Racial Equity and Social Justice

Outline of GIA’s Work in Equity

In the course of its relatively short history, Grantmakers in the Arts has used a variety of platforms (newsletters, peer-reviewed journals, annual conferences, and other programs) to shine light on issues that impact, improve, and strengthen arts philanthropy. Since 2008, GIA has been elevating racial equity and social justice as a critical issue affecting the field. In 2013, the board approved a motion to make Racial Equity an organizational priority. An historical outline of GIA's recent work in equity is available online, including GIA Reader articles, blog posts, and YouTube videos from past conference keynote sessions.

For more research and articles on Racial Equity and Social Justice in Arts Philanthropy, go to Library and search “Art and Social Justice” or click here.

Posted on October 10, 2017 by Monica

A recent article from Createquity examines and challenges the common juxtaposition of terms like “mainstream” and “culturally specific” in reference to arts organizations and art forms:

In the research literature, the term “mainstream” is often contrasted with the language “culturally-specific,” and it is this combination that provokes the fiercest resistance from cultural equity advocates. The logic on researchers’ part is that “culturally-specific” organizations explicitly target a specific demographic population, whereas “mainstream” organizations target everyone. On its face, this seems perfectly reasonable. In practice, though, the dynamic is asymmetric. Organizations celebrating European art forms tend to have been founded earlier than organizations that primarily serve communities of color and benefited from the structural advantages enjoyed by white culture at the time (and since), enabling them to capture much of the sector’s wealth. And yet virtually none of these institutions identify as “culturally-specific” . . . .

Read the full article on Createquity.

Posted on September 12, 2017 by Monica

The Alliance of Artists Communities has announced the six inaugural recipients of its Diversity and Leadership Fellowship. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the fellowship aims to promote equity in the residency field through direct support of emerging arts administrators of color and administrators with disabilities regardless of their current role. It supports the cost of participation in the Alliance’s annual conference; a site visit to a leading artist residency center in spring 2018; facilitated peer exchanges; and the cost of participation in the 2018 Emerging Program Institute. The fellowship expands upon a successful pilot program undertaken last year.

Read the full announcement.

Posted on August 23, 2017 by Monica

A blog post by Media Impact funders highlights the importance of diversity and representation in media outlets following recent racist violence, and what funders are doing to support diversity in the newsroom:

Many funders recognize that reporting on intolerance is weakened by the persistent problem of lack of diversity in media outlets. [American Society of News Editors’] 2016 Diversity Survey suggests that while newsroom numbers are improving after a long slump, the percentages of female and minority staff still don’t correspond with those of the population.

Media funders are responding with grants to organizations that support diverse journalists and media producers.

Read the full article from Media Impact Funders.

Posted on August 16, 2017 by Monica

From Deadline:

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation will be awarding $5.7M in grant money to seven organizations to “support professional nonfiction media makers from diverse backgrounds.” The organization says that $2.25M of that will be re-granted directly to independent film projects over three years, with remaining funds providing support for fellowships, workshops, training programs, and professional development.

Read the full article on Deadline.

Posted on July 24, 2017 by Monica

The recent Helicon Collaborative report examines continuing (and increased) inequities in funding to culturally-specific arts organizations across the country. An article in American Theatre discusses the results of the study and offers data and examples from cities facing funding equity challenges, including how some have made intentional efforts toward progress.

On advancing progress, Holly Sidford of Helicon Collaborative says, “No one funder is going to be able to change the picture, and most nonprofit organizations get the bulk of their money from local sources. So it’s only by groups of foundations in a given place coming together and saying, ‘These numbers are unacceptable and we’re going to work together to change them,’ that real change can happen.”

Read the full article on American Theatre.

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Monica

The Native Arts & Cultures Foundation has released a report evaluating the social impact of the four pilot projects of its Community Inspiration Program. The evaluation framework layers multiple approaches to holistically consider the effect these projects had within their communities and on the issues the artists strove to address: climate change, the veracity of Indigenous knowledge, US/Mexico border relations, the definition of community, and storytelling for social and environmental justice.

Read the report from Native Arts & Cultures Foundation.

Posted on July 11, 2017 by Monica

In a three-part series of articles, Helicon Collaborative has released the key findings of its study on cultural equity issues in philanthropy:

Helicon Collaborative released Not Just Money: Equity Issues in Cultural Philanthropy, a research study conducted with funding from the Surdna Foundation. The study continues our examination of inequities in arts funding in the U.S., starting with Fusing Art, Culture and Social Change in 2011, published by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. Not Just Money looks at the picture now, to see what has changed in that time.

