Missouri Humanities Council
415 S. 18th Street, Suite 100
St. Louis MO 63103
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (314) 781-9660
Mission Statement

To enrich lives and strengthen communities by connecting Missourians with the people, places, and ideas that shape our society.

CEO/Executive Director Mr. William S. Belko
Board Chair Mr. Adam Criblez
Board Chair Company Affiliation Southeast Missouri State University
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 enrich lives and strengthen communities by connecting Missourians with the people, places, and ideas that shape our society.

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 FY17: 

  1. The MHC Veterans Writing Program taught creative writing to veterans at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, the St. Louis Public Library, Olin Library at Drury University, and Kansas City Public Library. MHC also published the sixth anthology of writing by veterans and their families: Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors.
  2. Read from the Start: The Council’s flagship program since 1996, Read from the Start reached 1,638 families in FY17, encouraging and guiding parents of young children to begin reading early in life to foster a lifelong love of books and storytelling. Over 10,000 books were given away to participating attendees.
  3. MHC awarded $474,403 in grants and sponsorships to over 100 Missouri-based nonprofit organizations throughout the state. Collectively, these projects reached nearly 200,000 Missourians. 
  4. Three special initiatives, Pulitzer Prizes 100th Anniversary, Humanities and the Legacy of Race, and Civics Education tackled issues of contemporary relevance in journalism, race, and civics through panel discussions, traveling exhibits, and public programming offered free of charge throughout Missouri.
Goals for FY18: 
  1. Expand veterans programs to include new writing workshops exclusively for female veterans, led by female instructors.
  2. Establish public programming for the German Heritage Program, uncovering stories of two centuries of German-American migration and settlement along the Missouri River valley, extending from St. Louis city in the east to Lafayette County in the west (a 17-county, densely packed corridor). 
  3. Increase awareness of grant opportunities and program support by offering grantwriting workshops and cultural heritage workshops throughout the fiscal year in every state senate district.
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
The Missouri Humanities Council serves all 114 counties of the state of Missouri, including the independent city of St. Louis. The Council has offices in Kansas City, Springfield, and St. Louis, MO. 
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement


Read from the Start (RFTS) teaches parents and caregivers how to engage their young children with books, language, and storytelling. RFTS distributes seven free children's books to participating parents/guardians/caregivers and offers two, 90-minute workshops at each host location. This program is offered free of cost to all participants, with special care given to reach underserved 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. It is 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.
  • 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, Lisa Carrico (Director of Family and Veterans Programs) will collect and review all responses 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 reading The 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 offered a series of creative writing workshops at the Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri. These workshops provided an important outlet for veterans ready to tell their stories. And from these beginnings, MHC grew the program to include additional writing workshops for veterans at the St. Louis Public Library, the Springfield-Greene County Library, Olin Library at Drury University, and the Kansas City Public Library.
Each workshop consists of five, three-hour sessions led by professional writers over the course of five weeks. The success of MHC's Vetereran's Writing Workshops led to the publication of a yearly anthology of the collected writings of veterans and their families (poetry/fiction/memoir) from all across the county. 
Volume 6 of the anthology, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, was released in November 2017.
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 workshops across the state in a sustainable fashion.
  • Build a larger participant base for this program.
  • Attract more young veterans to this project.  
Program Success Monitored By

Success for our Veterans Programs will be measured by the continued demand for these services by veterans and their families across the state of Missouri. Sustainable and successful growth of this program will include a variety of partners in every city/town where writing workshops are offered.  

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."

Missouri has a rich cultural heritage and abundant natural scenery. MHC's heritage program will use this wealth to create a series of heritage corridors, areas, and trails across the state—integrating them into comprehensive, statewide heritage programs on topics such as: German Heritage, Native American Heritage, African American Heritage, Civil War Heritage, and Rural Heritage. 
Each heritage program will include a comprehensive inventory of its cultural resources, possible interpretation, and maintenance, as well as an interpretive plan to guide public programming. 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 MHC will build a coalition of partner organizations across the state to begin work on each heritage program. 
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 organizations, program partners, and advisory boards following throughout the planning stage of each heritage program.
Examples of Program Success Program success will be interpretive plans guiding public programming across the state in each of our five areas of interest. 
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.  

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 0
Compensation Last Year
Former CEOs
Mr. Jim Weidman -
Senior Staff
Title Development Director
Title Director of Public Relations
Title Director of Operations
Title Family Programs Director
Paid Full-Time Staff 11
Paid Part-Time Staff 1
Volunteers 112
Paid Contractors 0
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 2
Caucasian 8
Native American/American Indian 1
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 7
Male 4
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. Adam Criblez
Company Affiliation Southeast Missouri State University
Term Nov 2016 to Oct 2018
Board Members
Ms. Ina Anderson
Ms. Marci Bennett
Mr. Thomas Brandom
Mr. Adam Criblez Southeast Missouri State University
Ms. Faye Dant African American Life and History Museum
Ms. Laura Dierberg Ayers
Ms. Erica Doerhoff
Ms. Michelle Ducre
Ms. Susanne Evans
Ms Gloria Galanes
Mr. Tom Hershewe Dollar, Burns and Becker, LC
Mr. Justin Kalwei Platte County Prosecuting Attorney
Ms. Mary Kennedy
Mr. Randy Maness Maness & Miller
Ms. Margaret Mitz - Huffman
Ms. Dorinda Nicholson Community Volunteer
Ms. Pam Parsons Pam's Designs, LLC
Ms. Diana Reiter
Ms. Pamela Riggs Retired
Mr. John Robinson III
Ms. Vetta Sanders - Thompson
Mr. Blake Sherer
Mr. Marvin Silliman
Ms. Deborah Taffa
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 20
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 1
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 16
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
Standing Committees
Program / Program Planning
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Distributions / Grant Making
Board Development / Board Orientation
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Fiscal Year Start Nov 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End Oct 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $2,000,000
Projected Expenses $2,000,000
Audit Documents
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 10/31/2016, 2015, 2014: 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 Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$2,143,080$1,828,590$1,727,566
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,377$1,164$2,297
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$1,341,144$873,211$1,122,099
Administration Expense$149,397$132,552$293,709
Fundraising Expense$318,528$443,081$136,420
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.201.321.16
Program Expense/Total Expenses74%60%72%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue15%23%8%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$2,966,239$2,457,062$1,961,872
Current Assets$2,966,239$2,457,062$1,957,806
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$48,798
Current Liabilities$320,064$181,307$94,698
Total Net Assets$2,646,175$2,275,755$1,818,376
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities9.2713.5520.67
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%2%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Regional 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
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 and educational opportunities about Missouri history and culture
  • Offering creative writing programs that serve Missouri veterans and their families
  • Developing new heritage programs that will benefit organizations statewide with opportunities for public programming  
Organization Name Missouri Humanities Council
Address 415 S. 18th Street, Suite 100
St. Louis, MO 63103
Primary Phone (314) 781-9660
Contact Email mail@mohumanities.org
CEO/Executive Director Mr. William S. Belko
Board Chair Mr. Adam Criblez
Board Chair Company Affiliation Southeast Missouri State University
Year of Incorporation 1971