Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Humanities?

The humanities are disciplines of thought and study central to the aspirations, values, and purposes of the people of this nation and are a means of uniting the past, the present, and the future. The Humanities encompass:

Comparative Religion

Architectural History
Political Science
Folklore and Folklife

Modern and Classical Languages
History, Criticism and Theory of Art

What is the role of the DHF?Thomas Jefferson by Matthew Harris Jouett

The Delaware Humanities Forum promotes the humanities by providing an assortment of resources to the people of Delaware. Our programs, which include grants to nonprofit organizations, educational outreach and special projects, are designed to bring the public together with humanities specialists. Our network links cultural, educational and civic institutions statewide, and focuses on issues of public interest and concern. Ultimately, our goal is to help our residents to learn about life and work by connecting them with other people, cultures and ideas.

How is the DHF organized?

The DHF is incorporated in Delaware as a 501 (C) (3) nonprofit organization and has operated since 1973. The Delaware Humanities Council, a 21-member board of directors, governs the Forum. A small staff serves the state from a Wilmington office.

Where does the DHF get its money?

Since its founding in 1973, the Delaware Humanities Forum has relied on a mix of non-profit federal, state, corporate, foundation and individual donations. The Forum is supported principally by an annual grant from the federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities, which mandates that funds go toward public humanities programming. The State of Delaware’s Grant-In-Aid contribution provides DHF with program support, used particularly towards the Visiting Scholars Program. Private contributions and investment income make up the rest of our funding. The DHF’s 2008 budget was nearly $625,000. In recent years the funding mix has been approximately as follows:

  • National Endowment for the Humanities – 75%
  • State of Delaware’s Grant-in-aid program – 11%
  • Contributions and investment income – 14%

How much of the DHF budget goes directly into programming?

The DHF divides its programs into two major categories: federal re-grants and in-house programs. See the following example of how DHF funds were spent in the year 2008:

  • 14% administration
  • 38% personnel
  • 48% directly on programs.

What are federal re-grants?

DHF peopleOne of our two major program categories consists of re-grants, funds we disperse to other nonprofit organizations in Delaware. Approximately $120,000 has been dispersed on an annual basis in recent years. As a major part of our overall mission, the DHF takes our re-granting responsibility very seriously. We are proud of making an assortment of programs available to Delaware’s citizens, including:

  • Films: ‘A Dream Deferred: Remembering the 1968 Occupation,’ ‘The 1962 Storm: Delaware’s Coastal Storm of the Century,’ ‘Dr. Eugene McGowen, Delaware’s first African-American school psychiatrist’
  • Delaware Silver
  • Democracy in East Asia
  • The First Annual Louis L. and J. Saunders Redding Lecture in the Humanities featuring John Hope Franklin, esteemed author and the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus in History
  • Italian Heritage Wall: The Immigration Experience
  • Pets in America
  • Pre Raphaelite Humanities Series
  • Quilts in a Material World
  • Romeo and Juliet: A Bridge to Literature for Adjudicated Youth
  • Self-guided audio tour of Milton, Delaware
  • We Sing Choruses in Public

What else does the DHF do?

The DHF will continue to perform this important re-granting distribution function as long as the National Endowment for the Humanities grants funds to each state, based on population. Twenty or thirty years ago, re-granting was our only function. However, for many years we have played other roles as well.

As part of our larger mission, we spend more each year on in-house projects sponsored and managed by DHF than we do on re-grants. In 2008, over $270,000 was invested in DHF sponsored programs. Examples of just a few of the wide variety of events sponsored by DHF follow.

Esteemed scholars are engaged each year for our popular Speakers Bureau Program, including Elizabeth Kolbert, Richard Norton Smith and Cicely Tyson

  • the Visiting Scholars Program is available to all Delaware schools, grades 1-12
  • assorted exhibits, like the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, Between Fences, and A Tale of Two Cities: Buenos Aires, a bi-lingual exhibit of poetry and photography about crisis and change in Latin America
  • cutting-edge programs such as our Literature and Medicine program, and our Green Humanities program
  • diverse lecture series