NOVEMBER/DECEMBER SPOTLIGHT: RASMUSON FOUNDATION

For the months of November & December, GIA’s photo banner features a selection of artists and projects funded by Rasmuson Foundation. The foundation was founded in 1955 with a mission to promote a better life for Alaskans. In 2014, it awarded more than $14 million in grants to programs and organizations that serve Alaskans, including those that promote and preserve Alaska's rich arts and cultural offerings. Learn more about the foundation here.

Posted on November 20, 2014 by Steve

From the editorial page of The Boston Globe:

Despite the boilerplate campaign rhetoric of “I support the arts!,” when hard times hit, and austerity is called for, arts are the first thing to go. Nowhere is that more evident than in the budget for the Massachusetts Cultural Council — the state agency charged with supporting artists and arts organizations — where the funding dropped by more than half, from $27 million in 1988 to $12 million in 2014. Recently, the dial has begun to move in the other direction. The Legislature opposed further cuts to the council’s budget in 2014 by actually giving it a slight increase. And Governor Deval Patrick tripled the Cultural Facilities Fund — which supports the maintenance and repair of arts venues — from $5 million to $15 million. Meanwhile, it would be nice to get the council’s budget up to at least what it was 10 years ago.
Posted on November 19, 2014 by Steve

Aroha Philanthropies prepared this video to advocate for the arts as a means for a more fulfilling and vital aging process.

Posted on November 19, 2014 by SuJ'n

Inside Philanthropy shares a blog post by Doug Stamm, CEO of Meyer Memorial Trust Fund, on his journey from being comfortable with his "socially liberal bona fides" to meaningfully involving himself and the foundation with the struggle for racial equity. The article goes on to provide resources to help other foundations get started, or get deeper in, integrating racial equity lenses in their work - including Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity's volume of articles entitled Moving Forward on Racial Justice Philanthropy released this summer. 

Posted on November 18, 2014 by Steve

Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, writing for Detroit Free Press:

This past June, I found myself sitting, awestruck, in the Rivera Court of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The court is named after Rivera for his breathtaking “Detroit Industry” frescoes that line the walls — a gift from Edsel Ford to the people of Detroit back in 1932.
Posted on November 17, 2014 by SuJ'n

Foundation Source released a new report, Trends in Private Foundation Investment, on Friday showing that private foundations have overall experienced a strong recovery (up 48%) in asset balances since 2008. The report also finds that endowment gains differ between mid-sized to large foundations ($10M+) and smaller foundations (less than $1M). Assets of the larger foundations showed strong gains while small foundations' assets remained flat likely due to differing distribution behaviors.

Posted on November 17, 2014 by Steve

GuideStar has a new post on its blog from Bo Garner, a CPA on the Not-for-Profit team at PBMares, LLP on the subject of simplifying financial statements. Reading it reminds us of the excellent Web Conference presented back in April of 2011 by Rodney Christopher of Nonprofit Finance Fund.

Posted on November 17, 2014 by Steve

Arlene Goldbard starts an ARTSblog salon on the topic of the aesthetics of social justice art:

The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers. — James Baldwin

Baldwin’s epigram reminds us that to thrive, we must be able to see through imposed realities and prefab solutions. We may be tempted to seek definitive answers, but what we really need now is to live into the questions.

Posted on November 11, 2014 by SuJ'n

Combining data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) Creative Class County Codes and the Census Bureau's 2007-11 American Community Survey, Tim Wojan of the USDA ERS reports comparative data on the economic resilience of creative class workers in metro vs. non-metro counties.

From Wojan:

Creative class counties were more likely to be classified as resilient than their non-creative class peers. That is, a higher share of creative class counties gained employment in recovery after losing employment in recession. However, the percentage of metro counties classified as resilient was higher than the percentage of nonmetro counties, irrespective of creative class status.

Posted on November 11, 2014 by Steve

From Drew Lindsay, writing for The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

A federal bankruptcy judge (last week) approved a financial reorganization plan for Detroit that relies on nearly a half-billion dollars in philanthropic support to shore up the city’s pension system, protect its world-class art museum, and help lift the city from insolvency. As Detroit emerges from what is America’s largest municipal bankruptcy, some big names in philanthropy will now put their dollars to work in unprecedented fashion — providing a cash infusion to a government pension system. Ten foundations — including the national giants Ford and the John S. and James L. Knight foundations — are moving forward on their pledges to contribute $366-million over 20 years to an $816-million fund that will help the city pay the pensions of its workers and retirees.
Posted on November 10, 2014 by SuJ'n

During the summer of 2014, the editorial team at Createquity scanned the research on diversity in arts patronage, arts creation, and arts administration. It found that research generally fell into four categories: 1) arts participation, 2) broad demographic shifts impacting the field, 3) specific demographic shifts impacting specific disciplines, and 4) recommendations to arts organizations on how to diversify their audiences. Last week, the team shared about its initial thoughts on the research scan and the development of their hypotheses. Read more here.

