Missouri Humanities Council
543 Hanley Industrial Court, Suite 201
St. Louis MO 63144-1905
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (314) 781-9660
Mission Statement

To create a more thoughtful, informed, and civil society by supporting and presenting humanities-based projects that serve and benefit the people of Missouri.

CEO/Executive Director Mr. William S. Belko
Board Chair Mr. Louis Riggs
Board Chair Company Affiliation Hannibal-LeGrange College
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1971
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement

To create a more thoughtful, informed, and civil society by supporting and presenting humanities-based projects that serve and benefit the people of Missouri.

Background Statement
The Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was created in 1971 under authorizing legislation from the U.S. Congress to serve as one of the 56 state and territorial humanities councils that are affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities.
MHC supports and presents humanities-based programs and projects that serve and benefit the people of Missouri, but MHC is NOT a state agency. Each year the organization seeks private funding from corporations, foundations, and individuals to sustain its educational and outreach programming.
MHC works to encourage family reading; to support local museums, libraries and other organizations promoting humanities education; and to facilitate interaction between humanities scholars and public audiences. MHC also strives to foster community pride and economic development opportunities through local exhibits, programs, and heritage tourism projects.
Impact Statement

Accomplishments from FY 14:

  1. The MHC Veterans’ Creative Writing Initiative continued to grow with workshops at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, readings at the St. Louis Public Library, and the publication of the third anthology of writing by veterans and their families.
  2. READ from the START: The Council’s flagship program continued to increase programs and participation in the Kansas City Area. This program reached 1,961 families in FY-2014, encouraging and guiding parents of young children to begin reading early in life to foster a lifelong love of books and an appreciation for the power of stories.
  3. MHC increased regional awareness through "Notable Missourians"—30-second spots broadcast on all PBS stations in Missouri over the past year. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt narrated the first two spots on historic Missourians, including: George Washington Carver, Molly Brown, and Walt Disney (among others).
  4. MHC expanded the re-granting program, which offers grants of up to $10,000 for Missouri-based organizations engaged in humanities-based programs or projects. The guidelines were updated to make awards available to even more organizations throughout the state, with an added 33% increase to the budget.
  5. Traveling Exhibitions: MHC offered another full year of touring throughout Missouri of a major traveling exhibition: A State Divided: The Civil War in Missouri, accompanied by “Civil War Stories,” a program for families that explores the Civil War through books and conversation.


Goals for FY 15:


  1. Expand veterans programs to include new writing workshops in Kansas City; reach rural communities via online systems; begin screen-writing workshops in partnership with the Division of Tourism’s Film Office.
  2. Establish and expand a "Heritage Tourism Initiative” to increase public programs, workshops, and travel along the Missouri German Heritage Corridor and the Highway 36 Corridor.
  3. Double the reach of current grant programs.


Needs Statement
  1. Funding for READ from the START
  2. Funding for Veterans Programming
  3. Funding for administrative expenses
  4. In-kind book donations
  5. In-kind exhibit space donations
Service Categories
Areas of Service
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

2015 Statement on Behalf of MHC: 

The Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) promotes humanities education, encourages family reading, and assists Missouri museums, libraries, and community organizations tell the important stories of Missourians past and present. We do this not only through statewide programs created and overseen by MHC staff, but also by supporting organizations and nonprofits throughout the state whose programs or projects advance the humanities in some capacity. 
In recent years, we have expanded our efforts to include economic development opportunities for underserved communities and direct outreach to Missouri veterans and their families. We are already seeing a tremendous impact on the lives of Missouri citizens through these programs and look forward to increasing this effect with several new initiatives in FY2015.
To do this, MHC must work to diversify its sources of support and to maximize its resources through partnerships and collaborations with groups such as:
  • The State Historical Society of Missouri 
  • The Warriors Arts Alliance 
  • The Veterans Administration 
  • Southeast Missouri State University
  • The Missouri History Museum
  • The Missouri Association of Museums and Archives 
  • The Springfield-Greene County Libraries
  • The Kansas City Public Library 
  • The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum 
  • And many, many more.
The Council is funded through a combination of federal funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, spending authority from the State of Missouri Humanities Trust Fund, grants and sponsorships from foundations and corporations, and donations from individuals. 
MHC is working diligently to broaden its base of support in the private sector (corporations, foundations, and individuals). With inevitable cutbacks in public funding, private support must be increased in the coming years for MHC to continue its important work.
We hope to find support and partnership in this endeavor through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. 

READ from the START (RFTS) teaches parents and caregivers how to engage their young children with books, language, and storytelling. RFTS distributes seven books to participating parents/guardians/caregivers and presents two, 90-minute workshops in a two-week span. This program is offered free of cost to all participants, with special care given to reach underserved/undereducated parents and caregivers.

Each workshop is led by MHC-certified discussion leaders trained to offer guidance in reading to small children in ways that engage the child's imagination and interest.


