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Colorado Humanities

Humanities education is fundamental to democratic societies, and vital to a thriving Colorado. Our dynamic humanities programs stimulate informed civic dialogue, community engagement, and life-long learning. Thank you for donating today to support our work for collaborative learning in Colorado.

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General Information

Official Name
Colorado Humanities​​​​​​​
DBA/Trade Name(s)
Former Name(s)
(2006)Colorado Endowment for the Humanities
Date Established
Offers Additional Colorado State Tax Credit
Tax ID
Headquarters Address
Colorado Location
Mailing Address
7935 E. Prentice Ave., Suite 450
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Other Address
Main Phone Number
Fax Number
Other Phone Number
303-894-7951 x 11
Social Media Links

Mission Statement

Colorado Humanities seeks to inspire the exploration of ideas and appreciation of Colorado's diverse cultural heritage. Colorado Center for the Book, our reading and writing program department, has the further mission to foster a love of reading and books.

Recognizing that the humanities are at the core of education at all levels, we forge program partnerships throughout the state to promote excellence in humanities education through community programming.

Organization History

2020 and 2021 have been challenging years for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic and emerging variants have illustrated, in stark ways, the racial, social and economic inequality that exists in our communities. That's why Colorado Humanities is more important than ever. In our 47-year history we have offered programs in the State of Colorado that encourage learning about a wide range of people and ideas. Our programs are designed to reach Coloradoans statewide in diverse and underserved populations. As a long-time literacy tutor, one of the programs nearest and dearest to my heart is Motheread/Fatheread Colorado, which helps our children read better by implementing family reading practices and encouraging parents to engage with their children's learning. Our Veteran's Writing programs are designed to tap into creativity, relieve stress, and help veterans cope on an emotional level to return to civilian life. Our Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity program fosters difficult community conversations, and to inspire further thinking about solutions for equity. We also offer literary and historical programs such as the Colorado Book Awards, celebrating Colorado authors that I was delighted to host this year, and History Live Durango, which includes a month-long series of community events in collaboration with the Southwest Colorado Humanities Roundtable. Additionally, we are so fortunate to have the charismatic, award-winning poet and social activist, Bobby LeFebre, as our Colorado Poet Laureate, who uses his magic to excite and connect. In the coming year we look forward to bringing you engaging programs and special events, both live and online, that are designed to appeal to a wide variety of audiences and to showcase the range and depth of the humanities in Colorado.
-Taffy Lee, Board Chair

This year we are utilizing Colorado Sustaining Humanities American Rescue Plan (COSHARP) funding from the American Rescue Plan through the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide general operating support to help organizations throughout the state recover from economic hardships due to COVID. Organizations may use grant funds to support their capacity for continued implementation of public activities. We have awarded $725,114 to 79 organizations throughout the state. Decision-making considerations included geographic and cultural diversity, equity and inclusion, and reaching communities that currently or historically have been under-served with humanities programming.

Colorado Humanities, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was established in 1974, nine years after the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act was signed into law and the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) was founded. We are one of 56 humanities councils, and joined the Federation of State Humanities Councils when it was established in 1977. Our focus is to design and implement humanities programs, community conversations, resources, and other activities. We have forged hundreds of community partnerships, and have created more than 90 unique educational initiatives in our 47-year history. We reach an estimated 350,000 people each year as program partners, participants, and audiences. We are grateful for the generous contributions from businesses, foundations, and individuals that make our programming possible.

A sampling of our programming history follows:
In 1985, we presented our first community program, Jazz: From Roots to Fusion, and in 1987 we initiated our History Speakers Bureau. In 1989, we partnered with Havey Productions to produce a short documentary, "Five States of Colorado," and are working with HaveyPro again now on a 90-minute update of the film about the diverse nature of our state.

In 1990, we formed the Rocky Mountain Humanities Network with the Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming humanities councils to present a program called "Trails Through Time," which included an extensive traveling exhibit, the symposium "Trails: Toward a New Western History," and multiple publications. In 1991 at Shorter AME Church, we presented our Outstanding Achievement Award in the Humanities to the author of "There is a River," Prof. Vincent Harding; our guest speaker for the event was social historian Lerone Bennett, Jr. In 1993, we conducted our first K-12 program, the Traveling History Trunk, and, in 1996, launched Conversations 2000, a community discussion series on five topics, including "Defining American Identity."

