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Africana Studies Public Humanities Initiative

June 30, 2018
$500,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant awarded to the Africana Studies Program at Lehigh University.
$12,987 raised
$12,013 to go
Project Deadline Passed Stamp

Established more than 20 years ago, Africana Studies opened a new chapter in 2011, when it became one of Lehigh’s first interdisciplinary academic clusters. The cluster approach brought together scholars and faculty in English, history, religion studies, theater, journalism, and art, architecture, and design. This investment in faculty yielded rapid growth for the Africana Studies program, which today draws hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students to the classroom, and thousands of students to programs, from across the university.

In December 2015, Lehigh’s Africana Studies program was awarded a prestigious $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency that funds high-quality research, education and public programs at colleges and universities, museums and other institutions across the United States. The three-to-one matching grant will require Lehigh to raise $1.5 million over the next five years and will culminate in a $2,000,000 endowment for Africana Studies. As we enter year three of the grant, we have met our incremental goals and raised over $500,000 toward the $1.5 million goal, yet there is still work to be done.

Africana Studies has developed a reputation for powerful and socially relevant public programming. Actively working with our community partners, including local high schools, churches and our local PBS affiliate Africana Studies is producing programs in the community that serve local students, leaders, and educators. Recent programming has included sports editor of The Nation magazine, David Zirin, the third annual Africana Studies Conference, and the development of a Rites of Passage Program for youth in the Lehigh Valley.

Your support of the Africana Studies Public Humanities Initiatives Program Endowment Fund will help to strengthen connections with community residents and partners by establishing a new Community Visions Program. The Program Endowment Fund will provide for forums, town halls, and public meetings about concerns that Africana Studies and the public can address together.

For any additional questions or if you are looking for ways to become more engaged, please contact Kelly Stazi, Director of Development, by phone or email.
(610) 758-2824 or

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