Today PA Humanities announced $2.25 million in funding to 24 organizations from across the Commonwealth that prioritize community-based humanities in their work. Called Wingspan, this new grant program is part of PA Humanities’ 50th anniversary celebration. Its mission is to help humanities organizations soar and expand their possibilities by providing them with financial support, amplifying their voices, and cultivating new space for creativity and connection.
The 24 grantees will make up two special learning cohorts: 12 which are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) led and serving BIPOC communities, 12 which are located in rural counties and center equity. Kicking off in January 2024, this Wingspan Learning Community will meet regularly to discuss topics like equitable access to the humanities, building belonging for new audiences, navigating the challenges of leadership, and how cultural work can provide spaces for residents to explore and better understand our ever-changing world.
“Wingspan builds on our community-based humanities work and participatory research confirming that BIPOC and rural organizations need greater access to resources,” said Laurie Zierer, executive director of PA Humanities. “This is another important step towards bringing greater equity to the humanities in Pennsylvania, helping these organizations to really spread their wings.”
Through Wingspan, PA Humanities is providing multi-year grants ranging in size from $50,000 to $100,000. This financial support can be used for programming, general operating expenses, marketing and communications, staff development, and capacity-building. A large part of the program is the Wingspan Learning Community where cohorts will meet regularly with advisors and consultants to share resources and learn together.
PA Humanities assembled a diverse team of 21 cultural professionals who reviewed a total of 129 applications for the highly competitive program. This was the first time PA Humanities prioritized BIPOC and rural communities in grantmaking – and as a result 73% of applicants were from BIPOC organizations and applications were received from 45 of the 48 rural communities in Pennsylvania.
The development of Wingspan was informed by adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy – and PA Humanities’ equity work and processes, which includes creating opportunities for collaboration and learning.
“When PA Humanities announced this grant opportunity, the 3 Dots team literally shouted in excitement, because Emergent Strategy has been at the center of conversations about our concept for an artists’ residency,” said Erica Quinn, executive director of 3 Dots Downtown in State College. “This grant will allow us to bring arts and humanities-based programming that has never before existed for the population of this region.”
Funding for Wingspan was provided by Spring Point Partners with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“We believe that equitable, community-rooted, and intergenerational learning experiences – including arts and humanities programming – are critical to the fabric of civil society and thriving communities,” said the Spring Point Partners team in a statement. “We are so excited to learn from and alongside PA Humanities and the 24 organizations working statewide to expand and strengthen these opportunities through Wingspan.”
To learn more about Wingspan, visit PAHumanities.org/Wingspan. A full list of grantees is below.
2023 Wingspan Grantees
3 Dots Downtown (Centre County)
Adams County Arts Council (Adams County)
Cambodian American Girls Empowering of CultureTrust Greater Phila (Philadelphia County)
Chester Cultural Arts and Technology Center (Delaware County)
Community Partnerships RC&D (Mifflin County)
Community Theater Project Corporation dba Kelly Strayhorn Theater (Allegheny County)
Crawford County Historical Society (Crawford County)
Friends of the Tanner House (Philadelphia County)
Indigenous Peoples’ Day Philly Inc. (Philadelphia County)
Jefferson County Historical Society (Jefferson County)
Keystone Oral Histories (Dauphin County)
Knoxville Public Library (Tioga County)
National Road Heritage Corridor (Fayette County)
¡Presente! Media (Philadelphia County)
Rainbow Serpent Inc. (Allegheny County)
Shamokin-Coal Township Public Library (Northumberland County)
Susquehanna Valley Mediation (Snyder County)
The Cooperage Project (Wayne County)
The Legacy Arts Project (Allegheny County)
Twelve Gates Arts (Philadelphia County)
Ujamaa Collective (Allegheny County)
Washington County Historical Society (Washington County)
World Affairs Council of Harrisburg (Dauphin County)
Wyoming County Cultural Center, Inc. (Wyoming County)