an Adjunct Professor at BayPath College and Springfield Technical Community College. Enix received a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy, along with a certification in Strategic Fundraising, from BayPath College.

Sara Seng / HEARD Strategy & StorytellingCommunications

Sara and HEARD lead all communications efforts for Mass Humanities. HEARD Strategy & Storytelling is a Worcester-based firm.

Our board

  • Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello - ChairSalem State University (Somerville)
    Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello

    ELIZABETH DUCLOS-ORSELLO is a publicly-engaged scholar and educator with two decades of experience in the higher education, museum, social service, k-12 and cultural sectors in both the US and Europe. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, the Coordinator of American Studies and an affiliated Faculty with the Center for Economic Development and Sustainability at Salem State University where she was the founding University Fellow for Service-Learning and has led university initiatives related to civic engagement, strategic planning, general education and global studies. Her scholarly work – much of it public-facing – relates to the intersections of gender, ethnicity, immigration, religion, place-making and the cultural construction of a community. In addition to articles, book chapters and digital humanities projects, she is the author of Modern Bonds: Renegotiating Community in Early Twentieth Century St. Paul ( UMass Press, 2018); editor of Teaching American Studies: State of the Classroom as State of the Field (University of Kansas Pess, 2021) and co-author of the forthcoming National Park Service report: ” African Americans in Essex County, Massachusetts”.   Her professional career has focused on social justice and social change since her days as a Jesuit Volunteer in Kansas City, MO. Passionate about the public policy impacts of the humanities, she works with and consults for museums, K-12 schools, historic sites, local governments and social service non-profits, helping them build bridges and new approaches in their work to effect change. She has served on numerous boards and city commissions including the House of the Seven Gables, The Northshore Community Development Coalition and the Boston-Strasbourg Sister City Association. A two-time Fulbright Scholar (Luxembourg and Greece) and Whiting Fellow (Cote D’Ivoire), she holds a B.A in History and Sociology-based Human Relations from Connecticut College and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University. She lives in Somerville with her husband and son where she can be found running marathons, hiking or generally enjoying the outdoors whenever possible. She was elected to the board in 2014.

  • Yves Solomon-Fernandez - Vice-ChairPresident, Greenfield Community College (Greenfield)
    Yves Solomon-Fernandez

    YVES SALOMON-FERNÁNDEZ is the President of Greenfield Community College. She previously served as President of Cumberland County College in New Jersey and Interim President of MassBay Community College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She is a strong advocate for the humanities, especially in the context of increasing technological disruption across industries. She was elected to the board in 2019.

  • Bruce Grinnell - Treasurer(North Adams)
    Bruce Grinnell

    BRUCE GRINNELL recently concluded a fifty year career as a practicing attorney working primarily in Berkshire County. A graduate of Deerfield Academy, Williams College and Boston University School of Law, he moved to Williamstown in 1968 after clerking in the Federal District Court in Boston. Beginning as a single practitioner, the practice grew to seven attorneys with offices in Pittsfield and Williamstown. For the past fifteen years, Bruce restricted his practice to mediation. Grinnell was a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, served as a trustee at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, was trustee and Board Chair of the former North Adams Regional Hospital, chaired the successful Capital Campaign there, raising over eleven million dollars. He was also a founder and president of the local ABC program in Williamstown. He was elected to the board in 2017.

  • William M. Fowler, Jr. - SecretaryNortheastern University (Reading)
    William M. Fowler, Jr.

    WILLIAM M. FOWLER, Jr. is the former director of the Massachusetts Historical Society and is Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University, Emeritus. Professor Fowler received his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University and his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. He is the former editor of The New England Quarterly and the author of a number of books relating to American history including: William Ellery A Rhode Island Politico and Lord of AdmiraltyRebels Under Sail: The Navy in the RevolutionThe Baron of Beacon Hill: A Biography of John HancockJack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy 1783-1815Silas Talbot: Captain of Old IronsidesUnder Two Flags: The American Navy in the Civil WarSamuel Adams: Puritan Radical and Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle For North America, 1754-1763. He wrote the “Introduction” and “Epilogue” to Boston Looks Seaward and he is co-author of America and The Sea: A Maritime History of America. His most recent book is Steam Titans: Cunard, Collins and the Epic Battle for Commerce on the North Atlantic (2017). He is a member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, the American Antiquarian Society, and an Honorary Member of the Boston Marine Society and the Society of the Cincinnati. He is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Pilgrim Society. He received an honorary degree from Northeastern University in 2000. William lives in Reading and was appointed to the Mass Humanities board by Governor Baker in 2015.

