WEB CONFERENCE: Advocacy and Lobbying: How Foundations Can Change Public Policy

GIA finishes its 2015 Web Conference series with Advocacy and Lobbying: How Foundations Can Change Public Policy on Tuesday, December 8, 2:00 pm EST/11:00 PST. Private foundations have long been active in changing public policy to champion their missions and support the greater good. The return on investment in policy work can be huge and long-lasting. Join GIA's own President & CEO Janet Brown who will present this important session on the importance of policy development and the difference between advocacy and direct lobbying.

Learn more and register here.

Posted on December 4, 2014 by SuJ'n

Earlier this year, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation conducted an assessment of its approach to support regranting intermediaries. It sought to forecast the funding environment for current intermediaries in its Performing Arts Program, better understand who benefits from the foundation's current intermediary funding strategy - and who doesn't, and develop recommendations on how to better serve the Bay Area performing arts ecosystem in accordance with its strategic framework. The foundation makes assessment available to the larger arts and culture field as a way to share "lessons learned."

Posted on December 3, 2014 by SuJ'n

From the News page at New England Foundation for the Arts:

Lawrence J. Simpson, board chair of the New England Foundation for the Arts, announced that Cathy Edwards will join the organization as executive director, beginning late January, 2015. Ms. Edwards comes to NEFA from the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT, where she has served as director of programming since 2006. She has also served as the artistic director of the Time-Based Art Festival at PICA in Portland, OR. Previously, she was artistic director of Dance Theater Workshop in New York City, and co-director of Movement Research in New York City.

Posted on December 3, 2014 by SuJ'n

The Alliance of Artists Communities announces applications are open for its 2015 Creative Access residency awards. This program, supported by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, provides visual artists and writers living with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) month-long, funded studio residencies. Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities, shares:

'Creative Access' reflects our ongoing commitment to develop greater resources for underserved artists of all kinds and model best-practices for the entire residency field. We are thrilled to launch this new program with our residency partners, and so grateful to the Neilsen Foundation for its leadership and support.

The application deadline is: January 15, 2015.

Read more about the application announcement here.

Posted on December 2, 2014 by SuJ'n

The Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock on Long Island awards approximately $12 million annually to nearly 200 organizations nationwide. After working with a consultant to overhaul the financial component of its application process, the program eliminated requests for budgets last year. The Foundation Review published the case study titled, "In Other Words, the Budgets Are Fake: Why One Funder Eliminated Grantee Budgets to Improve Financial Due Diligence." Through this report, the Veatch Program proposes one model for reducing administrative burden on applicants while simultaneously getting a clearer picture of an applicants' financial well-being and capacity to fulfill project goals.

Posted on December 2, 2014 by SuJ'n

Funders can do more than just support artists with discrete project needs; they can help artists survive unexpected challenges.

From Mike Scutari, Inside Philanthropy:

Who's there for musicians when times get tough? The answer is the MusiCares Foundation. Established in 1989 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, its primary purpose is to focus the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues which directly impact the health and welfare of the music community.

Posted on December 2, 2014 by Steve

From Eileen Cunniffe, writing for Nonprofit Quarterly:

After many months of rancor, which NPQ has followed with attention to the governance, management, and community relations implications of a messy nonprofit meltdown, the dust appears to be settling around the reconfigured Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) North Miami and the newly established Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Miami. The public mud-slinging began last spring, but trouble had been simmering for some time between the City of North Miami — which owns the building MOCA North Miami has long occupied — and the trustees of the institution, who wanted to expand the facility or move its collection to another location.

Posted on December 2, 2014 by SuJ'n

From the News page at National Endowment for the Arts:

From partnerships to develop a districtwide arts education plan in North Carolina to poetry from a combat engineer to a folk arts festival in rural Wyoming, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) continues to support the arts and creativity to improve lives and communities in the United States. In its first fiscal year 2015 announcement, the NEA will award $29.1 million in 1,116 grants in three categories: Art Works, Challenge America, and NEA Literature Fellowships in Creative Writing.

Posted on December 2, 2014 by SuJ'n

Andrea Shea from Boston's The ARTery reports:

At the same time that school music programs across the country are being downsized due to budget cuts, there’s one intensive music-education program that’s growing. And now Massachusetts has become the first state in the country to set aside funding for the Venezuelan-born effort known as El Sistema.

Read the full article here.

Posted on November 30, 2014 by SuJ'n

Artistic responses to the Ferguson no-indictment decision add to a long history of the arts being used to spotlight and counter injustice. Kim Diggs writes for North Texas' Star Local Media:

Because the arts have historically been instrumental in pushing agendas for social change, could the same tactics work to affect judicial change?

On Nov. 26, a day after the verdict to not indict Wilson was announced, Buffalo Black, a Dallas-based independent hip-hop artist tweeted a song he'd uploaded to Sound Cloud back in September called “Blood Lines.” The track was described as a tribute to Brown... Many of the lyrics in the song were written as if he was, at that moment, the voice of the African-American community, speaking out of frustration from witnessing and experiencing similar situations.

Read the full article here.

Posted on November 25, 2014 by Steve

From Kerry Lengel, writing for the Arizona Republic:

San Antonio Artpace executive director Amada Cruz was named Monday to guide the Phoenix Art Museum, a $9 million-a-year non-profit, which brings 200,000 visitors a year to Phoenix. Cruz, 53, who was born in Havana, has extensive experience in both the arts and non-profit worlds and starts work February 1. First on her to-do list, Cruz said, is a "crash course" on Phoenix's culture and history.
Posted on November 25, 2014 by SuJ'n

A study released by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter?, showed that grantmakers are making shifts on how they support their grantees. Among these shifts is the increasing support for general operating, multiyear, and capacity-building purposes. A median 25% of grant dollars now go to general operating support - up from 20% in 2008 and 2011.

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.
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