For the month of January, GIA's photo banner features work and projects supported by The McKnight Foundation. McKnight, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. In 2013, the Foundation gave approximately $86 million in grants, focusing its assistance primarily in the state of Minnesota. Learn more about the foundation here.

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.
Posted on October 30, 2014 by Steve

In 2009, The Wallace Foundation launched the Strengthening Financial Management (SFM) initiative, a comprehensive multi-year intervention to improve the financial stability and planning of 26 nonprofit Chicago organizations that were providing afterschool programming. A new report by the management consulting firm CFAR — Differences a Day Can Make: Exploring the Effects of an Abbreviated Intervention on Improving Financial Management for Youth-Serving Organizations — examines the effectiveness of a one-day workshop and series of webinars offered to nonprofits by the consulting firm FMA as part of the SFM initiative.

Posted on October 27, 2014 by Steve

Anthony Mazzocchi is former Director of Fine and Performing Arts for the South Orange/Maplewood School District, where he launched one of the first K-4 Suzuki Violin programs in New Jersey. During his stay, the district was designated “One of the Best Communities for Music Education” by the NAMM Association, and he was nominated for the first ever GRAMMY Music Educator Award by the GRAMMY Foundation. He posts here to The Village Green of Maplewood and South Orange:

We are going down the path of so many other failed systems; teaching the creativity out of kids, and cutting the arts as an “easy fix” to making way for “new and improved” initiatives that often serve only as resume builders for transient administrators. These are the same cuts that many districts have made over the years, but not the great districts. Our district is supposed to be better than this, but perhaps I am wrong. Ultimately, we cannot continue to give lip service to meeting the challenges of the 21st century while embracing educational ideologies of the past. Our district needs to truly value different modes of intelligence and cultivate creative relationships between disciplines. Imagination, creativity, and innovation are not cultivated in a test prep factory.

Read the full post.

Posted on October 24, 2014 by Steve

Gary Steuer, posting in Huffington Post Education:

Arts in Education Week took place last month, and since then arts education has been on my mind and in the air. A recent blog post by Alan Yaffe that contended arts education advocacy should be focused more on art-making than art-viewing got me thinking. It is true, much energy goes into trying to get K-12 students to attend arts events, and that's wonderful and much-needed. We try to organize class trips, and bemoan the increasing challenges of getting access to buses, to getting the OK to leave school for an arts experience when the pressures of sticking to curriculum and "teaching to the test" are ever-present. And arts groups do all they can to provide "enrichment", to facilitate those out-of-school experiences and to also bring teaching artists or arts education programs into schools.
Posted on October 23, 2014 by Steve

South Arts has received a grant of $450,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support their Dance Touring Initiative (DTI) through 2018. The initiative, launched in 2009, is building a network of performing arts presenters throughout the South that can bring modern dance and contemporary ballet companies as part of their season for public performances and artist residencies. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as stated in their mission, “endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.”

Posted on October 23, 2014 by Steve

From James McQuaid at The Guardian:

At this year’s Arts Marketing Association conference, the National Arts Strategies president, Russell Willis Taylor, made some thought-provoking points through a case study on Ikea from which she believed arts and culture can learn. One of these was about knowing your value proposition: what are you uniquely placed to offer and how can this exude through an organisation? Willis Taylor encouraged us to be opportunistic, to build in space, energy and money in order to learn, keep our eyes open and be flexible and responsive. Her example to illustrate this in Ikea was the employee who started screwing off table legs to get the furniture into customers’ cars, which led to a revolution in the brand’s production and the flatpack we all know and (mostly) love today.
Posted on October 23, 2014 by Steve

From Shelly Gilbride, writing for California Arts Council Blog:

This isn’t a class in your average school. This is a class at the Juvenile Justice Center in Alameda and these boys are incarcerated. They live in tiny, sparse cells. The walled courtyard isn’t big enough for a real game of catch. These are tough kids who have had tough lives and are currently dealing with really tough circumstances. But when they are dancing, they are just kids, trying to get the moves right. I was privileged to witness that class as part of the Alameda County Office of Education’s bold initiative to address the “School to Prison Pipeline.”
Posted on October 21, 2014 by SuJ'n

Last week at the GIA conference in Houston, Aaron Dworkin (The Sphinx Organization), Maurine Knighton (Nathan Cummings Foundation), and Roberta Uno (Ford Foundation) presented a session on addressing the significant disparity in how funding reaches underserved communities and smaller arts organizations. Per its design, the intended session outcome was to develop a list of key strategies to address inequitable funding in collaboration with the audience members.