  • Lennie Alickman(Provincetown)
    Lennie Alickman

    LENNIE ALICKMAN is a Massachusetts native, graduating from Andover High School in 1979. She studied painting and received a BFA from Syracuse University in 1983. Beginning in Boston and moving to Los Angeles, Lennie worked for The Boston Company until 1999. Most recently, she was a Senior Managing Director for First Republic Bank in Los Angeles. In 2012, her passion for art was calling so Lennie retired from private banking to pursue a professional career in the arts. She moved to Provincetown from Los Angeles full-time in 2012, and shows her paintings at the Stewart Clifford Gallery and her white line prints at James Bakker Gallery, both in Provincetown. Lennie is the Treasurer and on the Board of Trustees at The Provincetown Art Association and Museum. She was elected to the board in 2019.

  • Whitney Battle-Baptiste - Governor's AppointeeW. E. B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst (Pelham)
    Whitney Battle-Baptiste

    WHITNEY BATTLE-BAPTISTE is a scholar and activist who views the classroom and the university as a space to engage contemporary issues with a sensibility of the past. Her academic training is in history and historical archaeology and her research is primarily focused on how the intersection of race, gender, class, and sexuality look through an archaeological lens. Her work has included interpreting captive African domestic spaces at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Plantation, school segregation in 19th century Boston at the Abiel Smith School on Beacon Hill, the Burghardt family homestead, also known as the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, and her most recent work on the complexities of navigating a community-based archaeological project at the Millars Plantation site on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. Her book, Black Feminist Archaeology (Left Coast Press, 2011), outlines the basic tenets of Black feminist thought and research for archaeologists and shows how it can be used to improve contemporary historical archaeology as a whole. She also serves as the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst and was appointed to the board by Governor Baker in 2018.

  • Paul D. Bosco(Concord)
    Paul D. Bosco

    PAUL D. BOSCO is a technology executive and advisor to early-stage ventures and visionary founders across the internet, ed-tech, digital health, bio-compute, and social impact sectors. He also serves in board, trustee, and advisory roles to foundations, corporations, universities, and private investors with a focus on strategy, innovation, digital transformation, entrepreneurial capacity, and talent. He was previously a vice president and general manager at Cisco, founding and scaling the business unit that delivers industry leading digital infrastructure to securely connect our homes and lives to the Internet. At Cisco he led or sponsored $1.2B in strategic software and internet startup investments and acquisitions. Paul also served as site executive for the Cisco New England Development Center, supporting partnerships with regional non-profits, museums, schools, and communities. He previously led research and development teams in the IBM High Performance Computing and Communications unit. Paul has contributed to and coauthored winning NSF, ARPA, and HHS internet, digital media, and education proposals, including a focus on underserved communities.  He holds a BS from Lehigh, MS/MBA from RPI, SM from Yale, and is a PhD ABD from MIT. He was a 2018 Harvard ALI Fellow focused on internet futures and the digital divide, social enterprise and entrepreneurship, and education and workforce development for the future of work.  Paul is based in Cambridge and joined the MA Humanities board in 2021.

