An event Fresno Pacific University is planning to promote understanding in today’s oft-fractured society will get a boost from a grant from state and federal humanities agencies.

Funding has been provided by California Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for an $8,469 Recovery Grant planning grant. The grant will be used to design and develop, not specifically fund, an event tentatively set for March or April 2022.

The end goal is a public event rooted in the “Day of Common Learning” concept, where faculty, staff and students learn together outside the regular classroom schedule. The day’s activities—developed around the themes of peacemaking, social advocacy and reconciliation—will emphasize community learning, and include public lectures with nationally recognized experts in justice advocacy.

“We look forward to exploring ways we can stimulate conversations that will increase understanding and inspire people. Our goals include coming together in ways that recognize our diversity, help us overcome mistrust of others and embrace the practices of peacemaking,” said Ron Herms, Ph.D., dean of FPU’s School of Humanities, Religion & Social Sciences (HRSS).

Planning tasks to be funded by the grant will include an initial meeting, a weekend retreat-style brainstorming session with an outside consultant and a series of two follow-up working sessions to complete a strategic plan for this community event. The School of HRSS will take a leading role.

About California Humanities Recovery Grants

The primary purpose of the California Humanities Recovery Grants is to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from the coronavirus. This funding is meant to assist public humanities organizations and cultural institutions. The Recovery Grant program aims to strengthen the short- and long-term capacity of California-based humanities organizations. In recognition of the serious impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the ability of many public humanities providers to carry out their work, this program will direct funds for capacity-building project support that will enable applicants to meet the needs of their communities and respond to the current and long-term challenges.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations