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“What a joy it was to have Hal Stearns, an expert history teacher, come to a small school and community and show his wonderful feeling of love for Montana. Made everyone else fall in love with Montana too. His presentations brought Montana to life. Many schools would not have the financial ability to bring a speaker in, if it wasn’t for this grant opportunity. Keep doing what you are doing. Great job.” — Teacher in Manhattan, Montana

Humanities Montana receives messages like this every week.

We provide programs and grants to schools, museums, libraries, churches and many other Montana institutions at little or no cost focused on history, literature, Native American studies, philosophy, ethics and more. As the state’s nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, we strive to enrich the lives of all Montanans by fostering inquiry and stimulating civil and informed conversations about the human experience. We are especially committed to Montana’s youth, cultural organizations, and communities.

A recent report titled “The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences for a Vibrant, Competitive, and Secure Nation” makes the case in full for humanities education in all its forms: K-12 schools, colleges and universities of all types, and public humanities programs such as those offered by Humanities Montana. The humanities prepare well-rounded, thoughtful and civil citizens who contribute to our communities in a multitude of ways. Research shows that humanities education teaches critical thinking, communication, creativity, cross-cultural understanding, and collaboration.

The humanities are not a luxury—they are a necessity.

Governor Steve Bullock, himself a fine product of a humanities education, has observed of Heart of the Matter, “I welcome this report advocating for the study of humanities in our country. . . . Montanans will thrive in the twenty-first century with the skills and knowledge that a humanities education provides. And we will create a society that is innovative, competitive, and strong—equipping our kids to be leaders in an increasingly interconnected world. . . . You can be certain I will continue to support these humanities institutions through advocating for public and private funding.”

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Montana humanities are vital to our children, cultural organizations, and communities. We are better for having the opportunity to learn and reflect together. Support the humanities through your participation and generosity.

As a teacher from Helena wrote to us, “It is especially gratifying to welcome an experienced, retired member of our community to our classroom to share her many years of experience. I think it’s a superb way of maintaining the vitality of our aging citizens and make a link for our youth. Thanks for helping to make this opportunity available for our kids!”

To read the full report, go to humanitiescommission.org/_pdf/hss_report.pdf

Ken Egan is the executive director of Humanities Montana

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