  • Lyell Franke - Governor's Appointee(Duxbury)
    Lyell Franke

    LYELL FRANKE is a 1973 graduate of Wheaton College in Norton Massachusetts with a BA in Art History. She completed her masters at the New York School of Interior Design in NYC and the New England School of Art and Design in Boston, MA. She is a longtime resident of Duxbury where she and her husband built a home and raised their three children. Lyell volunteered for many organizations in Duxbury while raising her children, the Duxbury Creative Arts Council, the Duxbury Cultural Council, the PTA, the Duxbury Education Foundation, Crossroads for Kids, Cranberry Hospice and the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society among other local cultural organizations. She has been an active member of the Duxbury Yacht Club for many years and has served on many committees as well as the Board of Directors. She is an Overseer and former board member of the South Shore Conservatory. She was on the steering committee of the Duxbury Classical Chamber Music Festival and has served on their Executive Committee for 15 years. She is currently a Senior Associate at the MFA having served as a museum guide for 14 years and having worked on the annual Art in Bloom fund raiser during her four year tenure as an MFA Associate. Lyell and her husband started a retail business in Duxbury with two other partners and served as an owner/buyer for 25 years. She is a proud mother of three grown children and seven grandchildren. She was appointed to the board by Governor Baker in 2019.

  • Candace Lee Heald Community Foundation of Southeast Mass (Mattapoisett)
    Candace Lee Heald

    CANDACE LEE HEALD has served as the Director of AHA! New Bedford’s 2nd Thursday FREE Art and Culture Night since 2007. Previously, she was Vice-President of Program, Education and Exhibitions at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where she oversaw educational and public programs, exhibitions and library functions as well as visitor services and volunteers. Lee’s undergraduate degree in American History is from Brown, her Master’s Degree in American History and Museum Studies is from the University of Delaware and her Ph.D. is from Lesley University. In 2019, Lee was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from MA Arts Educators. She served on the Governor’s Creative Economic Development Council as well as other non-profit boards. Lee joined the Mass Humanities board in 2018.

  • Lawrence R. HottFlorentine Films (Northampton)
    Lawrence R. Hott

    LAWRENCE R. HOTThas been producing documentary films since 1978, when he left the practice of law to join Florentine Films.  His awards include an Emmy, two Academy Award nominations, a George Foster Peabody Award, the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, the Erik Barnouw Award, five American Film Festival Blue Ribbons, fourteen CINE Golden Eagles, screenings at Telluride, and first-place awards from the San Francisco, Chicago, National Educational, and New England Film Festivals.  Hott was the Fulbright Fellow in Film and Television in the United Kingdom in 1994 and Fulbright Specialist in Vietnam in He received the Humanities Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities in 1995; a Massachusetts Cultural Council/Boston Film and Video Foundation Fellowship in 2001; and the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism in 2001. He is on the board of MaineMedia in Rockport, ME and is now producing The Niagara Movement: A Mighty Current of Protest for national PBS broadcast.


  • Stephen Immerman(Salem)
    Stephen Immerman

    STEPHEN IMMERMAN retired as President of Montserrat College of Art in the summer of 2018. Prior to Montserrat, Steve served for thirty years in a variety of administrative capacities at MIT. He graduated from SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Albany, and the University of Pennsylvania with specializations in psychology, higher education, and organizational and leadership development.  Steve has served on over thirty non-profit boards and currently serves as Board Chair for The Cabot Performing Arts Center. He lives in Salem, MA with his wife Darcy, Senior Vice President for Resiliency at AECOM, and immediate past Chair of the Northeast ARC board of directors.

  • Imari Paris JeffriesKing Boston (Boston)
    Imari Paris Jeffries

    IMARI PARIS JEFFRIES In June 2020, Imari Paris Jeffries was named Executive Director of King Boston. Paris Jeffries brings a wealth of experience from the nonprofit management, racial equity, community activism, education reform, and social justice sectors, and has served in executive roles at Parenting Journey, Jumpstart, Boston Rising, and Friends of The Children. He serves as a Trustee of the UMass System and on the boards of United South End Settlement Houses, MA Budget and Policy Center, and Governor Baker’s Black Advisory Commission. 

