I’m writing to you with some good news and some not-so-good news. Let’s start with the good news.
To honor the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment in 2020, NJCH decided to offer a new set of programming through our Public Scholars Project (PSP), one of our humanities-to-go offerings. We recruited scholars from across New Jersey to provide programs for the new “Women’s Suffrage and Beyond” category, a selection of public discussions and presentations about women in public life. Our involvement as a partner of the statewide NJ Women Vote initiative in 2018 and 2019 helped us to connect with many organizations around the state, so we did anticipate a higher demand for programming in 2020, especially for Women’s Suffrage events, but the excitement has exceeded our expectations.
Each year, we set aside funding to subsidize nearly the entire cost for 200 public programs. The subsidies are awarded (90% of all cost associated with the PSP program) through an application system on first-come, first served basis. Because we anticipated that we would receive more requests in 2020, we budgeted to subsidize 250 programs. The good news is that the response has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re not even into the fourth month of applications for 2020 and 275 have already been booked! Half of those programs are from the “Women’s Suffrage and Beyond” choices. We’re delighted that so many organizations throughout the state value bringing free public programs to the communities they serve. We all benefit when libraries, community centers, congregations, and other nonprofits provide opportunities for their audiences to connect and explore significant topics that affect us all.
The bad news, however, is that, with eleven months remaining in 2020, we’ve already exhausted the funds that were budgeted (and we’ve now even gone over budget) for the PSP program. At this time, while we urgently seek additional funding, we are not accepting applications for programs. However, we are asking interested organizations to email firstname.lastname@example.org to join a PSP waiting list. If additional funding becomes available, then we will re-open the application and organizations on the wait list will be offered the subsidized programs first.
While it’s not-so-good news that our Public Scholars Project subsidies have all been booked, it’s great news that so many organizations in New Jersey are bringing interesting and inclusive events to the members of the communities. We’ll be working hard to secure funding for additional subsidized programs. I would also like to note that organizations can purchase a PSP program at cost, $500. We’re available to answer any questions, so please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re so proud to ensure access to the public humanities in New Jersey and to help the state celebrate the role of women in public life in this very important year. We couldn’t do it without you.