Back to news Grants

LEH Annual Fund Drive is ON!

Last fall I introduced many of you to Le Petit Prince, and asked that you come with us as we explored the whole, wide wonderful world of the humanities.  And while that’s still true today, this note may be a bit more direct.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”

It is what we ask ourselves daily, as we evolve our role within cultural and education communities, in light of the state’s ongoing budget crisis. We are a state as rich as any, in history and culture, and yet all too often our stories can’t be told, because there is no funding to pay the writers, the researchers, and the storytellers.  And tomorrow?  Well, tomorrow those stories might just be forgotten, and never to be told again.

For 45 years we’ve been telling those stories through a myriad of venues so that people in every corner of the state, nation and around the world could learn more about Louisiana. We have funded books, documentary films, and radio; we have supported festivals, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, lectures, library projects, and other humanities programming in every one of these 64 parishes. That’s fully 2,800 projects, programs, and grants that highlighted Louisiana’s best to local, national, and international audiences.

Today, the state’s budget situation is such that there simply is no extra money—whether it’s by LEH, our state’s universities, or through the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism—it just isn’t there.

And those stories still need to be told. They deserve to be told. “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

Louisiana Cultural Vistas, the LEH’s quarterly chronicle of the state, celebrated its 25th year and its 150th Press Club Award.  LCV and the online comprise a tandem effort to continue to tell Louisiana’s stories, to show the work of its artists, and to broadcast the performances of its musicians.  In addition to programs like the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, we collaborate with other organizations to provide support and expertise that enable them to produce top quality programs at a fraction of the cost that they would have otherwise incurred.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”

Education Week’s 2016 Quality Counts state review ranked Louisiana 48th in Students’ Chance for Success, 49th for K-12 achievement, and 46th in high school graduation rate (fewer than 3 out of 4 will graduate).

Louisiana’s graduating class of 2028 enters kindergarten this fall.  What transpires in those schools may well be the harbinger of the graduation ceremony twelve years hence.  All too often, children of low literacy parents enter kindergarten woefully behind their peers, and they never catch up.  LEH’s PRIME TIME programs provide pre-reading and enrichment activities based on best practices: surrounding young children with language and providing them with means to explore, construct, create, and imagine. They also provides parents with skills and confidence, to become active in their children’s educations. Last year alone, more than 3,000 Louisiana families and educators participated in literacy and teacher professional development.

In this year of budget cuts to culture and education, I now ask you, “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

I’m asking you to join our wonderful world of the humanities and support our innovative and effective cultural and education efforts.  Help us build on three-quarters of a million dollars in competitive federal grants, corporate and foundation partnerships that recognize that an educated work force benefits all of us. Join us, because together, ordinary people can accomplish the extraordinary.

To support LEH programming email Michael Boyle, Vice President of Institutional Advancement at [email protected] or call 504.620.2482. To discuss LEH programming, email Brian Boyles, Vice President and Director of Content, [email protected] or call 504.620.2632.