New Jersey Council for the Humanities
“I have peace of mind….”
The New Jersey Council for the Humanities partners with over 350 statewide and community organizations to harness the power of the humanities to strengthen a pluralistic society. The Council expands the traditional academic concept of the humanities – familiar disciplines such as history, literature and philosophy – to include public humanities which take these concepts out of the classroom to ensure that critical thinking and reflection are accessible to wide and diverse audiences. The humanities allow people to explore: history, to see the consequences of decisions, evaluate outcomes and build a better future; values, such as equity, loyalty and respect which govern our lives; culture, to allow us to see ourselves and our society more clearly; and beliefs, allowing us to see situations and ideas from other persons’ perspectives. As a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Council is a grantmaker, program provider, partner, convener, and innovator to enable public programs and humanities experiences that deepen our understanding of ourselves and our world.
“We’re not your typical nonprofit,” explains Carin Berkowitz, Executive Director, describing what she calls the Byzantine rules and policies of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the intricacies of being a grantmaker and partner with statewide organizations, that create a unique niche of financial reporting architecture. But when Berkowitz came to the Council in 2018 she found a ready expert in YPTC’s Clare Sciulli who had been working with the Council for several years and had had additional experience with Pennsylvania’s Council.
“I was already familiar with Your Part-Time Controller from my previous organization where we had brought YPTC in to deal with a challenging situation,” she recalls. “I felt lucky to come in here and inherit what I knew was going to be a very valuable relationship.
“We feel so fortunate to have Clare to work with: she’s the guarantee that we’ll never go astray,” Berkowitz says. “Having Clare come in once a month to work with anything that might be troubling us, to close out our books, and to develop information that makes sense to our board and staff is immensely helpful and a check on everything that we do. I have peace of mind and know that we’re not failing to catch something that we should be seeing.”
Sciulli works in an oversight capacity and has helped train in-house staff to become more comfortable working with the intricacies of NEH requirements. “The fact that she knows how to deal with all that makes her invaluable to us.”