Posted on November 10, 2014 by Steve

Over the past 30 years the Getty Foundation, which began as the Getty Grant Program, has continued to shape its grantmaking to respond to the evolving needs of the field. Since 2009 the Foundation has awarded grants primarily through strategic initiatives. Highlights of grants from all 30 years are the Foundation’s anniversary map, which underscores the geographic range of projects. Additional information can be found on the Foundation’s website.

Posted on November 10, 2014 by Steve

Barry Hessenius at Westaf has followed last week’s pre-election analysis with a new post on the elections outcomes:

What the election means in a negative sense for the arts is the elevation of a number of those whose position is that the arts should not be supported by government. That, I categorically oppose, and think its in all of our interests to oppose. I certainly don’t want to give them ammunition of the sort that suggests the Endowment is not a priority issue for the arts, or that its existence and health does not have a major impact on the arts in America. Why do that?
Posted on November 7, 2014 by SuJ'n

When composer and Director of the Center for Performing Arts Medicine at the Houston Methodist Hospital Jefferson Todd Frazier tells people that he works for a center for arts and medicine, he says he receives some odd looks. Arts and medicine are two things that most people would rarely combine, and yet the Center for Performing Arts Medicine, or CPAM, has been doing just that successfully for 25 years. It was founded by a doctor known for treating opera performers, Dr. C. Richard Stasney, after he received a phone call from a performer in need of specialized care.

Read the full article here

Posted on November 6, 2014 by Steve

From Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Two days after being sold unceremoniously at sheriff’s sale, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture ended up in the hands of three local foundations, its future seemingly secure for the first time in at least a year. Monday’s high drama gave way Wednesday to the ending most had been expecting — with the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the Richard King Mellon Foundation taking control of the Downtown real estate with the intent of preserving the center’s mission as a focal point for African American art and culture.
Posted on November 6, 2014 by Steve

GuideStar, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Navigator don't ever want to hear you say these words again:

“Only X% of your gift goes to overhead.” OR
“Only X cents on the dollar go to overhead costs.”

Why? Because you do both your organization and your donors a great disservice when you focus on overhead as the key indicator of your worthiness to receive donations.

Posted on November 5, 2014 by Steve

According to the new edition of Foundation Center’s Key Facts on U.S. Foundations, the country's 86,192 foundations held $715 billion in assets and distributed a record $52 billion in 2012. This annual research study estimates 2013 giving at $54.7 billion and the outlook for 2014 is for growth to continue ahead of inflation, with independent and family foundations growing at a higher rate than other types of foundations.

Among the key findings in the report:

  • In 2012, New York State led the nation in overall foundation giving ($8.7 billion).
  • California organizations ranked first in the amount of grant dollars received from the largest U.S. foundations ($2.4 billion).
  • The Switzerland-based World Health Organization was the top recipient of international grant dollars in 2012.
Posted on November 5, 2014 by Steve

From Daniel Moore, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Although the deal seemed to put an end to a tumultuous five years of financial hardship for the center since its grand opening, the center’s ultimate fate remained unclear. In particular, the sale continued the uncertainty for those who have advocated to maintain the property as a hub of African-American culture and arts. For months, local leaders have expressed support for a deal in which the center would end up in the hands of three Pittsburgh foundations: the Heinz Endowments, the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The foundations have stated their intent to continue operations of the center as a hub of African-American arts and culture.
Posted on November 5, 2014 by Steve

Five foundations are pooling close to a million dollars to create the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund to strengthen the City’s arts advocacy network, develop a cohesive agenda for cultural policy, and promote equity within the sector. Under the combined leadership of the Booth Ferris, Lambent, and Robert Rauschenberg foundations, The New York Community Trust, and the David Rockefeller Fund, the NYC Cultural Agenda Fund is expected to make grants of more than $700,000 over the next 18 months. Additional funders are encouraged to join.

Posted on November 1, 2014 by SuJ'n

During the months of November and December, GIA's photo banner features artists and projects supported by Rasmuson Foundation.

Established in 1955 as a private family foundation, Rasmuson Foundation has a proud history of grantmaking in Alaska, including a major focus on support of arts and culture throughout the State. The Foundation directs support in the cultural sector through several channels, including direct financial support of individual artists, arts in education, museum collections and conservation, arts and cultural organization sustainability, performing and visual arts exhibition touring, and capital project support. It is also committed to strong national partnerships, including United States Artists and ArtPlace America.

Posted on October 30, 2014 by Steve

Former GIA Board member John Killacky posts to The Green Room, a blog from Walker Art Center in Minneapolis:

Three decades ago, choreographer Bill T. Jones jolted the New York dance scene. Bucking the prevailing stripped-down postmodernism, he and his partner Arnie Zane created sensational dances collaborating with composers, fashion designers, and visual artists. A new queer aesthetic emerged that was anything but minimalistic.
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