The CCH is an independent, not-for-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It makes grants to arts and humanities projects as well as managing its own slate of such projects. Its mission is "to enrich California's cultural life and strengthen communities through public use of the humanities."
Among its projects is the California Stories Initiative, an effort to collect and tell the unique immigrant histories of the state's diverse population. Included in this undertaking was the Fall 2002 statewide reading of John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the migration of Dust Bowl victims to California. Current projects include the California Documentary Project; the California Stories Fund; and Coming to California.
The CCH has budget of over $3 million for the 2003 fiscal year.
In addition to her administrative post at UCSB, Herrera-Sobek, an expert in Chicano literature and culture, is the Luis Leal Professor of Chicano Studies and a former chair of the Department of Chicano Studies. She joined the UCSB faculty in 1997 after serving 22 years on the faculty of the Spanish and Portuguese Department at UC Irvine.