Reports and Publications

The mural "Home," by artist Sentrock, with collaborating artists from Yollocalli Arts Reach. (Photo by Mercedes Zapata)

Home by Sentrock Chi Pub Art Group

Through grants, partnerships, and public programs, we have worked with groups of all sizes, disciplines, and stages of development to increase their local and statewide impact and support the state’s cultural ecosystem.

Read the organization's Strategic Plan and recent reports about the outcomes of COVID-19 relief grants and our regular grant-making programs to learn about our vision for the future of the public humanities in Illinois.

The Strategic Plan

Our unique role as the state’s champion for the humanities is more relevant — and urgent — than ever before. The plan that follows is a five-year road map that will take us through and beyond the announcement of our 50th anniversary in 2024 and set us on a strong path for our next 50 years.

Our Mission

Illinois Humanities is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that spark conversation, foster reflection, build community, and strengthen civic engagement for everyone in Illinois.

Our Values

  • Centering people’s experiences, histories, and cultures.
  • Actively promoting equity, uplifting diversity, and ensuring inclusion.
  • Making and protecting space for the exchange of challenging ideas, meaningful dialogue, and personal reflection.
  • Intentional, partner-centered relationships that build social capital and strengthen social cohesion, particularly for underserved and historically disenfranchised communities.

Our Strategy

Champion a statewide humanities ecosystem that makes Illinois more just, creative, and connected.

We will achieve this through a partner-centered, data-informed, values-aligned approach to delivering on our mission by creating programs to address timely issues, amplifying statewide public humanities programs and practitioners with support and visibility, connecting organizations with one another and across diverse sectors, and promoting the importance of the humanities for our state’s wellbeing. This will require investments that enable our organization to be financially sustainable and resilient.

View the Strategic Plan

History is Happening: The State of Humanities Organizations in Illinois During COVID-19

From 2020 to 2022, Illinois Humanities served as a critical safety net for humanities organizations in Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing just under $2.4 million in emergency relief funding to more than 350 nonprofit organizations across the state. 

Our new report, History is Happening: The State of Humanities Organizations in Illinois During COVID-19, illuminates the challenges these organizations face in mitigating the effects of the pandemic and, critically, the ways they leveraged the power of the humanities for the social and economic well-being of their communities.

Report findings show:

  • 60% of grantee partners serve communities that were under health and economic duress before the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Nearly a quarter of grantee partners provide programming in a zip code with more COVID cases than the statewide average.
  • Two in three grantee partners operate in areas without sufficient access to broadband internet.

As our state works to rebound from COVID-19, our data shows us that Illinois is positioned to build a thriving cultural ecosystem that can improve livability for all residents, especially for some of the most vulnerable. For a quick synopsis of the findings and background on the report and grant relief funding, read the Executive Summary.

Honey Pot Performance

(Photo courtesy of grantee partner Honey Pot Performance)

Funding & Support

Illinois Humanities COVID-19 relief grants were made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the federal CARES Act (2020), ARP Act (2021), with additional support from private foundations and the generosity of individual donors. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this report do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Lyon, Gabrielle, Mark Hallett, Martin Matusyuki Krause, Jenn Yoo, Joanne Hsu, and Karen Girolami Callam. History is Happening: The State of Humanities Organizations in Illinois during COVID-19. Chicago: Illinois Humanities, 2023. Copyright: April 2023. Illinois Humanities. All rights reserved. Permission is granted for non-commercial reproduction of this report, with attribution to Lyon, et al, Illinois Humanities, 2023.

Past COVID-19 Relief Funding Reports

RELEASED AUGUST 2022: On Wisdom and Vision Snapshot
This report covers the 254 grantee partners that received $1.4 million in COVID-19 emergency relief and recovery funding from us in 2021.

RELEASED MARCH 2021: On Wisdom and Vision
This report covers the 177 grantee partners that received $710,000 in COVID-19 emergency relief funding from us in 2020.

Watch the 2021 release of On Wisdom and Vision on our YouTube Channel

Map of COVID-19 Relief Grantees

Illinois Humanities awarded $2,352,500 through 490 relief and recovery grants to 359 unique organizations in 78 of our 102 counties and every congressional district.

Explore the interactive map of nonprofit humanities organizations across Illinois that received COVID-19 relief funding.


View the map

IH Grantee Partners Map 2022report

Impact Reports

Browse available reports and data from our years of grant-making in Illinois.

The Climate Economy Education

Grantee partner The Climate Economy Education, Inc.