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Partnership for Public Humanities

The Community History Development Fund (CHDF) has become the Partnership for Public Humanities (PPH).  The PPH provides financial support to nonprofit partners for public humanities projects. It is designed to encourage nonprofits to use humanities projects--those that engage the audience’s skills of inquiry, analysis, and reflection, and provide the historical and social contexts with which to do so--to strengthen work in their communities.  

PPH projects are opportunities to educate, build, and coalesce Tennessee communities around the issues that propel a nonprofit’s mission. Whether you’re sharing local history, cultivating participation in the arts, conserving a watershed, safeguarding your neighborhood, or developing the workforce, the humanities can herald creative solutions and community improvement.

Humanities Tennessee views the activities of PPH as incremental, ongoing support to the organizations that use it. Thus, interested organizations must become a partner of Humanities Tennessee for eligibility.

Eligible partners include:

  • Tennessee non-profits with a committed interest in using public humanities projects to further their missions, and that have an annual budget of $200,000 or less.
  • Current CHDF partners with a new or updated plan.

Becoming a partner:

  • Meet with PPH staff to discuss your ideas and goals, and determine if the PPH is right for your organization.
  • Test the waters by hosting a public humanities program with our support. Choose one of ours or develop one of your own.  Examples include:
  • many additional formats. What are your ideas?
  • Request support to develop a public program plan to guide your subsequent PPH activities.
  • Submit requests for support of project activities in fulfillment of your plan.

Current CHDF partners:

If your assessment plan was obtained less than five years ago, your partnership transfers to the PPH.  You may continue to request support for the public project goals in your plan as usual. For the remaining goals, however, we recommend that you consider the American Association of State & Local History’s (AASLH) Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs), a self-guided assessment tool.  Partners enrolled in StEPs may request support for consultation or workshops through the PPH, particularly needs related to Interpretation and Audience.  Visit the AASLH’s web site for details about StEPs.

View a list of our current partners.

Using the PPH:

The PPH is not a grant program and therefore does not require the submission of a grant application. Instead, partners must provide Humanities Tennessee with:

  1. a request form (available from our office);
  2. a copy of their program plan;
  3. a letter describing the project, the project expenditures, and how the project furthers the organization's goals as set forth in the program plan;
  4. additional supporting materials as necessary.

The PPH has no deadline; requests are considered on a first come, first serve basis, and for up to a maximum of $2,500 each. PPH requests are approved by a statewide Review Committee. Electronic submissions are strongly encouraged, and may expedite the review process.

Find out more with examples of possible PPH projects.

The PPH does not support:

  • advocacy or social action
  • projects for fundraising purposes
  • construction or restoration costs
  • the purchase of equipment
  • library or museum acquisitions
  • individuals, research or projects intended primarily for the scholarly community
  • academic courses for credit
  • performing arts as ends in themselves
  • food and beverage costs for audiences or alcoholic beverages
  • expenses incurred or paid before a request is approved by Humanities Tennessee
  • the ongoing activities of the partner

Contact Us

To learn more about the Partnership for Public Humanities or meet with our staff, please contact Melissa Davis, Director, Community History Program: or 615-770-0006, ext. 8016.

Stay Informed

Click here to sign up for "Public Humanities Matters," the quarterly e-newsletter of the Partnership for Public Humanities: