Indiana Humanities Awards 13 Nonprofits with more than $30,000 in Grants

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Schools, libraries and other organizations from Gary to Jeffersonville recently received Action Grants from Indiana Humanities for projects ranging from a conference on Native American war chiefs to a book-and-film discussion series about spies.

Action Grants offer up to $3,000 to support nonprofit organizations that sponsor public humanities programs such as exhibitions, workshops, lectures and reading and discussion programs. Applications for these grants are accepted throughout the year and reviewed on a monthly basis.

“Our Action Grants allow us to support valuable humanities programming across the entire state,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We’re always amazed at the creativity of our grant partners and their ability to leverage our investment to deliver meaningful programs that have impact.”

The following organizations received Action Grants from June through October 2019:

  • Tobias Leadership Center, Indianapolis
  • National Center for Great Lakes Native American Culture, Portland
  • University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne
  • Indiana’s Historic Pathways, Jasper
  • Clark County Museum, Jeffersonville
  • Girls Inc. of Johnson County, Franklin
  • Middlebury Community Public Library, Middlebury
  • Calumet Heritage Partnership, Gary
  • Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, Fort Wayne
  • Butler University, Indianapolis
  • Indianapolis Propylaeum, Indianapolis
  • Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, Indianapolis
  • Johnson County Public Library, Franklin

Here are descriptions of the projects:

Hazelett Forum Featuring Elaine Weiss

Tobias Leadership Center, Indianapolis

Awarded: $3,000

Timeline: Aug. 20, 2019

The Tobias Leadership Center hosted nationally renowned storyteller Elaine Weiss, who illuminated the final moments leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The event kicked off a series of yearlong programs celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage.

NCGLNAC 14th Annual Academic Conference

National Center for Great Lakes Native American Culture, Portland

Awarded: $2,418

Timeline: Nov. 9, 2019

The National Center for Great Lakes Native American Culture (NCGLNAC) will present its 14th annual academic conference, with the theme “Significant War Chiefs.” Academics and members of four Native American tribes (including the Lenni Lenape, the Pokagon band of Potawatomi and the Miami) will share the history of their historical war chiefs, with time for discussion after each presentation.

Electing Lincoln: A Presentation of Items from the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection

University of St. Francis, Fort Wayne

Awarded: $500

Timeline: Sept. 17, 2019

In celebration of Constitution Day, the University of St. Francis sponsored a presentation by Jane Gastineau, retiring Lincoln librarian for the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection. Gastineau highlighted items from the collection that are related to the elections of 1860 and 1864, explaining the items and what they tell us about those two history-making campaigns.

Great Gatsby Casino/Speakeasy Exhibit

Clark County Museum, Jeffersonville

Awarded: $3,000

Timeline: November 2019 through December 2020

The Clark County Museum will recognize the centennial of the Roaring Twenties with an exhibition that explores life during that era, including the darker side. The exhibition will focus on the speakeasies, casinos, nightclubs and other entertainment venues of Jeffersonville and surrounding areas and how they impacted Clark County residents.

Flights of Imagination: Introducing Bird Study, Bird Art and the History of Avian Conservation to Girls

Girls Inc. of Johnson County, Franklin

Awarded: $3,000

Timeline: October 2019 through May 2020

Girls Inc. of Johnson County will conduct a yearlong series of workshops that introduce young women to the study of birds, specifically in areas of art, music, literature and science. Led by ornithologists, environmental conservationists and professors of history, art and political science, the workshops will look deeply at humanity’s relationship to birds.

“Getting from Here to There” Teacher Workshop

Indiana’s Historic Pathways, Inc.

Awarded: $2,156

Timeline: Oct. 8, 2019

Indiana’s Historic Pathways, a National Scenic Byway focused on Indiana history, hosted an educators workshop on the Buffalo Trace, a historical path through southern Indiana carved by bison and used by Native Americans and early settlers. Workshop participants learned about the Buffalo Trace through scholarly lectures, lesson plans and a teacher panel about innovative classroom-learning ideas.

Fall Programming: Universe of Spies

Middlebury Community Public Library

Awarded: $2,200

Timeline: September–October 2019

The Middlebury Community Public Library will host several programs throughout the fall, all centered on a spy theme. Activities will include scholar-led book and film discussions, as well as a young-adult book club (through a collaboration with the local middle school) and a “spy camp” for the library’s youngest patrons.

The Spring at Small Farms Oral History Project

Calumet Heritage Partnership, Chicago/Gary

Awarded: $3,000

Timeline: September 2019–May 2020

The Calumet Heritage Partnership will conduct an oral history project about a historic artesian well in Gary and will work with IU South Bend to create an online archive. Project directors will also conduct a public program to share more about the history they collect.

Naptown Season One: A Memoir of the 20th Century in 20 Podcasts

Butler University, Indianapolis

Awarded: $2,000

Timeline: November 2019–May 2020

Butler University will produce a podcast hosted by English professor Susan Neville in conversation with journalist and novelist Dan Wakefield. The podcast will feature Wakefield’s writings as well as his reflections on the people and places he has encountered, including leading 20th-century figures such as Robert F. Kennedy, Adam Clayton Powell, William F. Buckley, Golda Meir and James Baldwin.

2019–2020 George R. Mather Sunday Lecture Series

Allen County–Fort Wayne Historical Society, Fort Wayne

Awarded: $2,000

Timeline: October 2019–June 2020

The Allen County–Fort Wayne Historical Society will present a series of free monthly lectures exploring arts and humanities subjects such as history, archaeology, religion, folklore and visual arts, as well as a number of topics within the broader field of social studies, including economics, political science and sociology.

Ain’t I a Woman? The Evolution of Women in Politics

Indianapolis Propylaeum, Indianapolis

Awarded: $2,500

Timeline: Nov. 7, 2019

The Indianapolis Propylaeum will host an evening of conversations and dinner. Through readings and facilitated discussions, participants will explore the issues of race and ethnicity that played out in the women’s movement, in an effort to understand new perspectives and build bridges.

Slaughterhouse-Five: Celebrating the Enduring Legacy of Vonnegut’s Masterpiece/Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library Grand Opening

Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, Indianapolis

Awarded: $2,000

Timeline: Nov. 9, 2019

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Slaughterhouse-Five (as well as the opening of its new museum space), the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library will present speakers and a panel discussion featuring historians, veterans’ advocates and artists exploring the novel’s legacy.

Authors at JCPL: A Visit with Tomi Adeyemi

Johnson County Public Library, Franklin

Awarded: $2,935

Timeline: Dec. 9, 2019

The Johnson County Public Library will bring bestselling teen author Tomi Adeyemi to Franklin to discuss her newest book, Children of Virtue and Vengeance.

In addition to holding a moderated conversation with the Nigerian-American writer about her work, the library will host Epiphany Dance Collective, a West African dance company that will further enhance cultural understanding through traditional drumming, chants, and dances.

For more information about Indiana Humanities grant programs, contact George Hanlin at 317-616-9784 or

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