$1.1 million Mellon grant awarded to support Humanities 2020

February 12, 2019

Lake Forest College is pleased to announce a new $1.1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will link faculty, students, and Chicago-area institutional partners in efforts to understand the history and current status of race relations in Chicago and to create positive change in the city and the lives of its residents.

As the nation’s largest funder in arts and culture and of the humanities in higher education, The Mellon Foundation has made a number of grants to colleges to utilize the humanities to address major public issues and to build partnerships with their local communities.

Anna Trumbore Jones“We knew that we wanted to study and work on the issue of race as it has shaped the city of Chicago,” said Anna Jones, professor of history and Humanities 2020 project director. One of the nation’s most racially and culturally diverse cities, Chicago was founded by a Haitian, Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable, and became a destination for migrants and immigrants. However, alongside the cultural richness of Chicago’s diverse population have come economic inequality, racial discrimination, and other challenges. 

Lake Forest College faculty, aided by students, will work with prominent Chicago partners, including the Chicago History Museum, the Chicago Humanities Festival, the Heartland Alliance, the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Society of Architectural Historians, and Oakton Community College. Faculty and students will contribute to museum exhibits and summer institutes, bring their expertise to social justice work, and provide public programming through the Humanities 2020 project.

Davis Schneiderman“We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation, not only for the generous grant that builds upon our long engagement with Chicago through our Center for Chicago Programs, our In The Loop residential program, and our recently completed $800,000 Mellon-funded Digital Chicago grant, but also for pushing us to articulate the value that the humanities bring to the most vexed issues that face our country today,” said Krebs Provost and Dean of the Faculty Davis Schneiderman.

Humanities 2020 will build upon these prior successes. “We envision true collaborations with our partner institutions that will allow us to aid in the wonderful work they do,” said Jones. “Our students, meanwhile, will use the skills they are learning in the classroom and will see that the humanities are directly relevant for those who want to make change in the world.”