History and Mission
of the American Council for Polish Culture

View a 10 minute film about the ACPC

The American Council for Polish Culture, Inc. is a national non-profit, charitable, cultural and educational organization that serves as a network and body of national leadership among affiliated Polish-American cultural organizations throughout the United States. Founded in 1948, the Council currently represents the interests of some 21 affiliated organizations located in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Its oldest affiliated organization, the Polish Arts Club of Chicago, was established in 1928. Incorporated in the State of Illinois as a non-profit corporation, the Council holds tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational entity.

The Council also has a class of individual members, which together with subscribers to its quarterly publication, the Polish Heritage, now total nearly 250 in number. Additionally, the ACPC enjoys the support of 13 major Polish-American cultural organizations in 8 states and the District of Columbia. These supporting organizations do not participate in the constitutional proceedings of the Council but are prominent, esteemed cultural organizations which share in the goals of the Council while serving as part of the ACPC's network in an associate status and contributing financially. Children and grandchildren of every member are eligible to compete in the Council's several scholarship programs. The Council meets in annual convention at sites around the country usually sponsored by its affiliate organizations. In 1991, after the fall of communism, the Council held its first Council-sponsored convention in Poland and in 2002 convened in Krakow, Poland. Another Council-sponsored convention outside the US was held in 1997 in Toronto, Canada. The most recent Convention was sponsored in 2009 by the Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, CT. A Council-sponsored convention is scheduled for 2010 in Rapid City, SD with visits planned to the Crazy Horse Indian Museum.

The ACPC Board is comprised of five elected officers and 12 elected national Directors, as well as representatives from each of the Council's affiliates, past ACPC presidents, appointed and standing committee members. The Board meets twice each year outside of the context of the Annual Convention -- once in the Spring and again in the Fall at sites hosted by affiliate and supporting organizations.

The Polish Heritage, a quarterly review on cultural subjects of interest to the Polish-American community as well as reports on the current activities of the ACPC and its affiliate organizations, is published by the Council. This publication is distributed not only to members of the Council and its affiliated organizations, but also to its supporting organizations, universities, libraries and cultural organizations and embassies abroad. Some affiliated organizations follow a policy of mailing copies of the Polish Heritage to universities and colleges in their vicinities.

National/International projects include:

  • Successful fundraising to purchase a building and founding of the American Center of Polish Culture in Washington, DC., which was dedicated in 1992 and operates under the name Polish National Center.

  • Spearheaded national fundraising campaign for restoration of the Gen. Casimir Pulaski monument in Savannah, GA. With ACPC initiative, the human remains found under the monument, were officially accepted as Pulaski’s remains. ACPC representatives served on the Savannah committee which arranged for the public Reinterment ceremonies which took place in Oct. 2005 with participation of high ranking representatives of the Polish and United States governments, military guests, Revolutionary War re-enactors, Polonia groups and civic organizations.

  • Raised $50,000 in money and equipment in to establish in 1992 the first community computer center in Eastern Europe in an economically depressed region of Poland, the town of Siedlce, which continues to function to this day.

  • Presented an original sculpted plaque to the National Park Service at Harper’s Ferry in remembrance of the noted Polish poet, Cyprian Norwid, whose poetry included a poem in honor of the American Abolitionist, John Brown.
Over the years, the Council has won popular support from Polonians and Polish-American organizations across the country for its participation in the annual National Conference for the Social Studies. 1,000 or more educators from throughout the U.S attend this annual event. Our "Polish Perspectives" colorful, inviting and informative exhibit booths have proved to be so popular that this year, Nov. 13-15, 2009 we are expanding our display to two corner booths at the 89th Annual National Conference for the Social Studies with strong financial and material support from the Polonia. Additionally, for the first time at this national conference, the Council will not be just an exhibitor, but will also present before a live audience, a program entitled "World War II: Perspectives on Fear" (selected as presenters out of hundreds of applicants).

The Council sponsors a college student from its affiliate/supporting organizations each summer to study at a university in Poland with a grant of $2,000. It provides a $2,000 award for operatic voice achievement to Sembrich, and the winner is presented in concert at the Annual ACPC Convention. The ACPC also maintains an annual Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski Scholarships Family Trust. At least one $5,000 Pulaski scholarship award is offered annually to Polish-American students in advanced studies at universities in the US. Additionally, the Council administers the annual $1,000 Skalny Scholarships for Polish Studies in Memory of Louis and Nellie Skalny at universities in the US. These latter scholarships are funded by the Louis Skalny Foundation.

Some affiliated and supporting organizations of the Council are associated with universities and colleges in their local communities. Among the most developed relationships was the strong support in the establishment of a permanent Polish Studies Chair at Central Connecticut State University by the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford. The Polish Heritage Society of Rochester, NY. plays a prominent role in the programs at the Eastern European Studies Center established at the University of Rochester by the Louis Skalny Foundation. The Friends of Polish Art of Detroit MI. has been involved for years with the annual Youth and Kubienski Art Competitions held at the Galeria (Art Museum), which is located on the campus of the Orchard Lake Schools.

The affiliated organizations of the Council create a natural, nation-wide network of organizations committed to furthering the cause of Polish language, art, history, and cultural involvement and awareness. The organizations frequently cooperate in sponsoring tours for lecturers, authors and visiting dignitaries from Poland. They also conduct extensive sales campaigns for books of relevant topics. Recent emphasis on the part of the Council and its affiliates has been in the area of winning the support and cooperation of youth groups, particularly Polish-American student organizations on university/college campuses. A prominent key activity has been the sponsorship of an annual weeklong Youth Leadership Conference (YLC) in Washington, DC for college students interested in civic and political activism and leadership. This is subsidized in large measure through an endowment fund and Polonia contributions. In June 2010, the YLC will hold its 14th Annual Youth Leadership Conference. The program has won high praise from the student participants as well as Polonian leaders and organizations in the US.

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Rev. 06.01.2011