Mission & Values
We envision a state where all people seek a deeper understanding of others, themselves, and the human experience in order to discern and promote the common good.
We believe in:
- active and thoughtful examination of the past, present, and future of the world and our place in it;
- welcoming ideas and experiences that challenge us;
- sharing and celebrating a variety of perspectives and possibilities;
- scholarship and research and their role in humanistic inquiry;
- collaboration and partnerships, including outreach to diverse communities;
- broad access to educational and cultural opportunities across the state;
- taking risks and trying new approaches;
- embracing programming that is creative, enjoyable and compelling;
- providing programs and experiences of lasting value; and
- dynamic community engagement through actively listening, learning, and responding to our partners and the public.
In 1965 Congress enacted the National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities Act establishing the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The Act eventually led to the creation of 56 state and territorial humanities councils, each operating as independent, 501(c)(3) non-profits. Humanities Washington, formerly the Washington Commission for the Humanities, first received NEH funding in 1973.
Humanities Washington served solely as a grantmaking organization until 1984, when it launched its first program, Inquiring Mind (now called the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau), a roster of traveling historical and cultural experts. Since that time Humanities Washington has added other programs and initiatives such as Family Reading (1997-present), Traveling Exhibits (1999-2013), the Washington State Poet Laureate Program (2007-present), and Think & Drink (2012-Present).
In recent years, Humanities Washington has become much more responsive with its programs, giving audiences valuable opportunities to connect with one another to discuss current issues with the help of scholars who provide important background and context.