Advocating for the Humanities

Everyone in Missouri can help spread the message by sharing the importance of the humanities to you and your community.  Tell your state and local representatives about what humanities means to you. Here are some ways you can advocate for the humanities:

Call your elected officials.  Reach out to your State Legislators and the Lt. Governor in Jefferson City, MO.  Click here to find your legislator. Your statement doesn’t need to be long, and you don’t need to present a perfectly-crafted argument. Simply describe how a humanities program transformed, inspired, or enlightened you, and be sure to thank the officials for the funding that made that program possible.  Also reach out to your US Rep and US Senator to also share the importance of Humanities.

Email your State Legislator and/or Congress member.   Emails can also be a powerful way to communicate with your elected officials.  A handwritten letter is also another way to reach out to them.  The power of a handwritten message is even greater.  Do not use form letters, but talk from the heart.

Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers and magazines in support of humanities programs.

Create a buzz on social media. Follow your elected officials and tell them why humanities programming is important. Tag MO Humanities on Facebook and Twitter.

Provide MO Humanities with stories, testimonials, recent press, and other materials that demonstrate the impact of the humanities in your community.

Get Involved  Sign up for our email list to keep updated on news and opportunities to advocate.

If you have any questions about how you can advocate for the humanities, reach out to Executive Director, Ashley Beard-Fosnow or Director of Community Engagement, Chrissy Sommer

Sample Phone Scripts

BASIC Sample Script: “Hello! I’m a constituent from [CITY/TOWN] and I am calling to express my support for the Missouri Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. As a constituent, I hope that [REPRESENTATIVE/SENATOR] understands that public humanities programs like free discussion workshops and veterans and heritage programs are an important part of my community, and that [HE/SHE] will fight to preserve them. Thank you for your time.”

BUDGET (STATE) Sample Script: “As you and your colleagues discuss and work on the budget, I want to convey the important role that Missouri Humanities plays in our district.  Funded through the Nonresident Athletes and Entertainers Tax, Missouri Humanities awards grants, provides resources and creates programs that have enhanced the quality of life in my community. Cutting the humanities budget would significantly affect the quality of life in communities like ours. Help Missouri and our communities thrive by providing us with more resources—not fewer.”

Here are a few ways for you to personalize your story:

  • Tell your elected official why MO Humanities programming is important to you
  • Describe how MO Humanities-supported program or event had an impact on you or your community
  • Thank your elected official for funding that made your grant or program possible
  • Urge your elected official to support increased funding for MO Humanities

Sample Letter


The follow suggestion is for writing letters to your elected officials.

  • Keep your letter to one page and don’t use form letter.  Talk from your heart and experience.
  • Get your organization’s board chairperson and Executive Director to sign the letter.
  • Use specific information to describe your project and how it affects the community.
  • Describe whom the program/project will serve, emphasize its public benefits (e.g., promoting education, access for underserved communities, economic impact).
  • List private dollars your organization has raised to match of the any state grants you’ve received and describe how the state grant helped leverage these dollars

SAMPLE LETTER FROM A NON-PROFIT (example is for MH Budget Reduction)


The Honorable Jane Smith

House of Representatives/State Senate
State Capitol Building
Jefferson City, MO  65101

Dear Representative / Senator Smith:

I am writing to you regarding the Missouri Humanities’ (MH) budget. (My organization) received $________ last year (FY xx) which enabled us to __________.

This year (FY xx) the MH funding was cut by __ percent. This year, (My organization) will receive $_______ and we will have to _______________________. (examples: eliminate education programs, lay off staff, reduce hours, etc.)

(My organization) employs _____ people with an annual budget of approximately _______. State cultural funding through the MH helps support these jobs as well as enable us to provide (examples of critical services.)

The humanities are an essential economic, educational and social resource for Missouri.  State funding helps support ______ non-profit cultural jobs, and it generates $___ billion in statewide economic activity.

(My organization) would like to invite you to discuss this further and to publicly thank you for your support. I will contact you soon to arrange a meeting. Thank you for your consideration.



Cc: Ashley Beard-Fosnow, MH Executive Director /  Kyna Iman, MH Capitol Consultant

Here are a few ways for you to personalize your story:

  • Tell your elected official why MO Humanities programming is important to you
  • Describe how MO Humanities-supported program or event had an impact on you or your community
  • Thank your elected official for funding that made your grant or program possible
  • Urge your elected official to support increased funding for MO Humanities

MO Humanities Talking Points

• MO Humanities works to engage rural, urban, suburban communities, partners, audiences, and participants and to articulate new questions that matter to Missourians.

• MO Humanities focuses on connecting community members to each other and to the environment surrounding them.

• MO Humanities annually contributes significant time and funding to organizations doing public humanities programs around the state.

• MO Humanities has a mission of increasing access to lifelong learning opportunities, promoting active citizenship, and fostering a sense of self and community.

