• Every day we read we learn. With New Books, New Readers discussions, I've learned how we develop an understanding of events from different times in history, even if we're not accustomed to talking about those times...Now I'm willing to start any book and have realized how much I can learn from books written about different time periods. Reading shouldn't be rushed. It should be for enjoyment, information, or appreciation of others' stories.

    -New Books, New Readers participant

  • We love attending Maine Humanities Council programs because they always get us thinking. They introduce us to different perspectives and ideas. We leave thinking "Wow, I had never thought of that before!"

    -Think & Drink participant

  • I feel I am more tolerant of "difficult patients"… patients are not their diseases, but people with complicated lives and stresses.

    -Literature & Medicine participant

  • I never imagined I could belong to a book club.

    -New Books, New Readers participant

  • Ever since 9/11, I have found myself hating all Muslims. I really do, and I don’t feel good about that. I want to do something to help me learn more about them and what is going on in the Middle East—I want to be more open minded and informed, and this is the first program like this I have heard about.

    -Muslim Journeys participant

  • I like expanding my mind.

    -Winter Weekend participant

  • In a time when library budgets are severely strained, MHC makes it possible to offer top-notch adult educational programming.

    -Library partner

  • The students love having their own book of literature to read and discuss. … Having successfully read an entire book, they are encouraged to read and more confident about reading on their own.

    -Letters About Literature teacher

  • This relatively simple concept of bringing people together to share in art has made a lasting and transformational impact to our small rural hospital and surrounding communities. To quote Henry David Thoreau, Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?

    -Literature & Medicine participant

  • The readings on domestic violence and abuse combined with the thorough discussion with the group really broadened my understanding of this topic and made me more comfortable discussing it and addressing it in the health care field. It helped remind me of how important our jobs are here in the hospital and made me feel more connected to others in the health care setting who are faced with difficult patient/family cases; it made me feel less alone.

    -Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative participant

More About

Annual Fund


The Annual Fund ensures security for all MHC programs, helping to provide a baseline budget that ensures our work has a statewide reach. This means that even in difficult economic times, programs will exist and serve the sites and people that need our programming most.

With additional Annual Fund as well as program-restricted funding, programs can grow, thereby increasing sites, audiences, and themes. But the baseline is crucial to ensure that programs exist at all. We offer over 500 programs annually, serving over 100,000 Mainers statewide.

More About

MHC Circle

A program officer’s connections and hard work have resulted in ten new organizational partners who are eager and enthusiastic to go. We’re able to fit our programming for them into our budget, as well as programming for core partners, and to continue to fund their programs in subsequent years, thanks to support from the MHC Circle.

The MHC’s major donor group (with gifts starting at $1,000) gives Council programming breadth and reach beyond its core. And these gifts each have a powerful impact: one MHC Circle gift of $1,000 can fund books to replace the damaged or out-of-date texts for 13 Let’s Talk About It library series, which are lent to participants over the course of years; a $2,500 gift can fund an entire New Books, New Readers series, including the scholar and books for 20 low-literacy adults.

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Restricted Giving

By restricting your gift, you can ensure that all of it goes toward the one program that you care about most. Some donors choose to do this to support MHC programming for teachers, and others for our adult literacy audiences. And others restrict their gifts to specific parts of programs, for example, texts: books for all of the low-literacy adult learners in a book group (often the first books participants have owned); or the readings for every participant in a Veterans Book Group.

Restricted gifts allow donors to choose precisely what programming they’d like to support. The MHC also offers an annual restricted giving opportunity for Winter Weekend sponsors who collectively fund multiple sites of our New Books, New Readers programming for low-literacy adults.

More About

The Dorothy Schwartz Opportunity Fund

The Dorothy Schwartz Opportunity Fund was created in 2006 at the retirement of the MHC’s legendary executive director Dorothy Schwartz. As a visionary leader with a visionary Board, Deedee made the Maine council a standout among other humanities councils in the nation. The Dorothy Schwartz Opportunity Fund has followed the 2006 Board’s intent of promoting strong, nimble programming, and every year seeks to help the Council to, in Deedee’s own words, “ride ahead of the crest of the wave.”

More About

The Constance H. Carlson Prize


The Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize honors an individual, institution, or group in recognition of exemplary contributions to public humanities in Maine. Constance H. Carlson, president of the University of Maine at Presque Isle (1980 – 1986) and dean of University College in Bangor, was the first female president of a University of Maine System campus. A founding member of the Maine Humanities Council in 1975, she served on the board until 1981.

The 2017 honoree is Gary Lawless.

More About

Planned Giving

Members of the Humanities Tomorrow Society are dedicated to the future of the MHC and make gifts through wills, estate plans, charitable trusts, or gift annuities. Planned giving like this allows MHC friends to make a much larger gift in the future than they could make during their lifetimes, and can help the MHC replace a lifetime’s annual support in perpetuity. The resulting tax benefits are one example of how this could help you and your family while supporting a cause about which you care deeply.

It’s amazing to think how small actions taken now can affect the future in a large way. Think of a powerful experience of the mind, for instance. Inspire this in a child through a teacher who makes history come alive and plants the skills to think critically about it, and that child will grow up realizing the importance of always thinking, an attitude that will be relevant in school, college, and future work situations. Programs that inspire such experiences require an investment. Making these investments in the future of Maine people is fundamental to the MHC’s work.

To discuss a planned gift, contact Diane Magras.

Ways of Giving

Gifts of Stock

Transferring stock shares to the MHC’s account is often an easy way to make a large gift.


To give in this way, follow these instructions or contact Diane Magras at (207) 773-5051, ext. 208.


A gift of cash can be a check or credit card number sent to the MHC address at the bottom of this page, a gift made by phoning (207) 773-5051, or by giving securely online. Gifts of cash are the most immediate way to support the MHC’s work.


Matching Gifts

Many companies offer matching gift programs that could increase your gift to the MHC, sometimes even doubling or tripling it. Contact your company to find out if it has a matching gift program.


For more information about making a gift to the Maine Humanities Council

Diane Magras,
Director of Development

(toll-free) 1-866-MEreader (1-866-637-3233) ext. 208
(local) 207/773-5051 ext. 208