Dear Friend of NJCH,
At the New Jersey Council for the Humanities we take pride in our statewide work. Through meaningful conversations between neighbors at free public programs, collaborative grant projects that address real issues in New Jersey communities, and an ever-growing network of organizations that benefit from humanities-based perspectives, the Council’s influence can be described and identified in many ways.
Six months into my role as Executive Director at NJCH, the work of the Council has influenced me too, and in a way that I did not anticipate.
I’ve fallen in love. I’ve fallen in love with New Jersey.
I have discovered a state rich with culture and history. I have met many wonderful people traveling around the state and learned about its fierce localisms of municipalities and regions. I have stumbled across charming towns that I had never heard of and public libraries that are constantly shaping themselves to best meet the needs of their communities.
As I’ve ventured out to various libraries, community centers, and congregations to attend our Public Scholars Project programs, I’ve been touched by people’s kindness, delighted by the idiosyncrasies of small towns, and enamored with the quirky diversity of vibrant corners of big cities. I’ve been to programs spanning topics as disparate as the Supreme Court, whether children can see themselves in what they read, civil war photography, and suffrage. When the programs are in the evening, sometimes I bring my husband; he went to school in New Jersey, but now I am reintroducing him to parts of the state he never knew, many years later. I try to arrive early and eat dinner at a locally owned restaurant first, then stroll through my evening’s environs. I hope that others do the same, and that NJCH’s PSP talks become a night out for some—free programming that makes it easier to decide to go out for dinner first. For me, it has been those evenings when I’ve spent time wandering in a new town—eating at a family restaurant I’ve never been to before, listening to the conversations around me, chatting with attendees—when the charms of New Jersey become clearest.
It’s not a coincidence that my newfound appreciation for all things New Jersey is coming at a time when I am immersed in understanding the people, cultures, and communities of the state. Its humanities opportunities in particular position the state to be the best version of itself – a place of strong institutions and meaningful conversations.
Please consider a donation today as means of ensuring that New Jersey remains a vibrant home for culture and history and of continuing to strengthen our communities. Click here to donate via Paypal.
With thanks and best wishes,
Carin Berkowitz, Ph.D.
PS – Did you know that our NEH match requirement nearly doubled from last year to this year? Our funding obligations require us to have matching funds from individual donors, foundations, and other sources. Donate today; your tax-deductible contribution will help us meet our match requirements.