     Imari most recently was the Executive Director of Parenting Journey. Previously he served as Chief Executive Officer of the Italian Home for Children, Chief Operating Officer of Jumpstart for Young Children’s Inc., as interim CEO of Boston Rising, and as Executive Director of Friends of the Children-Boston. Imari has extensive professional experience in public, national, and nonprofit leadership.  He committed to equity and justice and has supplemented his work with volunteer service on boards.  These have included Jumpstart, the African American Federation of Greater Boston, Save the Harbor, Save the Bay, the Elizabeth Peabody House, the Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership, the Edward Brooke Charter School, The Providers Council, and Third Sector New England. 

     Imari is a three-time graduate of UMass Boston and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. through UMass Boston’s Higher Education Program. He earned his BA in 1997, MEd in 1999, and his MA in 2003 from the University of Massachusetts.  A veteran, Imari served from 1991-1996.  He currently lives in Hyde Park with his family.

  • Jackie Jenkins-Scott - Governor's Appointee(Belmont)
    Jackie Jenkins-Scott

    JACKIE JENKINS-SCOTT is a nationally recognized leader with more than three decades of experience in senior and executive leadership positions in higher education and public health. She was the 13th President and the first African-American President of Wheelock College, serving from 2004 – 2016. She was appointed to the board by Governor Baker in 2017.

  • Denise Kaigler - Governor's AppointeeMDK Brand Management, LLC (Quincy)
    Denise Kaigler

    DENISE KAIGLER is the founder and principal of MDK Brand Management, LLC, a firm that helps clients define and manage their brand in ways that help them reach their professional or business goals. Denise is also the published author of Forty Dollars and a Brand: How to Overcome Challenges, Defy the Odds and Live Your Awesomeness, an entertaining and interactive professional development book. Denise has decades of corporate experience in communications, branding, and marketing at global brands Reebok, Adidas Group, Nintendo and Boston Scientific. Denise, who has a daughter and a son, is active in the non-profit community and sits on several boards, including the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Mass Humanities, and the University of Massachusetts Boston Advisory Board for Sport Leadership and Management. She is also an adjunct professor at Lasell College in Auburndale, MA. She was appointed to the board by Governor Baker in 2018.

  • Peggy Kemp(Medford)
    Peggy Kemp

    PEGGY KEMP served in the Boston Public Schools for more than 30 years as a teacher, department head, and headmaster. As Headmaster of Fenway High School from 2003-2016, Peggy helped to transition the pilot school into one of Boston’s leading secondary schools. During her tenure, Fenway’s faculty and students were recognized for high academic achievement by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Commendation School), the U.S. Department of Education (National Blue Ribbon School), by the Gaston Institute of UMASS/Boston (one of only two high schools in Boston where Latino students excel) and by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (boys of color performing above average academically). She was awarded a Service Excellence Award for School Leadership by the City of Boston in 2009. She has served as a lead liaison on school reform initiatives in Philadelphia, PA, Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Jefferson County, KY and has worked in higher education at Northeastern University as associate director of a regional math and science center and at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as the director of the Office of School Partnerships. In 2001, she was recognized by the Boston Higher Education Partnership for outstanding contributions and in 2014 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Emmanuel College. She is a graduate of Berea College and Harvard Law School. She was elected to the board in 2017.

  • Amy Macdonald WBUR
    Amy Macdonald

    AMY MACDONALD is Director of CitySpace, the state-of-the-art events venue at WBUR, where she oversees all of the programming.  Years ago, Amy worked at WBUR as a producer for “The Connection” under the helm of host Christopher Lydon. In between her stints at WBUR, she was the Forum Producer at the JFK Library, organizing the Library’s lecture series.  A graduate of Smith College, she has a Masters in Communication from Stanford University and Masters in English from Boston University. She was elected to the board in 2017.

