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Published December 14, 2020

Charlottesville—Today, Virginia Humanities announced a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to support community knowledge bearers and non-academy humanities experts across Virginia. This place-based, digital storytelling initiative will begin in Charlottesville, where Virginia Humanities is headquartered. Later phases will support the work of other Virginia communities.

The project seeks to “disrupt entrenched cultural narratives” by funding individuals who are stewarding their cultural heritage outside of mainstream institutions, and inviting them to share stories through existing Virginia Humanities programs, including Encyclopedia Virginia, Virginia Folklife, and the weekly nationally-broadcast radio program and podcast With Good Reason.

“We’re grateful for the Ford Foundation’s support,” says Justin Reid, director of Virginia Humanities’ Community Initiatives. “This grant will help us build new and better relationships with those Virginians on the frontlines of cultural placekeeping, and help us ensure the public humanities are truly public.”

The Charlottesville phase of the project will begin in early 2021.

Across eight decades, the Ford Foundation has invested in innovative ideas, visionary individuals, and frontline institutions advancing human dignity around the world.

About Virginia Humanities

Virginia Humanities is the state humanities council. We aim to tell the stories of all Virginians—or, better yet, find ways for people to tell their own stories. We want to connect Virginians with their history and culture and, in doing that, help bring us all a bit closer together. Virginia Humanities is headquartered in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia, but our work covers the Commonwealth. Founded in 1974, we are one of fifty-six organizations created by the National Endowment for the Humanities to make the humanities available to all Americans.

Vanessa Adkins, right, is apprenticing under her cousin Jessica Canaday Stewart learning the finer points of traditional Chickahominy dancing. Photos taken at the Fall Festival and Pow Wow in Charles City on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.

Our work brings people together and honors our shared humanity.

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