In 2021, Oregon Humanities awarded a total of $714,000 in SHARP funding to 59 organizations across the state. Of that funding, we awarded $324,450 to organizations located in rural/frontier communities and $373,600 to organizations led by and serving Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. $400,413 of the funding supported staff salaries at awarded organizations.
Funding for these grants was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the NEH Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) initiative.
We are so proud of all that our SHARP grantees accomplished with this funding. Here are some highlights from organizations throughout Oregon:
Comunidad y Herencia Cultural
Comunidad y Herencia Cultural used SHARP funding to sustain and stabilize their work. It enabled them to fulfill their mission of serving Latinx families, youth, and culture bearers of color and to host programs that created pathways for intergenerational connections.
“We were able to fulfill our mission in supporting our Latinx culture bearers and create learning opportunities for our youth who otherwise have limited opportunities to see themselves represented in a positive light in our communities. We were also able to engage youth in school settings through visits from culture bearers, and we believe this work will have a lasting impact on our Latinx youth.” —Comunidad y Herencia Cultural
Chehalem Cultural Center
SHARP funding allowed Chehalem Cultural Center to restart essential programs that had been on pause during the pandemic and to create new programming, including an MLK day event and a Dia De Los Muertos community event.
“SHARP funding effectively subsidized our programming, helping us keep it accessible.” —Chehalem Cultural Center
Jim Pepper Native Arts Council
SHARP funding enabled Jim Pepper Native Arts Council to contract a group of professional educators from Southern Oregon University to create a culturally relevant Native American music education program for K-12 students called Speak/Sing NativeTM. They are working with the DOE Indian Education Office to expand the program and make it available to students throughout Oregon.
“Speak/Sing NativeTM is a 'music as medicine' strategy designed to give students reasons to want to come to class and stay in school.” —Jim Pepper Native Arts Council
Josephine County Historical Society
The funding from SHARP allowed Josephine County Historical Society to continue serving their community as both a museum and a research library.
“It gave the community hope during a dark time, to see we were still open. A light at the end of the tunnel.” —Josephine County Historical Society
Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center
Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center used SHARP funding to continue to expand during the pandemic. The grant supported programs and events that foster connection and educate the public on the history of Maxville, Oregon, and similar communities in the Pacific Northwest. For example, Hello Neighbor, a collaborative storytelling project, and the 2023 Centennial Celebration in Maxville.
“The impact SHARP funding provided has been significant in that it has provided a stabilizing effect during a time of great strides and change.” —Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center
Mid-Valley Literacy Center
SHARP enabled Mid-Valley Literacy Center (MVLC) to provide language and literacy programs to adults in low-income communities. MVLC was able to keep valuable staff employed, continue all of their language services through online programming, and partner with language and literacy tutors.
“If we had not received this grant then we would have sent some of our employees home and we would have stopped serving some of the most vulnerable clients who have no other option for language services.” —MLVC
Rural Organizing Project
Rural Organizing project (ROP) used SHARP funding to keep its community center open to refugee families in South Lane County during the pandemic and multiple climate disasters. The community center provides vital services and supplies and creates space for community conversations. In addition, the ROP hired a full-time Mam organizer who speaks Mam, Ki’che, Spanish, and English to expand community outreach.
“Many agencies in the area are now adapting their practices, reducing and eliminating exclusionary barriers, hiring Mam community members to expand outreach, and creating language-accessible programming.” —ROP
MediaRites used this grant to fund The-Ism Youth Files, a project which addresses the mental health struggles of BIPOC and disabled youth. It allowed them to work with a variety of artists, panelists, and consultants to host an in-person event at Curious Comedy Theater sharing work about mental health from youth writers and artists across the country and internationally.
“The support for staff and for the live presenters and panelists really made it possible for us to have a successful event that was well attended live in Portland but also live streamed to almost 200 people afterward.” —MediaRites
Art Center East
SHARP funding helped Art Center East (ACE) create more in-person and online humanities programs, events, and workshops. For example, they hosted a Dia de los Muertos exhibit and a storytelling event associated with National Public Lands Day. In addition, ACE was able to work to increase diversity among the people featured in their programming and provide free access to all events.
“Audiences for celebrations of art and literature gained a sense of shared culture while audiences for storytelling events felt engaged not only in the arts but in the role of the arts as part of community service—how we make our world a better place.” —ACE
Bridgeworks Oregon used SHARP funding to support an online humanities curriculum available in four correctional institutions across the state, despite travel restrictions and shutdowns due to the pandemic.
One program participant at Oregon State Penitentiary said, “All the hard work and dedication makes a big difference in my life and the many more unheard here at OSP and other institutions. I'm thankful."
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