Blogs

New from the GIA Reader: GIA’s Annual Arts Funding Snapshot

The latest issue of the GIA Reader features our annual Arts Funding Snapshot, an overview of national arts funding by the numbers. The snapshot includes “Foundation Grants to Arts and Culture, 2014,” based on the most recent completed year of Foundation Center data, and “Government Funding for the Arts, 2016,” prepared by the National Assembly of State Art Agencies (NASAA). Findings of these two reports will be presented in our March webinar.

Mellon President Earl Lewis Pens Op-Ed in Support of NEA and NEH

An op-ed by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation President Earl Lewis discusses the unique role that the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities play in funding arts and culture initiatives across the country. Lewis highlights ways the Endowments have enriched society and filled a niche in the funding arena – supporting programs in underfunded rural areas, lending “validation” to projects that may have otherwise been overlooked by private philanthropy, supporting veterans’ programs, leveraging public-private partnerships, and providing resources beyond what may be available on a state government level.

Pop Culture Collaborative Announces New Leadership Team

The Pop Culture Collaborative, a recent initiative founded by Unbound Philanthropy, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, and General Service Foundation, has announced its new leadership staff. The Collaborative aims to advance “the combined power of the entertainment, philanthropic, and social justice sectors to use pop culture strategies to create transformative change in the world.”

Vickie Benson on Why Our Communities Need the NEA

In a new blog post at The McKnight Foundation, Arts Program Director Vickie Benson makes the case that the National Endowment for the Arts continues to illuminate the power of the arts, and that our communities are better off because of their work:

I’ve seen the fierce battles over these arts and cultural agencies play out before. I had a front row seat during my tenure as a program specialist at the NEA in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The critical difference is that the arts sector is in a better position now than it has ever been before in its ability to explain the value of these agencies and the work they support. Because of intentional strategies to support independent, large-scale research, the arts sector has far-reaching and deep data that we didn’t have twenty-five years ago.
NASAA: “Eliminating the NEA would hurt every state in our nation”

In a statement today, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) argues that “eliminating the NEA would hurt every state in our nation.” The statement outlines the national impacts of eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, and NASAA has voiced its resolve “to sustain the NEA and ensure that its important work continues.” Grantmakers in the Arts is committed to working with NASAA, Americans for the Arts, and other national partners to support the NEA.

Statement from National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu

Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, has released a statement following today’s release of the president’s budget plan:

Today we learned that the president’s FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every congressional district in the nation. . . .
Trump Budget Plan Released, Includes Elimination of NEA, NEH, and CPB

President Trump released his first federal budget plan today, as reported by The New York Times:

President Trump, in his first federal budget plan, proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. President Trump also proposed scrapping the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. . . . It was the first time a president has called for ending the endowments. . . .

Nothing will change for the endowments or other agencies immediately. Congress writes the federal budget, not the president, and White House budget plans are largely political documents that telegraph a president’s priorities.

Yet never before have Republicans, who have proposed eliminating the endowments in the past, been so well-positioned to close the agencies, given their control of both houses of Congress and the White House, and now the president’s fiscal plan. . . .

Arts groups have already begun a furious lobbying campaign to press Republicans in Congress to save the endowments. The House will draft a budget in the coming months, and arts groups have already been focusing its lobbying efforts there.

Heron Foundation President Reflects on Investing 100 Percent of Endowment toward Mission

The president of The F.B. Heron Foundation, Clara Miller, recently published an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review about how Heron achieved its goal of investing 100 percent of its endowment toward fulfilling its mission, as well as seven lessons the foundation learned along the way:

We always knew that “getting to 100 percent,” while important, would be like reaching a false summit. The challenges remain, and they loom large. . . . That’s why, going forward, we will work to optimize our portfolio for mission and finance together. But beyond that, we will strive to capture and share what we’ve learned, and improve our approach to investing so that we can contribute to improving practices in the broader market.

In that spirit, we would like to share some lessons we learned on the path to our “100 percent” goal, as well as our thoughts on the significance of those lessons and our own plans for the future.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Names Theresa Colvin as its Next Executive Director

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) announced that Theresa Colvin will be its next executive director. Colvin will succeed Alan W. Cooper who is retiring after 23 years as the Foundation’s director. Colvin will begin her tenure on May 1, 2017. She comes to MAAF from the Maryland State Arts Council where she has been the executive director for the past 16 years.

MIT Media Lab ‘Disobedience Award’ to Recognize Courage and Creativity that Benefit Society

The MIT Media Lab has opened nominations for the Disobedience Award, a one-time award of $250,000 for “a person or group engaged in what we believe is extraordinary disobedience for the benefit of society”:

We’d like to call out action that seeks to change society in positive ways and is consistent with a set of key principles. These principles include non-violence, creativity, courage, and taking responsibility for one’s actions. We’re seeking both expected and unexpected nominees. This could include–but isn’t limited to–those engaged in scientific research, civil rights, freedom of speech, human rights, and the freedom to innovate.