Posted on October 21, 2014 by Steve

From Ruth McCambridge, writing for Nonprofit Quarterly:

GuideStar has announced a new initiative to monitor the diversity of the nonprofit sector. It plans to work with the D5 Coalition and a range of other partners to collect diversity data about staff, board, and volunteer demographics in nonprofits and philanthropy. Saying that past sporadic attempts to collect such information were inadequate, Kelly Brown, Director of the D5 coalition, said that the end game of the project is diversity in the sector that is reflective of current demographics, but also inclusion and equity.
Posted on October 21, 2014 by Steve

GIA Conference blogger Sarah Lutman provides some ideas for the Los Angeles Conference in 2015:

Compared to GIA’s early years, last week’s conference was more diverse demographically, and courageous in the difficulty of topics brought forward for discussion. The through-line of conversations about race, for example, was substantive and it is vital, challenging work to embrace. The question of whether grantmaking can do more harm than good also was raised. Bravo to GIA for broadening the discussion, involving more people, and creating urgency around deeds, not words, in addressing the field’s most deeply-rooted problems.
Posted on October 20, 2014 by Steve

Conference blogger Barry Hessenius turns in a final post to the GIA 2014 Conference blog:

The 2014 GIA Conference was, I think, very successful. This gathering remains small enough to be intimate, but large enough so that the conversations are expansive. As the funding community continues to grapple with some very large challenges, as a body it is making steady progress on working together to, if not collaborate on every approach, at least coordinate some of what use to be very disparate and wide ranging approaches. Perhaps the word that ought to be included in the vocabulary above is the word SHARING.
Posted on October 20, 2014 by Steve

The latest post from Sarah Lutman on the GIA 2014 Conference blog:

The staff of the John L. and James S. Knight Foundation offered a terrific session on Transmedia Narrative on Tuesday. Presenters were Eric Schoenborn, Creative Director at Knight, and Nicole Chipi, Arts Program Associate. In the three main parts of their presentation, they showed examples of narratives they consider well told; described their internal creative processes for telling Knight’s own stories and how they choose which media to use; and offered advice to other grantmakers for ways to work with grantees to tell their stories effectively and to get their stories out to more people.
Posted on October 18, 2014 by Steve

Barry Hessenius covers the GIA preconference, held on Sunday, October 12 in Houston:

This all day session was intended for newer program officers, trustees and foundation executives — but the reality was that the attendees were split between newbies and those who are recognizable names in the philanthropic community with long resumes. The combination of the two made the questions throughout the session very interesting and relevant.
Posted on October 18, 2014 by Steve

The latest post from Sarah Lutman on the GIA 2014 Conference blog is her report from the session Getting Beyond Breakeven 2.0:

Susan Nelson of TDC gave us a healthy dose of her thought leadership in her GIA session with Olive Mosier of the William Penn Foundation. She presented — for the first time — the findings of a new report on Philadelphia cultural institutions that comes five years after the breakthrough study, Getting Beyond Breakeven: A Review of Capitalization Needs and Challenges of Philadelphia’s Arts and Culture Organizations.
Posted on October 17, 2014 by Steve

From Tony Nitti, writing for Forbes:

It has to suck to make your living as an artist. For starters, you have to be able to sculpt, draw, or paint things that, you know… look like things. But even if you can, you know damn well that when you tell someone at a dinner party that you’re an “artist,” they’ll smugly assume that’s just a pleasant euphemism for “unemployed trust fund baby.” And on the off chance that all your creativity and hard work pays off and you have a piece prominently displayed in a gallery or museum, you’ll have to repeatedly deal with a boorish lout like me eyeing up your magnum opus and dismissively professing, “I don’t get it.”
Posted on October 17, 2014 by Steve

From Joel Brown at The Boston Globe:

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration is preparing the canvas for an 18-month citywide “cultural planning process” to put the arts at the heart of the city’s future for at least the next decade, for artists, residents, and visitors alike. Under incoming Boston chief of arts and culture Julie Burros, the process can consider anything from festivals to public art, and from easier permitting for neighborhood arts events to affordable housing for artists who might otherwise move somewhere else to work. Everything is on the table.
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