Steve's blog

New ‘Playbook’ Helps Foundations and Nonprofits Respond to Disasters

By Megan O’Neil, writing for The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Grant makers and nonprofits have a new resource to help boost their effectiveness when communities face major disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The Washington-based Center for Disaster Philanthropy, in conjunction with the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, released on Thursday the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a resource of best practices and approaches for charities faced with responding to catastrophes. It includes information on community planning, rebuilding, legal services, housing, aiding vulnerable populations, and coordinating across local, state, and federal agencies.
Preserving and Enhancing Arts Education through the Every Student Succeeds Act

The Arts Education Funders Coalition (AEFC), supported by Grantmakers in the Arts, worked over the past 3 years to ensure that arts education was preserved and enhanced within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA is the federal law that provides over $20 billion in funding to states, school districts, and schools to improve academic achievement and improve teacher and principal training and quality. This undertaking by the AEFC paid off when Congress recently passed, and the President signed into law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorizes ESEA, replacing No Child Left Behind.

Read the full post.

Creating Spaces: Performing Artists in Sacred Spaces

Partners for Sacred Places, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1989, has released Creating Spaces: Performing Artists in Sacred Spaces, a report of findings from the Three-City Arts Study that facilitates long-term, mutually beneficial space-sharing relationships between arts organizations — with inadequate or no home space — and houses of worship with space to share. The findings from each of the three cities (Austin, Baltimore, and Detroit) establish a significant amount of available space, the desire of sacred spaces to serve as a broader community asset, and their minimal concerns about artistic content and control. The findings of this study demonstrate a range of issues, challenges, and opportunities facing performing artists and clearly establish that these artists:

  • overwhelmingly see a need for more performance, rehearsal, and administrative spaces;
  • see a home space as critical to artistic development and community engagement; and
  • feel that a historic sacred space could enhance the experience of their work.
Strategic National Arts Alumni Project Studies First-Generation Artists

In a new "DataBrief" from Indiana University's Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), career outcomes for first-generation artists are examined to find out if they have success finding employment that is in line with their counterparts and if that employment is arts-related. This is a follow-up to SNAAP's previous examination of the challenges arts alumni face depending on whether their parents or close family members have already navigated a career in the arts.

Explore the data.

Lessons in Cultural Participation and Financial Sustainability

Ted Russell, Senior Program Officer at The James Irvine Foundation, has announced the release of a new report, Investing in Cultural Participation and Financial Sustainability, that evaluates the work from the Arts Regional Initiative:

In our recent posts, the Irvine Arts team has been exploring the ways nonprofits can expand arts engagement — to create meaningful experiences that bring forward the full public benefit of arts, and to also increase organizational sustainability for the future. One area that we have been particularly interested in has been finding ways to increase cultural participation and improve financial stability among arts organizations serving areas outside of major California arts centers. In 2009 we launched the second phase of the Arts Regional Initiative, a five-year partnership with 36 arts organizations in Southern California, the Central Valley, and the Central Coast. During that time, we provided $13.4 million in grants and technical assistance to support these goals. What did we learn from this work?
Open Letter from New Jerome Foundation President Ben Cameron

Ben Cameron has just taken the position of president of the Jerome and Camargo Foundations, succeeding Cindy Gehrig, who held that position for 38 years. He begins his tenure with this open letter:

As we all know, much has changed in the arts and the United States arts landscape since these Foundations were created. Just as I have encouraged every arts organization to understand the value it brings to its community in the present day—regardless of whatever value it may have offered in the past—we at the Jerome Foundation are entering a period of self-scrutiny. We will be working in 2016 to understand, not only the value our programs have had and are having, but also the current and future needs of artists and arts organizations in Minnesota and New York City. In 2017, we will both be affirming our commitment to those past programs and priorities that will continue to be critical to future artistic vibrancy and health, while making final investments in those that we no longer intend to support. We will also be introducing new grants programs and business practices later that year, with the goal of establishing a clear and full profile by the end of 2018.
NEA Announces Creativity Connects Initiative

As part of the NEA’s 50th anniversary, the agency is launching Creativity Connects, a leadership initiative intended to show how the arts contribute to the nation’s creative ecosystem while investigating the ways in which the support systems for the artists are changing and exploring how the arts can connect with other sectors that want and utilize creativity. The initiative has three components:

  • an infrastructure report that will provide an overview of the types of artistic practices and how they’re expanding, and the key resources that artists need in order to produce their best work.
  • an interactive graphic that shows the elements of the arts-based creative ecosystem in the United States
  • a pilot grant opportunity to support partnerships between arts organizations and organizations from non-arts sectors

Learn more about Creativity Connects.

Diane Rodriguez Appointed to National Council on the Arts

Diane Rodriguez, associate artistic director at the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, California was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate to be a member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Transforming a Landmark Into a Center for Social Justice

Ford Foundation President Darren Walker posts to Equals Change Blog:

In October, I outlined the foundation’s strategy for renewal, FordForward, and how it will affect our programs, our culture, and our assets. Today, I’d like to offer more specifics about the last of these three categories—our assets—and how we plan to deploy them to advance Ford’s mission. In my last message, I reported that our board has agreed to revisit our endowment policy. As stewards of a charitable trust, we believe it is our responsibility to undertake an investment strategy that considers the social impact of our endowment. Our board will be exploring avenues to do exactly this, and I’ll have more to report in the coming months.
Roberto Bedoya Resigns from Tucson Pima Arts Council

From Kathleen Allen at the Arizona Daily Star:

Roberto Bedoya, who oversaw the Tucson Pima Arts Council during a decade of severe funding cuts and economic turbulence, has resigned from the agency. Bedoya was executive director until August, when he was named TPAC’s director of civic engagement and Debi Chess Mabie was appointed chief executive officer, a new position.

Read the full article.