Ohio Humanities awards over $1M in grants to elevate diverse stories statewide

COLUMBUS, OH—Ohio Humanities has awarded $2.8M in COVID recovery grants statewide, including over $1M in grants to elevate diverse stories, BIPOC-led organizations and women-led organizations. Over $625,000 of that grant money is helping elevate Black voices, Black stories and Black-led organizations across the state.

“Ohio is filled with diverse stories and experiences, and Ohio Humanities is proud to leverage its grant-making resources to support organizations, projects and people that have been historically under-represented and under-funded,” said Ohio Humanities Executive Director Rebecca Brown Asmo.

Ohio Humanities is a nonprofit organization that shares stories to spark conversations and inspire ideas. It hosts programs and award grants that support storytellers statewide, from museums to journalists to documentary filmmakers.

With additional funding support from the state and national government in 2020, 2021 and for 2022, Ohio Humanities has been able to help over 100 humanities organizations stay afloat through the pandemic—40 focused on sharing diverse stories. And it has directed significant dollars to organizations sharing powerful and important stories about Black history, including:

  • Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum in Ashtabula, which celebrates the role played by its local citizens—especially William and Catherine Hubbard and their family—in the underground railroad movement
  • The Baseball Heritage Museum in Cleveland, which educates and entertains guests and schoolchildren with stories about diverse players in baseball and their impact on a sport so many love
  • Toledo Opera Association in Toledo, which in February 2022 will produce Blue—an opera recently awarded the prize for best new opera by the Music Critics Association of North America that tells the story of a Black family as they reckon with the impact of police violence in their lives
  • King Arts Complex in Columbus, which preserves, presents and fosters the contributions of African Americans through creative expression and education
  • Marion County Historical Society, which launched a project to track its Black history and culture across the arc of Civil Rights, Black Power and Marion County’s deindustrialization
  • Springfield Museum of Art, which is hosting an exhibition called BLACK LIFE as subject MATTER II, as well as community conversations about race that they hope provides a platform to discuss the isolated experience many Black community members have living in a small city in Ohio
  • Starfire Council of Greater Cincinnati, which runs The Black American Tree Project—a collaborative, participatory and immersive reconciliation performance and experience that explores slavery’s historical and current effects on housing, the medical-industrial complex, prison system, education and entertainment
  • Media Working Group in Cincinnati, which is producing “Love Thru Darkness,” a documentary project to share the history of Cincinnati’s West End, long the center of African American life in Cincinnati

“Ohio Humanities has truly given The Black American Tree Project a solid platform and a larger voice so that more people can experience it,” said Danyetta Najoli, lead community builder at Starfire and co-creator of The Black American Tree Project. “We are very grateful for their support, and we are so excited about developing the project, which is now in its third year.”

With its $2.8M in COVID recovery grants, Ohio Humanities has awarded over 230 grants to organizations across Ohio, from nonprofits in urban cores like Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus to nonprofits in smaller cities like Canton and Springfield to nonprofits in rural areas like Wooster and Appalachia.

Contact: Kiley Kinnard, Communications Manager