In 2004, we merged with the Library of Congress-affiliated Colorado Center for the Book, which became our program department for reading and writing. We also initiated our early childhood and family literacy program Motheread/Fatheread Colorado that year, and in 2005 held our first annual Black History Live tour. In 2010, we began development of the online resource, Colorado Encyclopedia.

We frequently conduct listening tours, and in 2017 convened two-tiered roundtable discussions in 20 communities across Colorado. The tour confirmed Colorado's eagerness for high quality humanities programs that help bridge community divides, and informed our regular five-year assessment that helped us determine our major objectives for 2019-2023. They include embracing our cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity, learning about contemporary issues, providing inclusive arenas for discussion, developing and delivering humanities programs statewide, ensuring that our programs reflect Colorado's diverse and often competing narratives, and offering programs of particular interest and value to African American, Asian American, Latinx, and indigenous Coloradans.

Recognizing the pandemic's serious impact in Colorado, we directed funds we received in 2020 from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, through the National Endowment for the Humanities, to help meet the emergency needs of organizations and individuals working in the public humanities across the state. More than 200 requests were submitted, and we awarded 57 grants ranging from $500 to $15,000, a total disbursement of $435,984.

This year, we received additional funding to implement Colorado Sustaining Humanities American Rescue Plan (COSHARP) grants for general operating support to help organizations throughout the state recover from economic hardships due to COVID. Please feel free to share this information.

Also, as a result of coronavirus distancing restrictions, we successfully developed several of our programs for online delivery. We offered our 2020 Colorado Book Awards finalist readings and award celebration online, and were pleased to see a significantly greater audience reach. Recordings of these events on YouTube will continue to draw attention indefinitely. Its success prompted us to also offer Colorado Book Awards 2021 online amid continuing COVID concerns. We also offer Change in Rural Colorado, Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity, and Veterans Writing workshops online, and are developing online delivery for Black History Live 2022 and Young Chautauqua. High Plains Chautauqua, on hiatus in 2020 due to COVID, was a great online success in 2021.

Our programs:
Black History Live
Change in Rural Colorado
Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity
Colorado Book Awards
Colorado Center for the Book and History Speakers Bureaus
Colorado Encyclopedia
Colorado Poet Laureate
Democracy Labs
D.I.N.E. (Dinner, Ideas 'N Exchange)
The Five States of Colorado
High Plains Chautauqua
History Alive! Colorado West Chautauqua
History Alive Durango: Durango Chautauqua
Latinx Heritage Live
Motheread/Fatheread Colorado
Native Peoples
Talking About Dying
Veterans Writing
War Conversations
Young Chautauqua


"It was a great reminder that my own journey about race and equality is always evolving."
-Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity audience member

"The knowledge and experience of the panel members, the open dialogue on difficult issues, and the blend of personal experience and research on child development."
-Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity audience member

"Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity features really strong, informed, and energized experts on its panels. They are articulate, invested, and offer not only overview perspectives, but specific areas for action, applause, and further learning. Bravo."
-Audience member who has attended all CLoRE events to date

"I wish every educator in Colorado could experience Motheread/Fatheread Colorado. Parents and teachers could use these tools every day."
-Katie Narvaez, program coordinator for Raising a Reader, Glenwood Springs

"Motheread/Fatheread Colorado's training provided for a more intimate connection between myself and my child audience, gave me permission to be more intuitive with engagement and to see what my audience needs, and expanded my understanding of challenges faced by some caregivers for whom the habits of literacy may be foreign."
-Gail Yerbic, Regional Literacy Specialist, Western Region Colorado State Library

"The formation of the SouthWest Humanities Roundtable is a tribute to the work of Colorado Humanities. The group of people who participated in History Alive! demonstrated that disparate organizations can come together, remain unique, benefit from inexpensive joint marketing, and keep the Humanities alive and well."
-Shelley Walchak, Director Pine River Library

