Since 1971, Humanities Iowa (HI) has been the premier independent nonprofit organization in the state of Iowa focusing on the public humanities. Our original mandate allowed us to redistribute federal funds among the state’s nonprofits, but we have evolved far beyond this mandate over the decades. We now award grants not only to Iowa nonprofits but also to community partners throughout the state who produce probing, locally relevant programming. We also produce our own programs, including the Iowa Poet Laureate, with the support of nationwide organizations such as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. We are involved in exciting projects that include community roundtables, lectures and living history performances, barn restorations,  poetry and papermaking projects with military veterans, Afrofuturist Studies events, art books, inter-generational storytelling projects, magazines, and countless radio, television, and internet streaming programs.

It is in this spirit of innovation and exploration that we started this experiment of Humanities Iowa fifty years ago, and we are working everyday to ensure your Humanities Iowa will be around for the next fifty years, as we live and learn together as Iowans. As we look forward to the next fifty years, our work continues to evolve as we acknowledge and respond to the pandemic, the ongoing fight for racial equity and social justice, and the dynamism of our rural communities so iconic and important to our state. What does our evolving work  look like? Here are just a few examples:  

  • We are streamlining our grants application processes so that no individual or organization will feel dissuaded by what can sometimes feel like an overly complicated process of applying for grant money
  • We are constructing additional grants resources for fledgling nonprofits, including web tutorials and webinars.
  • We are increasing the number of Major Grants ($3,001 - $10,000, each) we award each year to attract smaller nonprofits who need help getting their programs up and running.
  • We are actively expanding both our Board of Directors and Speakers Bureau in order to achieve full complement of diverse leadership voicesWe are establishing new partnerships to develop deeper contributions to the digital humanities, while actively cultivating relationships in Iowa’s minority and rural communities

We hope you will join us in building a better Humanities Iowa for you and the future of Iowa. If you would like to get involved, we would love to have you join us—by attending our events with your family and friends, nominating individuals to the BOD and Speakers Bureau, and simply help spreading the word: Humanities Iowa is here for Iowa. And as always, you can contact us anytime at with your suggestions.