RFTS responds to the needs of an ever-increasing number of undereducated, poor, young (and often single) parents, many of whom do not own books.
Since it began in 1996, RFTS has grown into the program for which MHC is most widely known--highly acclaimed across Missouri by both parents and host organizations, including: libraries, Head Starts, Parents as Teachers, teen parent programs, women's shelters, and many others. 
Category Education, General/Other Literacy
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success
  • Parents learn how to create conversation and play activities that relate to the stories in children’s books.
  • Families receive a set of exemplary children’s books that serve a variety of developmental needs and represent a range of narrative and artistic approaches to storytelling.
Long-Term Success
  • Parents read and discuss books with their young children, discovering layers of subject matter within even the simplest children’s story.
  • Positive parenting skills are reinforced.
  • Participants share ideas and experiences with other parents.
  • Parents create positive experiences for their entire families
Children who are read to by parents participating in this program will learn to take pleasure in books and stories and enter school eager to learn and engage.
Program Success Monitored By

Measured performance is an important part of MHC’s commitment to maintain quality programming. To this end, an earnest attempt to qualify each experience we provide is essential.

For this program, evaluation surveys will be completed by:

  • parents/caregivers
  • site contacts (person representing host facility)
  • discussion leaders

Upon completion of those surveys, Julie Douglas (Family Programs Director) will collect and review them to ensure that the goals of this program are measured and met. Information contained in the surveys will be combined with program data and presented to the Board of Directors at the close of the fiscal year. Changes to future iterations of the program will rely on survey results as well as input from the Board and staff at MHC.

Examples of Program Success
“This is the best program I have ever attended. You better believe I’m going to keep reading to my kids on a regular basis.” ~parent

This is a great program to learn all the little things you would not normally think to do with a book while reading to your child. ~parent, New Florence

This was a wonderful experience for the teen moms in this program to learn about different types of books they can read to their children and to also take books home. ~teen parent, Hannibal

RFTSis a wonderful way to think about books and get into them. ~parent, Poplar Bluff

Everything was fun! It just lit my flame to keep burning with enthusiasm to read to children. I am expecting and I’ll start reading to my baby NOW!~mom-to-be, Kansas City

After readingThe Snowy Day, we told snow stories, too. Many realized they had never shared their wonderful stories with their own kids before. We thought books could serve as a good opportunity to share our stories. ~Discussion Leader

In August of 2011, MHC began offering a series of 90-minute creative writing workshops at the Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri. These workshops were/are led by a contingent of volunteer writers and poets from the St. Louis community and coordinated by Rita Reichert, an occupational therapist at Jefferson Barracks.
Following an evaluation of the pilot project in November 2011, the workshops were instituted as a regular part of the Occupational Therapy program at Jefferson Barracks and a second series of workshops began on February 2, 2012. It was the success of these workshops that inspired MHC and the Warriors Arts Alliance to publish an anthology of collected works from Veterans and Veterans’ families from all across the country. Volume 1 of the anthology, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, was released on Veterans’ Day 2012 to great success, winning the Stars and Flags Book Award Gold Medal.
This project continues to evolve with readings at public libraries and workshops across the state. Volume 3 was published in November 2014. Volume 4 will be published in November 2015.
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Publishing
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success

Quotes from participants illustrate short-term successes:

“Writing helps me see the good, bad, and ugly I am experiencing much clearer. It helps me to understand the intrusive thoughts, fear, anxieties, and flashbacks.” —Velma Bess 

“Words give us the strength to look at suffering objectively, so we may set it aside and out of us. Words become a focus and writing becomes something physical you can tear up and burn. Words help others to feel what you are feeling, so they can understand and be closer to you. They help you feel less alone.” —Jonathan Dyer 

“I want to leave something tangible behind ... I want to record my victories, my learning, my loves, and the places I was broken, those healed and not. What I want to leave behind is the unknown truth of me, a human as human as any other. I want to leave behind hope with the stories of how close I came to dying, how I endured, how I prevailed in all the unvarnished, inelegant beauty of it. I want to reassure you about me.” —Jay Harden.

Long-Term Success Expand workshop locations to at least three other sites around the state, continue the anthology to share the material with larger audiences.
Program Success Monitored By

Success for our Veterans Programming will be measured by the continued demand for these services by veterans and their families. From an organizational standpoint, MHC measures success by its ability to share this work—what is ultimately the first draft of history regarding the country’s most current conflicts—with the American public.

Examples of Program Success

Professor Lawrence E. Breeze, PhD and WWII Veteran, wrote the forward to Volume One of the anthology, capturing the importance of this work:

I submit that the most valuable reason for writing a war memoir comes from the personal, often therapeutic, benefits it can bring.

… we have fought our recent wars with all volunteer personnel. Some disconnection between much of the nation and those who choose to serve remains evident. In giving the veterans and their families a chance to speak to us, this book offers readers an opportunity to connect with these men and women who have chosen to serve under our flag and in the name of our nation. At the same time, these contributions offer quality reading and the history of each war represented here will be all the more complete because of them.