"Colorado Humanities has been a valued partner and strong supporter of the Museum of Western Colorado for many years, and has helped touch the lives of thousands of people. The organization has supported numerous exhibits and programs, all of which have given western Colorado residents greater appreciation for the humanities. Colorado Humanities is a wonderful partner for whom we are truly grateful."
-Mike Perry, former director, Museum of Western Colorado, Grand Junction

"Colorado Humanities is a great resource for our many partners here at Colorado Mesa University and District 51's Dual Immersion Academy. Colorado Humanities helped us broaden the perspectives of our community both at the university and the Mesa County School District."
-Thomas Acker, Hispanic Affairs Project Board President

"I love the veterans writing workshop. Does a fantastic job of encouraging all of us, and helping us become better writers. Great experience. Learning, and growing, a lot."
-Denver Veterans' Writing workshops participant

"I had an emotional response to the art of writing presented or completed in the Veterans Writing workshop. It allowed me to write about my military experience without fear of judgment/stigma, allowing me to put to paper thoughts that are in my head."
-Colorado Springs Veterans' Writing workshops participant

"Phenomenal program! 'Still Coming Home: Conversations About the Experience of War' fosters deep, respectful discussion of the difficulties veterans face when re-entering civilian life, and challenges us as a community to acknowledge and support veterans in our midst."
-Barbara Walter, Adult Services Librarian at Longmont Public Library

"In my travels around Colorado, I've heard from many teachers that the availability and access to resources on Colorado history, specifically ones written for elementary students, is limited. Colorado Encyclopedia's development of resource sets for elementary teachers is meeting an unprecedented demand from the field."
-Stephanie Hartman, PhD., Social Studies Content Specialist, Colorado Department of Education

"Colorado Humanities is a passionate proponent of readers of today and tomorrow."
-Brent Sampson, bestselling author and founder of Outskirts Press

"Through Colorado Humanities programming, I've done many author visits to schools and have found that it's incredibly rewarding to students, teachers, and parents in the community. The entire school community bonds together in preparation for the visit, and their excitement is palpable throughout the day of my visit. Students often tell me how my visit has sparked a new passion for reading books and even writing their own stories. It's especially rewarding for me when years later, students email me to say that my visit has had a lasting, even life-changing, impact on their relationship to literature. Many of the schools I visit serve populations of underprivileged and marginalized students, and they can't rely on PTO funds to pay for an author visit. These are the students who need Colorado Humanities programs the most."
-Laura Resau, Colorado author and Colorado Book Award winner

"Chautauqua concerns bridging the gap between humans, tribes, nations, races. Chautauqua unites us around ideas, and the major idea that I'm concerned with is democracy . Through Chautauqua, I can use my scholarly knowledge to bring a community together."
-Cultural anthropologist and professional Chautauqua scholar-performer Charles Everett Pace

"I so appreciate the Black History Live program ... student reaction is impressive."
-Teacher participant, Overland High School, Aurora

"Telling the story, the emotion that is conveyed through a live presentation of Black history is very effective. Informative, riveting, excellent."
-Black History Live audience member

"Young Chautauqua has given my sons experience researching history from multiple points of view. It has helped them stand out by developing their presentation skills which will help them later in life as they assume leadership roles that require them to step up in front of a group of people, communicate ideas to others, and appreciate the context in which different points of view are developed and articulated."
-Mesa County resident, Dave M ay of WealthSource Partner, the father of two YC student

"I am always astonished by the impact the Young Chautauqua program has on my students. It entertains, enlightens, and spurs students' interest in cultural history. This program has enhanced the learning in my classroom more than anything else."
-Brooke Tolmachoff, Social Studies Coordinator, Adams 12 School District

"Humanities education is a cornerstone of civic engagement. There are few agencies that have achieved the level of success that Colorado Humanities has in drawing diverse communities into a common, human experience."
-Hasan Davis, Living History Scholar/ Performer former Commissioner of Kentucky Juvenile Justice, and participant in Black History Live

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