Humanities Nebraska reacts to potential funding cuts

Published: Feb. 14, 2020 at 7:34 PM CST
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For the fourth year in a row President Trump is proposing budget cuts that would eliminate The National Endowment for the Humanities and The National Endowment for the Arts.

It’s funding is used across Nebraska from university research to speakers at the public library.

Humanities Nebraska is one of the biggest recipients of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In 2018 it made up over 40 percent of their entire budget with over $700,000 dollars in funds.

Their office located in downtown Lincoln only has about 10 people working in it but in fiscal year 2018 Humanities Nebraska reached over 320,000 people across the state.

“A lot of programs, grants and other activities with different cultural and educational partners,” said Chris Sommerich the executive director.

Sommerich says many times people only think of humanities as a class in school and not something they might do on a day to day basis.

“Go see a speaker at their library talking about some aspect of Nebraska history or they may go to a community conversation,” said Sommerich. “Go to a museum or an art gallery and view an exhibition and be a part of a talk afterwards.”

Proposed cuts have been coming since the nineties. That means the non-profit has learned to adapt the way it is funded.

“We raise private dollars, we have endowment funding through the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, a little bit of state money so we’ve diversified our funding pie chart,” said Sommerich.

Sommerich says support of the humanities and arts is something that seems to be pretty non-partisan and that going into budget debate in Congress they aren’t as worried as they have been in previous years.

“Very supportive across the political spectrum because they see the work happening on the ground in their communities,” said Sommerich.

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