  • Gage McWeenyWilliams College ( Williamstown)
    Gage McWeeny

    GAGE MCWEENY is Director of the Oakley Center for Humanities & Social Sciences and Professor of English at Williams College.  He received his B.A. from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in English from Princeton University.  As Director of the Oakley Center, he convenes groups of scholars across a range of disciplines to foster the exchange of new research, as well as to nurture intellectual collaborations and communities.  His research and teaching interests most often center on the interrelation of literature and thinking about our social world, especially in nineteenth-century Britain.  He also frequently teaches or writes about the history and theory of the realist novel, sexuality and gender, virtual worlds, and contemporary experimental writing. He is the author of a study of Victorian literature and the thin but powerful social bonds of modern urban life, The Comfort of Strangers: Social Life and Literary Form (Oxford UP, 2016), and co-edited the Longman Cultural Edition of Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times. His writing has appeared in Novel: a Forum on Fiction, Victorian Poetry, and in the art journal Cabinet, and he has been a contributor of numerous reviews and essays on literature and culture for BBC Radio 3 and 4. He has also taught at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English. He is currently at work on a study of the aesthetics of distraction and attention in the nineteenth century and beyond.  He lives in Williamstown with his wife and four children.  He joined the board in 2020.

  • Michael MeltsnerNortheastern University (Boston)
    Michael Meltsner

    MICHAEL MELTSNER is the George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law. Professor Meltsner was first assistant counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1960s. During his career, Professor Meltsner has served as dean of Northeastern Law School, has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and has served as a consultant to the US Department of Justice, the Ford Foundation and the Legal Action Center. In 2000, he was named a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin and conducted research on German constitutional law. He returned to Northeastern in 2005 after serving as the director of the First-Year Lawyering Program at Harvard Law School. Professor Meltsner has received the Hugo Bedau Award for excellence in death penalty scholarship, was awarded an honorary doctorate by John Jay College (CUNY) and has been described as the “principal architect of the death penalty abolition movement” in the United States. “His novel Mosaic about a civil rights era murder will be published by Quid Pro Books in 2022.”

  • Gail Reimer (Brookline)
    Gail Reimer

    GAIL REIMER is the founder and former executive director of the Jewish Women’s Archive. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Reimer began her professional career as a faculty member at Wellesley College shortly after receiving her PhD in English and American Literature from Rutgers University. In the early 1990’s, while serving as Associate Director of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, Reimer conceived and co-edited two ground breaking anthologies of Jewish women’s writings – Reading Ruth: Women Reclaim a Sacred Story and Beginning Anew: A Woman’s Companion to the High Holy Days. Honored by the American Jewish Historical Society with its Lee Max Friedman award for distinguished service in the field of American Jewish History in 2014, Reimer continues to write and lecture on Jewish women’s history here and abroad. Gail lives in Brookline with her husband Joe. She was elected to the board in 2016.

  • Marita Rivero(Brookline)
    Marita Rivero

    MARITA RIVERO life’s work has been to capture the stories that help us find one another across our differences.  She brings experience as a senior public broadcasting executive, museum president and board member in the areas of arts, education and preservation.  A Tufts graduate. She currently works on a consulting basis. In 2018 she joined the Bunker Hill Community College Foundation Board following her tenure as BHCC Board Chair.  Her interest in telling the full American story was at the heart of the Museum of African American History’s refreshed marketing and outreach effort.  As former Chair of the National Trust for Historic Presentation she saw the 2017 launch of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.  Her work as WGBH VP, General Manager Radio and Television included expanding radio to WGBH News, WCRB Classical, WCAI-FM, relaunch of WORLD digital television channel, and creation of online lecture service, The Forum Network.


  • David Slatery(MCC Liaison) Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Rajini Srikanth UMass Boston (Lexington)
    Rajini Srikanth

    RAJINI SRIKANTH is a Professor of English and Dean of Faculty at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is also affiliated faculty of the Asian American Studies Program,  the Human Rights minor, and the graduate program in Critical Ethnic and Community Studies Professor Srikanth is the author of two monographs, Constructing the Enemy: Empathy/ Antipathy in US Literature and Law (2012) and The World Next Door: South Asian American Literature and the Idea of America (2004), and the co-editor of multiple collections, including Interdisciplinary Approaches to Human Rights: History, Politics, Practice (2018), The Cambridge History of Asian American Literature (2016), a special issue on Islamic feminisms of the International Feminist Journal of Politics (2008), White Women in Racialized Spaces: Imaginative Transformation and Ethical Action in Literature (2002), and A Part, Yet Apart: South Asians in Asian America(1998). In addition, she has numerous essays in peer-reviewed journals and chapters in collections. Her publications and teaching span Asian American literature, human rights, pedagogy, and comparative race and ethnic studies. Rajini is co-recipient of grants from the Ford  Foundation ($100,000 in 2007 to organize and host an international conference on Islamic feminisms) and the National Endowment for the Humanities ($100,000 in 2018, to develop and implement a three-course cluster in environmental humanities). She was elected to the board  in 2018.

