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 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.
Inclusion. We value many voices in our decision-making processes, operations, evaluation and programs. We live this value by constantly striving for transparency, full participation, meaningful reflection and addressing past practices of exclusion in our organization that may have served as barriers to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.
Creating Opportunities. We value opportunities for connection where we learn, experience, and share in the richness of the Commonwealth. We live this value by continuing to fund and run programs in historically excluded communities in Massachusetts, engaging in challenging dialogues internally and externally. We develop strategies to strengthen our relationships with community members.
Equitable Access. We value systems and structures that create equitable access to opportunities connected to the humanities. We live this value by addressing existing barriers to funding, programs and experiences that have excluded specific communities. We provide mentoring, support and proactive outreach to reduce the perpetuation of these barriers to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.
Diverse Representation. We value the strength of multiple perspectives to tell a more complete story of the Commonwealth. We live by this value by ensuring that our programs support a range of diverse voices and experiences. Our internal processes recognize and value the unique contributions of diverse staff and board members. Our work is driven by a commitment to ethically amplify narratives that have been historically erased or minimized in the humanities.