The Whiting Foundation has been committed to supporting the humanities since our inception.

We believe that scholarship in the humanities is crucial in pushing forward the boundaries of our knowledge and understanding of the world. We also believe that the content, habits, and skills of the humanities are vital to American public culture - never more so than in today's information-driven world. Among other benefits, engagement with the humanities provides a blueprint for full, informed participation in civic life in a pluralist democracy; teaches the habit of thinking deeply and broadly, ensuring that we ask questions about history and context when making important decisions; and develops skills that allow us to contribute more to a productive economy, including analytical thinking, facility with complex ideas, clear and persuasive communication, and evidence-based decision-making.
Following a strategic review to mark our fortieth anniversary, the Foundation is currently redesigning our grantmaking in this area. We are proud of the legacy of the former Whiting Dissertation Fellowship, but we recognize that the needs of the field have evolved. We have therefore been investigating new ways to advance our mission, which has led us to launch the Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship, a new signature humanities program for scholars pursuing public-facing projects, and make exploratory grants to a few broader efforts to make a place in the world for humanities research, teaching, and public engagement. 
Some of our related organizational grantees include:

Digital Public Library of America

An implementation grant to increase the usefulness of the DPLA's collections in formal and informal educational settings. The Library will develop and share primary source sets tied to national educational standards and under the guidance of a diverse group of education experts; they will also enhance users' ability to create their own content so that students and teachers can curate materials as part of the learning process. This grant extends Whiting's prior support that allowed the DPLA to explore how to better adapt their online resources to address educational needs at the secondary and college level and produce a report on the state of the field.

Humanities Action Lab

A grant to support the work of the 20-university Humanities Action Lab consortium, including the design, research, creation, and circulation of a physical and digital exhibit on the history of incarceration in America that will engage broad audiences in humanities-based dialogues; the development of replicable models for future projects of this kind based in the academy; and the establishment of an ongoing national graduate training program drawing on partnerships among faculty, students, and community organizations.


National Humanities Alliance Foundation

A grant to pilot a national network of Humanities Working Groups for Community Impact. This initiative will identify fifty communities, one in each state, and convene the local institutions of higher education with representatives of organizations such as humanities councils, museums, libraries, historical societies, and archives. These working groups will identify the key issues facing their local regions and states and explore ways that they can work together to address them to support the health of the humanities. The project will also produce a national database of successful humanities programming and advocacy strategies to facilitate formation of additional groups.

New York Council for the Humanities

A grant to extend the Council's successful Humanities Centers Initiative. In partnership with seven public and private universities across New York State and funders including Daniel and Joanna S. Rose and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this initiative supports humanities institutes, faculty, and graduate students in their commitment to public engagement. It provides fellowships for advanced graduate students, funds community partnership programs in collaboration with host institutions, and offers scholars training in effective public engagement. The Whiting Foundation’s grant will expand the program beyond its pilot phase and implement an innovative evaluation process to refine future iterations.


Mrs. Whiting was devoted to the Humanities in the broadest sense of the word. She was not only generous in giving them her financial support, but was always ready to volunteer her personal help as well in those fields where she had become a connoisseur. 




First President of the
Whiting Foundation


Teaching is an opening, an invitation to student engagement that begins from a series of questions. 




Whiting Teaching Fellow
Bates College, 2009-2010


In Shakespeare’s day, the people went to the theater for the same reasons we go to the doctor today. Audiences went to the Globe to see their problems acted out.  Seeing emotions carried to the extreme helped audiences find the proper limits for their own lives. 




Whiting Awards
Keynote Speaker, 2003