ON Newsletter - Winter 2021


From the Director

What gives you hope right now?

For me, my heart feels lighter every time I see the humanities making real, positive change in people’s lives. And of course, because we’re humanities folks, every change we make starts with learning and reflection.

This past year, we have been doing some deep thinking about racial equity and inclusion in our service to Wisconsin and asking ourselves what racial equity really means. What does history have to teach us? Where are we today as an organization? How can we expand upon this conversation about equity? I would love to hear your thoughts as we work on promoting equity as part of our long-standing commitment to serving everyone in Wisconsin.

When it comes to being inclusive, I find hope in our Love Wisconsin storytelling project where a multiplicity of voices is lifted through first-person stories. I find it above all in the Love Wisconsin community that gathers around stories of people from the breadth of racial and ethnic backgrounds, occupations, geographies, languages, cultures, and beliefs that make up our beloved state — from Sid Cook, a 4th generation European American cheesemaker in West Point, to Yasmin Nur, a 1st generation Somali American college student in Green Bay.

In this issue of ON, I’m thrilled to share research about how Love Wisconsin is evoking empathy and creating community from our human diversity. It makes me particularly hopeful that despite the negativity that can occur in a digital space, we are meeting each other in such a positive way.

I hope it gives you hope to know the many ways that the Love Wisconsin project has touched, engaged, and connected hundreds of thousands of people over the years. And I hope that you, like me, are one of them!


P.S. If you don’t yet know about Love Wisconsin, you can read stories on the website, sign up to get stories via email, or join our amazing community on Facebook.

P.P.S. Have you seen the Love Wisconsin book? If you become a sustaining donor, we'd love to send you a copy as a thank you for your monthly gift of $10 or more. Donate here.

Dena Wortzel, Director


In this issue:

Winter 2021

Hope from Love Wisconsin

It was with huge excitement that three years ago Wisconsin Humanities partnered with Love Wisconsin, taking over the production of its digital storytelling platform from founders Brijetta (Jet) Hall Waller and Megan Monday. At the time, we saw the Love Wisconsin project succeeding at the very thing that they, and we, felt so urgently: the need to do whatever we could to connect Wisconsinites across our differences and to encourage empathy.

Read More ➞

Wisconsin Humanities has a brand-new podcast!

Have you ever wondered what happens after a project receives Wisconsin Humanities funding? What do ‘the humanities’ look like when real people get to work with an idea that impacts real communities in our state?


Recovery Grants keep history alive

During the onset of the pandemic, we moved quickly to offer rapid-response grants to help libraries, museums, and other nonprofits survive financial hardships. These WH CARES grants were followed by WH Recovery Grants this past summer.


Grants awarded across Wisconsin

WH’s year-round grantmaking for public humanities programs kept right on going in 2021. At the same time, our staff and board worked overtime to use federal American Recovery Plan funds to help organizations survive and bounce back from the pandemic.