ACLS Receives $8 Million from Mellon Foundation for Expanded Programming and Organizational Development


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the American Council of Learned Societies a grant of $8 million. The award reinforces ACLS’s leadership role in advancing the academic humanities, higher education, and the worldwide community of scholarship as it approaches the 2019 centennial of its founding. Four million dollars of the award will serve as a challenge grant, to be matched by $8 million from other sources.

“We are extremely grateful to our longtime partner The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for this extraordinary grant that will help position ACLS for a second century of advancing the humanities,” said Pauline Yu, ACLS president.  “Over the past two years, our board and staff have worked to articulate our future directions.  We have begun, and will continue, convening dialogues with scholars, learned society colleagues, and higher education leaders to examine how best to support humanistic scholarship in the 21st century.”

Since its founding in 1919, ACLS has provided the humanities and related social sciences with leadership, opportunities for innovation, and national and international representation.  The grant and matching funds will support growth in three priority areas.  First, ACLS will increase the scope of its prestigious fellowship programs, which currently award more than $18 million to humanities scholars in annual, peer-reviewed competitions.  Second, ACLS will pursue new initiatives to enhance research support for faculty at teaching-intensive institutions.  And third, the funds will allow ACLS to build capacity for program administration and analysis.

 “We are confident that generous donors will help us meet the challenge the Mellon Foundation has set before us,” said President Yu.  “That challenge is to sustain the vitality of the humanities in education and society.  Humanistic inquiry enables us to examine and interpret the meaning and values expressed in language, literature, art, music, science, and in our very history.  The rich understanding that is produced—of ourselves and of others—is as important now as it has ever been." 

All donations to ACLS, whether unrestricted or directed to a specific program, will be matched by the Mellon Foundation until the challenge is met.  Gifts may be made by visiting