Arts, Culture, and Humanities


  • San Francisco, CA

Mission Statement

A non-profit serving the Bay Area since 1983, Humanities West explores history and celebrates the arts through time and across the globe, bringing you illuminating lectures and dynamic performances that focus on the people, places, and events that have shaped, and still inform, modern cultures. Humanities West is the only independent non-profit offering humanities and arts programs of this scale

Main Programs

  1. Multidisciplinary Lecture and Peformance Series
Service Areas



Based in San Francisco, serving the SF Bay Area, Northern California, greater California, Nevada, Oregon

ruling year


Executive Director/CEO


Patricia Lundberg Ph.D.

Associate Director


Cynthia Pham Gordon



multidisciplinary, arts, culture, humanities, performance, lectures

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Physical Address

57 Post Street #609

San Francisco, CA 94104


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Humanities Organizations (A70)

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?


Self-reported by organization

Humanities West is unique in presenting weekend lecture and performance series for the public, using a multidisciplinary approach in exploring history and celebrating the arts, with nationally known scholars and regional, often emerging, performers. On a shoestring budget, Humanities West has presented these highly rated weekends since 1983 to entertain and education our audiences, offering myriad related lectures and other events at various venues in San Francisco and the Bay Area, partnering widely with other arts organizations. In 2015 Humanities West embarked on a series of performance salons at various small venues for intimate performance and talk evenings. Humanities West strives to keep the humanities central to our lives in an environment that does not value them highly enough in our children's education, offering free tickets to students age 25 and under. Our audiences attract 400 paying patrons a day, as well as 100 or more students, at Marines' Memorial Theatre in San Francisco.


Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Multidisciplinary Lecture and Peformance Series

Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, 2008-09 Season:
Benjamin Franklin and the Invention of America, October 2008;
India Rising: Tradition Meets Modernity, February 2009; Confronting Napoleon: European Culture at the Crossroads, April 2009. 2009-10 Twenty-fifth Anniversary Season:
Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo: Redefining our Place in the Universe, October 2-3, 2009; Alexander/Alexandria: the Flowering of Hellenistic Culture, February 5-6, 2010;
2010-11 Season: The Florence of the Medici: Power, Politics, and Art in Renaissance Italy, April 30-May 1, 2010.

2010-11 Season: Venice, Queen of the Adriatic, October 22-23, 2010; Toledo: Multicultural Challenges of Medieval Spain, February 4-5, 2011; Minoan Crete: Dawn of European Civilization, April 29-30, 2011.

2011-12 Season: Notre Dame: Soul of Medieval Paris, November 4-5, 2011; China: Power & Glory of the Ming Dynasty, February 10-11, 2012; Pompeii & Herculaneum: Rediscovering Roman Art & Culture, April 27-28, 2012.

2012-13 Season at Marines' Memorial Theatre: Is Piracy the Second Oldest Profession?, September 16, 2012; Paris: American Expatriate Genius, October 19-20, 2012; Charles II: Phoenix of Restoration London, February 22-23, 2013; Bernini's Rome: Art and Architecture of the Baroque, April 26-27, 2013.

2013-14 30th Anniversary Season: Verdi's Masterwork: Opera and the Birth of Modern Italy, November 1-2, 2013; Constantinople and the Byzantine Millennium, February 28-March 1, 2014; Baghdad in Its Golden Age, April 25-26, 2014.

2014-15 Season: The Roman Republic, October 24-25, 2014; Charlemagne, February 27-28, 2015; Cultural Reverberations of The Great War, May 1-2, 2015.

2015-16 Season: Dawn of the Italian Renaissance, October 23-24, 2015; Shakespeare & Cervantes, February 26-27, 2016; The Celts: History, Culture, Legend, May 6-7, 2016.

2016-17 Season: Vienna on the Verge, Nov 4-5, 2016; The Vikings, Feb 24-25, 2017; Cleopatra: The Last Pharaoh, May 5-6, 2017.


Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served


Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)




Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    1. To continue presenting weekend lecture/performance seminars for the public, showcasing nationally prominent scholars and local performers;

    2. to continue presenting salons, lectures, book discussions, and other events related to our weekend lecture/performance series;

    3. to continue our recently inaugurated Salon series for chat and performance with high audience participation.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    1. Continue at Marines' Memorial Theatre through the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Seasons;
    2. Attract young audiences through our free-ticket scholarships for those 25 and younger;
    3. Continue to invite audience participation in the future-program planning process;
    4. Increase collaborations with corporate, university, and cultural association partners.
    5. Attract new patrons through our short programs, primarily Salons across the Bay Area.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Humanities West has a long history (since 1983) of achievement in presenting multidisciplinary arts and culture lecture/performance programs, with staff and board members serving over many years, and an extremely loyal core audience. It is unique in its scale, and has remained an independent 501c3 despite many stresses arts organizations have in attracting sufficient funding.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Achieving budgets across many years; hold reserves above $100,000 (a 6-month runway), achieved in 2014 and sustained annually.
    Setting goals for board diversity in age and color: now 3 of 17 are people of color and 4 are under 40. Increase those under 40 to 50% in 5 years.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    The 2013-14 budget projected a year-end cash balance of $86,000, which increased to the goal of $100,000 in June 2014. The June 30, 2015 year-end cash balance was $106,377 on revenue of $235,132 and expenses of $232,701. In 2014 Humanities West moved into new offices at Mechanics' Institute with a 5 year lease . (Humanities West has no other assets and no liabilities.) In 2016-17 Humanities West has set a goal to increase patron attendance by 20%. More than half of new patrons attend the evening Salon series.
Service Areas



Based in San Francisco, serving the SF Bay Area, Northern California, greater California, Nevada, Oregon

Additional Documents

Social Media

Funding Needs

Individual corporate contributions for audience development. Only 50% of our budget is covered by ticket sales. We offer free tickets to students 25 years old and younger, but it stresses the budget.

External Reviews


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Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.




Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director/CEO

Patricia Lundberg Ph.D.

Associate Director

Cynthia Pham Gordon


Executive Director Patricia Lundberg, PhD has been Professor of English and Women's Studies on the Indiana University Northwest faculty since 1989, and has served as Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, as well as interim Dean and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Now Professor Emerita, prior to joining Humanities West she served as Founding Executive Director of the Center for Regional Excellence and the Center for Cultural Discovery and Learning. Her doctorate is from Loyola University Chicago, where she also earned a BA Summa Cum Laude and a Masters in English. She is the recipient of several grants and awards and has post-doctoral training from Harvard in leadership. She has published a book, chapters, and articles on Lucas Malet, a British woman writer pivotal to our understanding of the tumultuous period spanning Victorian and Modernist eras. She serves on the boards of Humanities West, Ars Minerva, and the Marines' Memorial Theatre.


"Humanities West has been presenting multidisciplinary weekend lecture/performance seminars for the public for more than 31 years, inviting nationally known scholars and emerging and established performers to elaborate on historical themes. These programs on the many sources of our diverse cultures have a loyal audience that consistently rates the programs 3.75 and higher on a 4.0 scale. Each multidisciplinary weekend program presents lectures, performances, and discussions, on a Friday evening and all day Saturday. Beginning with the 2012-13 Season, HW moved from its longtime venue, Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, to the 564-seat Marines’ Memorial Theatre near Union Square in San Francisco, while the Herbst is closed for retrofitting over the next several years. Every two-day program includes a private group Presenters Dinner and Friends Luncheon, where donors in our audiences enjoy interacting with the presenters. Preview lectures, special programs, study guides, resources, and book discussions at various venues expand on program topics. HW invites students age 25 and younger to attend all programming free of charge through our Young Cultural Participants Project. Our electronic newsletters have about 2,600 subscribers. For more program and organizational details visit"



George Hammond

Attorney, Author

Term: Sept 2010 - Sept 2013


GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization



Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Race & Ethnicity
Sexual Orientation

We do not display sexual orientation information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
The Humanities West board skews older than 40, as does its patrons, with only 3 board members and one senior staffer under 40. HW has goals to diversify more fully in both age and race and for succession planning to sustain the organization another 30 years.