The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center for Digital Research in the Humanities says nearly $430,000 has been given to date toward the challenge it accepted from the National Endowment for the Humanities to raise $1.5 million by 2015.
Earlier this year, the NEH announced it would provide UNL a five-year, $500,000 challenge grant if the university is able to secure $1.5 million in private support from alumni and friends.
Leadership gifts have been especially helpful in the success of the fundraising so far, including support from Helen and Richard Kelley of Omaha; Mable Musgrave of Denver; Katherine Walter of Lincoln and Sue and Larry Wood of Lincoln.
Once completed, the NEH grant and private donations will provide a $2 million permanently endowed fund to support some of the center's key programs. An internationally recognized leader in digital humanities research, the center is a joint initiative of UNL Libraries and the College of Arts and Sciences and is a UNL Program of Excellence.
"We're incredibly thankful to these alumni and friends for their gifts, which signal a belief in Nebraska's leadership in the area of digital research and scholarship," said Kenneth Price, co-director of the center and the Hillegass Professor of 19th-century American literature. "Their support provides momentum as we move forward with the challenge grant initiative."
Walter, chair of UNL Libraries' digital initiatives and collections, is co-director of the center and co-leader of the challenge grant initiative with Price.
NEH challenge grants help universities secure long-term improvements and support for humanities programs and often require a three-to-one match from the university. Over the next five years, the University of Nebraska Foundation, UNL Libraries and the College of Arts and Sciences will work together to raise the $1.5 million needed to receive the full $500,000.
The grant will support two graduate student assistantships annually, an ongoing two-year postdoctoral fellowship and the Nebraska Digital Workshop, the center's signature event. The workshop brings the nation's top early career digital humanities scholars to UNL to showcase their research, get feedback from senior faculty, and network with potential research partners and employers.
The center currently offers internships and fellowships as funding allows. A permanent endowment will enable the center to better serve and recruit promising scholars, Walter said.
When the challenge grant was announced in February, Chancellor Harvey Perlman said the university is determined to raise the private donations needed for the matching components. "UNL is a widely recognized leader in digital research and scholarship," he said. "This challenge grant represents an excellent opportunity to secure future funding to support the center's important work."
To learn more and to make a gift toward the challenge grant, contact Amber Antholz, Sunny Bellows or Josh Egley at the University of Nebraska Foundation at (402) 458-1100 or (800) 432-3216.
The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that has connected the dreams and passions of donors to the mission of the university for the past 75 years. In 2010, donors designated more than $136 million in gifts to scholarships, academic programs, medical research and other priorities at the university. The foundation's current $1.2 billion fundraising initiative, the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, concludes in 2014. For more information, visit http://nufoundation.org.