  • Phitsamay S. UyUniversity of Massachusetts-Lowell (Lowell)
    Phitsamay S. Uy

    PHITSAMAY S. UY is Associate Professor in the College of Education’s Leadership in Schooling Program and co-director of the Center for Asian American Studies at University of Massachusetts-Lowell. She has 20+ years of teaching experience. Her research focuses on Southeast Asian immigrant and refugee populations. She lives in Lowell, MA. She was elected to the board in 2019.

  • Willis G. WangBoston University (Boston)
    Willis G. Wang

    WILLIS G. WANG is Vice President and Associate Provost for Global Programs, and Deputy General Counsel at Boston University. He is the senior international officer responsible for strategic and major global initiatives. In addition, he manages the Global Programs Office which consists of study abroad programs with in-country operations in 15 countries, immigration support to thousands of international students and scholars, an ESL school, and operational support services facilitating the global activities of BU faculty. Willis also oversees a London-based academic internship non-profit, and is a trustee of Sea Education Association. As Deputy General Counsel, and since joining BU in 1998, his legal practice focuses on international ventures, corporate transactions, tech transfer, endowment investments, research, employment, and environmental matters. Prior to BU, Willis was in-house counsel at an MIT spin-off environmental technology company and the EPA. Hailing from Missouri, Willis has lived in
    Massachusetts since 1988 with a brief detour in DC.

  • Erin Williams Worcester Cultural Coalition (Worcester)
    Erin Williams

    ERIN I. WILLIAMS is the Cultural Development Officer for the City of Worcester, MA and the Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition (WCC), a public private partnership consisting of 78 cultural organizations in partnership with the City of Worcester. With Erin’s leadership, the Worcester Cultural Coalition was presented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts highest award, as the Creative Economy Catalyst. In 2017 she received the Champion of Artists award at the Massachusetts statehouse. Ms. Williams has served on the Governor’s Creative Economy Network and Public Art Commission, is a founding board member of MASSCreative; board member of Discover Central Massachusetts, and has been a member of Americans for the Arts Local Arts Agency Executive Leadership Forum; Western MA Arts Alliance founding member, in addition to many local community organizations. Erin founded the 1974 Meetinghouse Inc. and served as the executive director for the state MA #1 community based cultural center and served as the co-director of the Wilma Project and Big Small Theaters in Philadelphia. She is a graduate of Smith College, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Cum Laude Smith Scholar and University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a frequent speaker on the role of creative city making. Erin is a firm believer that creativity sparks the economy and most importantly, builds community for all. #MakeArtEverywhere!

  • nominate a board member

Our history

In 1965, Congress passed the founding legislation of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This eloquent document states clearly:

Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.
It must therefore foster and support a form of education, and access to the arts and the humanities, designed to make people of all backgrounds and wherever located masters of their technology and not its unthinking servants.

We take that message to heart at Mass Humanities. As the state affiliate of NEH since 1974, we have partnered with local non-profit organizations to bring history, philosophy, and literature into the everyday lives of people in communities across the Commonwealth. From Adams to Provincetown, Springfield to Boston and everywhere in between, we help people celebrate their stories, reflect on issues in their neighborhoods, and imagine the future for themselves and their families.

Mass Humanities receives major support from NEH and the Mass Cultural Council as well as our generous private donors. A private 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Mass Humanities is committed to responsible stewardship of public and private resources through the guidance of our statewide board of directors and the creative, efficient operations of our Northampton-based staff.

Stay in touch with Mass Humanities

Sign up for our Newsletter