A private organization, the D.C. Community Humanities Council, has been organized to take advantage of the District's share of funds offered to every state annually by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Council hired Beatrice Hackett as interim executive director. She began work June 1 and will remain at least until Dec. 1, paid out of a $17,500 planning grant awarded to the Council by the Endowment.
The Humanities Endowment offers at least $200,000 a year to state humanities councils. Such councils exist in every state. The money received from the Endowment is subgranted to local scholars, museums, schools, libraries and other institutions involved in humanities projects.
The D.C. Council hopes to submit its application for fiscal year 1980 funds by August. If the Endowment's advisory body, the National Council on the Humanities, approves the application at its September meeting, the money could be available for D.C. humanities projects by Dec. 1.
The humanities councils, unlike the state arts councils, are private organizations. The D.C. Council was initiated when Humanities Endowment Chairman Joseph Duffey invited seven D.C. residents to form the nucleus of a local council. This group invited others to participate.
Currently the council consists of 13 members under the co-chairmanship of Delano L. Lewis, assistant vice president of the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. and Roderick French, director of George Washington University's Division of Experimental Programs.
According to French, the group hopes to expand to 20 members by September, including two members appointed by D.C. Mayor Marion Barry. Lewis was the chairman of Barry's transition team and is considered one of the mayor's close advisers.
The council plans to publish a brochure inviting community participation and to hold meetings in every ward and at local colleges discussing the purposes and potential of the council, adds French.
Other members of the council are Georgetown University Prof. Thomas L. Beauchamp; author Sophy Burnham; attorney William A. Davis Jr.; Center for Population Activities project associate Maria Otero Fletcher; University of the District of Columbia Profs. David L. Lewis and Richard H. King and associate Prof. Sylvia I. B. Hill; American University associate Prof. Kay Mussell; D.C. Gazette editor Sam Smith; Howard University assistant Prof. Cynthia Smith; and E. Ethelbert Miller, director of Howard University's Afro-American Resource Center.