What impact do Councils make nationwide?

  • Councils stimulate local economies by investing in museums, libraries, festivals, and public programming that enrich communities’ quality of life.
  • Councils leverage more than $4 at the local level for every federal dollar they regrant.
  • Councils partner with over 8,800 organizations nationwide.

For more information about state council funding, see: The State Humanities Councils: An Investment in America’s Communities (2020)

A&E Tax

The humanities and arts make Missouri a better place to live, learn, work, visit, and do business. Missouri should seize the once in a generation opportunity to use both state and federal funds to restore the creative sector’s place as a key economic driver and to ensure that art, culture, and creativity are essential to Missouri’s future.


In 1994 the Missouri General Assembly passed SB 477, creating a dedicated revenue stream of state income taxes collected from nonresident members of professional athletic teams and nonresident entertainers for the Missouri Arts Council (MAC).

In 1998, the Missouri General Assembly passed SB 724, revising Missouri Statute 143.183 to increase distribution to MAC and added four additional cultural partners: The Missouri Humanities Council, Missouri Public Broadcasting, the Missouri State Library, and Missouri Historic Preservation.

The appropriation is as follows:

The Missouri Humanities Council relies on funding from this appropriation to support our community grants program as well as our family and veterans programs. To maintain these outreach efforts and create new education and heritage tourism opportunities in Missouri’s 114 counties and St. Louis City, we respectfully request the transfer of A&E funds to the Humanities Trust Fund.

Advocacy Tips

Check out your legislator’s website and social media to find more information about them. What awards have they received? What bills have they introduced? What committees do they serve on? This will be helpful to connect with your legislator and see how they are connected to the arts. 

Make sure your communication is clear, concise, and consistent. Reference the specific legislation by proper title and have a specific “ask” – be a closer!

Talk about how this issue affects you! Your legislators want to hear from you. Voting constituents from home are most important to legislators!


  • Before a committee hearing
  • Before a vote
  • While legislation is being drafted

Thank legislators for appropriating money to the Humanities. Educate legislators about humanities activities in their district. Give a face to the humanities in each legislator’s district.

Advocacy Timeline


December 1:




Late March:

Early May:


Mid September

First Day to File Legislation

First Day of Session – First Wednesday after First Monday

Governor’s State of the State Address – Governors’ Budget Projections delivered to legislators

Legislative Spring Break – Best to have any legislation out of one chamber and into other chamber for best chance to be signed into law.

MH Advocacy Day at the Capitol

Budget must be finalized and on Governor’s Desk one week before session ends.

End of Session – First Friday after Second Monday

Veto Session


MO Legislative Contact Information:

Legislative Look-up: &

Capitol Switchboard:  573-751-2000

For more information on the Legislative Process:

Advocacy Plan

Internal/External Messaging

  • All advocates (Board, staff and volunteers) need to stay on the same message. To avoid confusion, do not deviate from the main idea that you are pitching.
  • In communications with lawmakers, emphasize the following:
    • Information about how your work impacts their area
    • Reasons they should support your cause
    • Personal stories and examples
    • Specific asks


  • “Culture of Advocacy” (Year-Round) :
    • The goal is to get legislators to say the word ‘humanities’ as much as possible!
    • Personally invite local legislators to events in their community, tag them in social posts when appropriate
    • Create an outreach template for board member to use
      • Ask board members to think about their networks and how they can help
    • Staff and Board should utilize a blend of Grassroots and Grasstops advocacy
      • “Grasstops advocacy is when you focus narrowly on opinion leaders and folks who have connections to elected officials. For example, reaching out to the office-holder’s donors or leaders within their political party.” (definition from
      • Make your conversations with “grasstop” connections meaningful to them (“Hey, I think we both know So and So” or “We have this person in common”)
    • Reach out to elected officials well in advance of elections and advocacy days, so that they know who you are and what their constituents that support your work want
  • Four Months Prior to Advocacy Day:
    • Determine Advocacy Day format (visiting offices, reception, forum, briefing, etc.)
  • 90 Days Prior:
    • Post registration details online and alert invitees
    • Invite guest speakers to provide briefings, if applicable
    • Create an agenda, instructions, and solidify the issues you will be focusing on
  • 60 Days Prior:
    • Determine contents for participants folders
    • Draft press releases
    • Determine staff and volunteer roles
  • 45 to 30 Days Prior:
    • Draft talking points, leave behinds, and executive director letter
    • Begin making meeting request with legislators
    • Start recruiting volunteers
  • 15 Days Prior:
    • Final follow ups: Confirm meeting locations and contact any legislators that have not yet responded
  • 2 Days Prior:
    • Send press release to the media, if applicable
  • 5 Days After Advocacy Day:
    • Send thank you’s to legislators and participants
    • Write follow up article/post for social media
    • Send survey for participants to give feedback on the event