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Heath Award • Virgin Islands Humanities Council - Promoting Cultural Awareness Through The Humanities

VIHC Heath Award for Excellence in the Teaching of the Humanities

Established in 2003, the Heath Award recognizes the achievement of two public school teachers of grades K–12, one from the St. Thomas/St. John district and the other from the St. Croix district, who have exhibited outstanding ability and unfailing dedication to teaching the humanities. VIHC is seeking nominations from the public of teachers who exemplify this description.

Nomination Process

Please submit a nomination letter with the following information:

  • Please submit a nomination letter with the following information: Your name, mailing address and affiliation and relationship to nominee.
  • Teacher’s name, school address, grade level and academic discipline.
  • Describe your reasons for nominating this teacher; please be as specific as possible, highlighting the teacher’s achievement.
  • Send nomination letter to Virgin Islands Humanities Council by email to
  • An application will be sent to the teacher whom you nominated.
  • The Virgin Islands Humanities Council’s review committee will review all applications.
  • The winning nominee will be announced publicly.

Each winning nominee will receive a cash award of $1,000.00 and a commemorative plaque.

Humanities Education in the Schools

Although the Council does not generally fund projects that relate to classroom activities, it does have a commitment to strengthening humanities education in the schools. The following types of grants are designed to support humanities teaching:

Summer Institutes for Teachers

These institutes provide teachers with time and resources to reflect upon subjects on the humanities. Seminars last between one and four weeks depending on format, and are taught by scholars in the humanities.

Workshops for Humanities Teachers

Workshops for humanities teachers are generally offered as components of larger projects, such as public discussion and interpretive exhibit projects, or as part of research and publication projects which generate curriculum materials or introduce new source materials on VI history and culture.

Grants for Development of Curriculum Materials

The VIHC encourages the development of curriculum materials, particularly in the areas of V.I. history and cultural heritage. Materials may be developed as part of more complex humanities projects, such as a series of lectures and interpretive exhibits, or may be created to meet special classroom needs.

Teacher Incentive Program Grants

The Teacher Incentive Grant Program is a special grantline instituted by the Council to encourage teachers who want to improve courses, to develop new classes or teaching units, and to pilot model projects. This grant program carries an award of up to $750.

Special application forms and instructions for the teacher incentive grant program are available online.

Development of Source Materials - Publication Grants

One of the VIHC goals is to develop source materials that will provide a richer pool of information relating to the history and cultural heritage of the Virgin Islands. This grant category provides funding for research, oral history collection and transcription, translations, compilation of bibliographies, and publications. Public programming in connection with source development projects is required.


To use primary resource materials found in V.I. libraries, courthouses, private collections or off-island depositories for projects that focus on significant cultural themes in the Virgin Islands.

Oral History

To provide training in oral history techniques, tape-record and transcribe oral history interviews in programs that have well-defined objectives and focus on V.I. cultural themes.


To prepare for publication significant writings that pertain to the Virgin Islands. Final manuscripts must include research notes and annotations on people, places and events.


To provide an English version of foreign language materials relating to the cultural heritage of the Virgin Islands.


To prepare bibliographies relating to significant topics in Virgin Islands history and cultural heritage. This work may include organizing and cataloguing a significant collection of documents and resource materials.
* Supplemental instructions for grants for the development of source materials are available at the Council office.

Funding Guidelines

To be considered for funding, applicants must fulfill the following basic requirements:

Eligible Applicants

Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations, institutions or groups (whether or not formally incorporated or tax-exempt). Eligible applicants include (but are not limited to) civic groups, school boards, PTAs, teacher associations, service clubs, libraries, museums, historical societies, church groups, professional organizations, labor unions, public television and radio stations, divisions of the university and agencies of state and local government.

Humanities Focus

The content of the program is about history, literature, folklife studies, philosophy or another field of the humanities. The program does not only provide information but also engages participants in a thoughtful exchange about the values, ideas, or actions portrayed in the program.

Involvement of Humanities Scholars

VIHC likes to see the best historians, the most effective English professors, the most interesting archaeologists, or the most knowledgeable tradition bearers involved in the programs it funds. When the word "Scholar" is used in these guidelines, it refers to persons who have a high level of expertise or achievement in their subject.


VIHC prefers programs that involve adults in a study of the humanities or engage them in public discussions on civic issues from a humanities perspective. Special seminars or workshops should be offered to teachers on the primary and secondary levels, while youth should be invited to participate in a variety of cultural enrichment, literacy, and moral values programs.VIHC strongly encourages applicants to make their programs and materials accessible to the disabled.

Balance of Viewpoints

The programs are politically neutral. VIHC does not sponsor or support programs that advocate direct political or social action, although individual speakers may express opposing points of view.

Cost Sharing

The Council provides up to half of the total cost of approved projects. In order to qualify for a grant, an applicant must generate support at least equal in value to the amount requested from VIHC. For many sponsors, this requirement is met through cash contributions by their organization and from other sources, and through in-kind contributions of goods and services.

Third Party Gifts and Challenge Grants

Depending on the availability of federal funds, the Council challenges applicants to solicit gifts from third-party private sources by offering a match of up to 75% of the funds raised. Matching funds may be used as a supplement to an outright grant from the Council.

Funding Restrictions

The Humanities Council cannot provide support for:

  • Programs that are not based on the humanities
  • Programs that exclude other points of view
  • Research and writing unrelated to Council priorities
  • Travel to professional meetings
  • Work for academic credit or toward a formal degree
  • Performances in the arts, unless they are designed to generate dialogue between humanities scholars and the public
  • Permanent institutional staffing
  • Purchase of permanent equipment, building construction and restoration
  • Library or museum acquisitions, except for modest expenditures related to a program
  • Lobbying or partisan political activity
  • Food, alcoholic beverages, refreshments
  • Expenses incurred prior to the grant award date