For over four decades, HUMANITAS has empowered writers with financial support and recognition to tell entertaining and enriching stories

HUMANITAS is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging writers who create contemporary media to use their immense power to:

  • Encourage viewers to truly explore what it means to be a human being.

  • Challenge viewers to take charge of their lives and use their freedom in a responsible way.

  • Motivate viewers to reach out in respect and compassion to all their brothers and sisters in the human family.

The annual HUMANITAS Prize award honors film and television writers whose work explores the human condition in a nuanced, meaningful way. HUMANITAS' programs, developed under the leadership of President Ali LeRoi and Executive Director Cathleen Young, empower the next generation of writers. NEW VOICES pairs selected up-and-coming writers with showrunner-mentors to work on a new television pilot, and PLAY LA selects new playwrights to work on new plays from the ground up.

How OUr story Began

One day in the summer of 1974, Fr. Ellwood "Bud" Kieser, C.S.P. went for a swim in the Pacific Ocean and “got a brilliant idea.” He realized he passionately wanted to change the television landscape. Fr. Bud felt broadcast television was not fulfilling its tremendous potential to both “entertain” and “uplift.” To put it simply, he wanted to encourage the entertainment industry to use the vast reach of the media to enhance the lives of its viewers.

“People aren’t born fulfilled human beings,” said Kieser, “They become fulfilled through a long humanizing process. Film and television have incredible power to help that humanizing process by which we all become more compassionate, more loving and more forgiving.”

Fr. Bud also strongly believed that film and television could play a pivotal role in communicating values, forming consciences and motivating human behavior. To that end, he built a broad-based coalition to create The HUMANITAS Prize which was founded to emphasize the role of the writer. He believed that, while film and television are collaborative mediums, the passion, intellect and point of view in the heart and mind of the writer is always the defining creative force.

Whatever we can do to empower, enrich and support writers, we should do because it is writers who show us where we’ve been and where we are going as a culture. And that is a journey we need to explore richly and deeply with writers leading the way.
— Fr. Bud Kieser