Description Missouri has a rich cultural heritage and abundant natural scenery. MHC's heritage tourism program will use this wealth to create a series of heritage corridors, areas, and trails across the state—integrating them into a comprehensive, statewide heritage tourism package that will bolster local economies. The program will offer each county a comprehensive inventory of its cultural resources, a plan for implementation, interpretation, and maintenance, and increased access to public and private funding sources. Extensive partnerships will help identify, interpret, and promote the cultural heritage assets of each county. 
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Cultural Heritage
Population Served US, ,
Short-Term Success By the end of its first year of operation, the Heritage Tourism program will have been employed by several hundred families along the Highway 36 Corridor and the German Heritage Corridor. 
Long-Term Success Missouri residents as well as national and international visitors to Missouri will gain a wider knowledge of Missouri's historical places, cultural assets, and geographic diversity through this program.
Program Success Monitored By Program success will be monitored by user-submitted feedback, as well as MHC surveys taken to local business following their region's induction into the local heritage packet. This content and survey information will be compiled by MHC and presented to the board of directors and the Missouri public in its annual report. 
Examples of Program Success An example of programmatic success in this project would include a Missouri family who has decided to stay local for their summer vacation. Instead of traveling out of state, they make use of the heritage tourism packet to pick a journey through a particular Missouri corridor. Not only will they stay, eat, and find entertainment locally, but through our packet's informative guide and recommendations, they will learn about and engage with their local history while simultaneously stimulating regional economies. 
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. William S. Belko
Term Start Jan 2015

The Board of Directors of MHC appointed William S. Belko (Steve) as its Executive Director, effective January 1, 2015. He replaced Interim Executive Director Jim Weidman, who has returned to his role as Development Director. 

Belko joined the Missouri Humanities Council in January 2015, relocating to his home state of Missouri from Florida, where he was a history professor at the University of West Florida. Belko holds a Ph. D. from Mississippi State University. He has published three books and numerous articles and chapters particular to early American studies.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start
Compensation Last Year
Former CEOs
Mr. Jim Weidman -
Senior Staff
Title Operations Manager
Title Family Programs Director
Title Development Director
Title Director of Education
Paid Full-Time Staff 11
Volunteers 112
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Louis Riggs
Company Affiliation Hannibal-LeGrange College
Term Nov 2014 to Oct 2016
Board Members
Mr. Adam Criblez Southeast Missouri State University
Ms. Faye Dant African American Life and History Museum
Ms. Debbie Depew Doctor of Osteopathy
Mr. Michael J. Devine
Ms. Kathlyn Fares Retired
Ms. Jenny Hayes
Mr. Tom Hershewe Dollar, Burns and Becker, LC
Mr. Gerald W. Jones Retired
Mr. Justin Kalwei Platte County Prosecuting Attorney
Ms. Carolyn Loraine County Commissioner, Lake of the Ozarks
Ms. Danielle MacCartney Webster University
Mr. Randy Maness Maness & Miller
Ms. Dorinda Nicholson Community Volunteer
Ms. Kathleen Nigro University of Missouri, St. Louis
Mr. Jerome Offord Jr.Lincoln University
Ms. Pam Parsons Pam's Designs, LLC
Mr. Matthew Pitzer Shelter Insurance
Ms. Pamela Riggs Retired
Mr. Louis Riggs Hannibal-LeGrange College
Ms. Lorraine Sandstrom Retired
Ms. Carol Bell Silvey
Mr. Alan Warne Community Volunteer
Ms. Nora Windmeyer Retired
Mr. Wayne Zade Westminster College
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 21
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 12
Female 12
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 65%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 3
Fiscal Year Start Nov 01, 2014
Fiscal Year End Oct 31, 2015
Projected Revenue $1,600,000
Projected Expenses $1,600,000
Endowment Value $17,840
Audit Documents
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 10/31/2014, 2013, 2012: Financial data reported from IRS Form 990. 
  • Foundation/Corporation revenue line may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$1,727,566$1,758,910$1,100,110
Individual Contributions--$0$0
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,297$1,662$1,052
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$1,122,099$978,948$810,318
Administration Expense$293,709$210,597$254,700
Fundraising Expense$136,420$133,957$120,871
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.161.410.98
Program Expense/Total Expenses72%74%68%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue8%7%10%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$1,961,872$1,686,620$1,127,275
Current Assets$1,957,806$1,673,415$1,103,489
Long-Term Liabilities$48,798$0$0
Current Liabilities$94,698$116,339$97,253
Total Net Assets$1,818,376$1,570,281$1,030,022
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities20.6714.3811.35
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets2%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountRegional Arts Commission $46,000 -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Organization Comments
With the inevitable decline in public funding, MHC is working diligently to broaden its base of support in the private sector to carry out its programming:
  • Awarding competitive grants to humanities-based programs and projects throughout the state of Missouri
  • Offering over 150 early childhood reading and literacy programs for low-income and at-risk families
  • Facilitating traveling exhibits relating to Missouri history
  • Offering creative writing programs that serve Missouri veterans and their families
  • Developing new technological initiatives that will foster economic development opportunities through heritage tourism 
Organization Name Missouri Humanities Council
Address 543 Hanley Industrial Court, Suite 201
St. Louis, MO 631441905
Primary Phone (314) 781-9660
Contact Email mail@mohumanities.org
CEO/Executive Director Mr. William S. Belko
Board Chair Mr. Louis Riggs
Board Chair Company Affiliation Hannibal-LeGrange College
Year of Incorporation 1971