Michigan Humanities is pleased to announce the awardees for the 2021 Michigan Humanities Awards. This year’s recipients come from Grand Rapids, Flint, and Vandalia.

“We are very pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Michigan Humanities Awards. These individuals and organizations are more than deserving of their awards and are doing such wonderful humanities work around Michigan,” said Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki, President & CEO of Michigan Humanities.

Awards are selected from three different categories, and nominations from all over the state of Michigan were submitted. A panel of current and former board members, MH staff, and Humanities professionals voted on the winners for each category. These are the categories and the winners:

Outstanding Humanities Organization

Winner: Underground Railroad Society of Cass County (URSCC)

Over the past ten years, the URSCC has worked to fulfill its mission to research and educate about the Underground Railroad in Cass County and to restore three UGRR related buildings as focal points for telling this compelling story. 400 people and an eight-member board have brought to life this critical story as a central juncture in the underground railroad.

Humanities Champion of the Year—Individual

Winner: Dr. Thomas Henthorn, Flint, and statewide scholar.

As a history educator, Dr. Henthorn impresses core humanities principles—understanding what is basically and inalienably human—by making sure his students learn from the community in which they live as well as the classroom. In addition to his work as a board member and consultant for local museums, Dr. Henthorn works across the state (in partnership with Michigan Humanities) to bring historical and cultural programming to a range of audiences.

Community Impact Partner of the Year 2020

Winner: The Diatribe, Grand Rapids

The Diatribe has an exceptional ability to touch people. They remain empathetic, compassionate, and fueled with the fire of change. They’re constantly evolving, finding the best way to reach more children and more people in oppressed situations with an incredible drive to make the world a better place.

Winner: Communities First, Inc., Flint

Communities First reached over 18,000 people in 2020 with safe, creative programming during the pandemic. These programs allowed individuals to feel connected to arts, culture, and one another. Their innovative Culture Shock program exposes families to unique humanities experiences, enhancing their quality of life.

Support for this program is generously provided by:

Maner Costerisan
Public Policy Associates
Detroit Public Library Foundation
Michigan Humanities Current and Emeritus Board Members