From the Mountains to the Valley: Connecting Constituents to NEH Resources

Caitlin Green, a staff member in the Office of Congressional and White House Affairs at the NEH, wrote this post.

Washington, D.C. to California

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Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California. Driving on the way to the workshops at Cal State Fullerton & UC Riverside Palm Desert.

This past week, I put more than 400 miles on a ZipCar traveling through Southern California to give presentations on NEH grant opportunities to constituents of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA 46) and Congressman Raul Ruiz (CA 36). Congresswoman Sanchez and Congressman Ruiz hosted more than 200 individuals from non-profits, museums, school districts, colleges, historical societies, and libraries at Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside Palm Desert respectively. My colleague Liz Miller from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) also presented at each workshop on NEA grant opportunities.

Facebook (Ruiz)

Using social media, like Facebook, the workshops were easily advertised across the district.

At each presentation I walked constituents through the variety of grant opportunities the NEH offers, shared tips for writing a grant application, and offered examples of projects that have received NEH funding. Because Congressman Ruiz’s district is home to nine Native American tribes, I included examples of NEH-funded projects in which institutions collaborated with tribal organizations to preserve and share Native American history. Following each workshop, I answered constituents’ questions about their project ideas, specific grant programs, funding opportunities from Cal Humanities (NEH state affiliate), and general inquiries about our agency. Now back in D.C., I am still happily working with these constituents.

How can you host a workshop/webinar for your constituents?

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A full room listens as Congresswoman Sanchez kicks off her annual grants workshop.

Both workshops were made possible through collaborations among district staff, the host institutions, and me and my fellow presenters.  The district staff selected the date and the location, invited constituents, publicized the workshops (Congressman Ruiz’s was featured on the morning news in the Coachella Valley!), and coordinated logistics with presenters. My fellow speakers and I created presentations, coordinated our travel, sent materials, and helped with logistics and invitations. Congressman Ruiz’s workshop came together after only a month of preparation.

We at the NEH are always happy to help your constituents connect to resources and better understand our agency. Please contact me ( or 202-208-7122) about setting up a workshop or webinar (good for geographically large districts) for your constituents. We are able to tailor presentations to specific groups (college professors, museums, tribal organizations, etc.) and work with other agencies like the NEA, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and our state councils to provide a breadth of information. You may also connect individual constituents with us when they call you with questions about federal funding opportunities.