Spoiler alert: despite important efforts by many leading foundations, funding overall has gotten less equitable, not more. This means that cultural philanthropy is not effectively — or equitably — supporting our evolving cultural landscape.

Read the research findings from Helicon Collaborative.
Download the full report.

Posted on June 14, 2017 by Monica

With funding from the Ford Foundation, Dance/NYC has launched a $500,000 fund to make operating grants to “small dance makers” with annual operating budgets between $25,000 and $1 million, with priority given to groups led by ALAANA artists. As reported by Crain’s New York Business:

The fund was created in response to a research report released by Dance/NYC in October, which looked at 172 troupes over a six-year period. The study found that dance groups with budgets up to $1 million make up 84% of the total in New York, but have access to only 10% of total revenue.

Read the full article at Crain’s New York Business.

Posted on June 12, 2017 by Monica

Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation has selected sixty New York City arts and cultural organizations to participate in their Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab, a year-long training program to improve racial equity in the arts and culture sector. Funded through The New York City Cultural Agenda Fund in The New York Community Trust, the Racial Equity in the Arts Lab will work with the sixty influential arts and cultural institutions to develop skills and strategies for interrupting racial inequity within their institutions, and positively affecting their audiences, stakeholders, constituencies — as well as staff and team members of color.

Read the full announcement.

Posted on June 8, 2017 by Monica

The Building Movement Project has released a report about the gap in representation of ALAANA individuals in leadership positions at nonprofits. The report has implications for organizations of all types, including recommendations for funders. As reported by Nonprofit Quarterly:

The report has a high-level message: “The results call into question the common assumption that to increase the diversity of nonprofit leaders, People of Color need more training. The findings point to a new narrative. To increase the number of People of Color leaders, the nonprofit sector needs to address the practices and biases of those governing nonprofit organizations.”

Read more at the Nonprofit Quarterly.

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Monica

On June 14, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) will host a webinar highlighting what national grantmakers can learn from ALAANA-led social movements and philanthropic institutions in the South:

[The South has] a vibrant history of successful movements for racial and social justice, yet grassroots Southern leaders are often overlooked by philanthropy and lack funding to pursue their own agendas.

The South is already home to a strong ecosystem of people-of-color (POC)-led philanthropic institutions that can help drive resources for racial and social justice. This webinar will explore the crucial role of POC-led philanthropy in the South, with an emphasis on the powerful potential for significant impact not only in the Southern region, but nationally.

Learn more and register.

Posted on April 5, 2017 by Monica

From KPCC:

The [Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors] voted unanimously to advance a proposal, brought forward by supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl, with specific recommendations to increase ethnic, socio-economic and gender diversity in the staffing and audience of arts organizations.

Those recommendations come after 18 months of work. The [LA County Arts Commission] has held town hall meetings attended by 650 community members and solicited input from peers in other cities.

Read the full article from KPCC.

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Monica

From Chamber Music America:

As Chamber Music America prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary next season, the complex and challenging issue of racial equity looms large in the world, our country, and our field. Recognizing the disparities that persist as a result of existing practices, we adopted A Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity at our recent meeting.

The Commitment outlines goals and progress indicators for the coming year, with the expectation that we will learn from our efforts and recalibrate goals and strategies in the years that follow.

Read the full statement.

Posted on March 21, 2017 by Monica

PolicyLink has released a report supported by The Kresge Foundation revealing how arts and culture strategies are used to help create sustainable and equitable communities. Creating Change through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development: A Policy and Practice Primer highlights both promising and proven practices that demonstrate equity-focused arts and culture policies, strategies, and tools. The report describes the role of arts and culture across many sectors: transportation, housing, economic development and financial security, health and food, youth and education, open space and recreation, and technology and information access.

View the report at PolicyLink.

Posted on February 24, 2017 by Monica

At their 2017 SphinxConnect conference, the Sphinx Organization hosted a roundtable discussion entitled “Funding Inclusion,” which brought together leaders in philanthropy who actively support the arts, diversity, and creative expression. Jamie Bennett, executive director of ArtPlace America, hosted the conversation between Susan Feder (The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), Kamilah Henderson (Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan), and Margaret Morton (Ford Foundation).

Watch the video

Posted on February 8, 2017 by Monica

A recent story from Minnesota Public Radio highlights the challenges of funding disparities experienced by ALAANA (African, Latino/a, Asian, Arab, and Native American) arts organizations:

The Twin Cities continues to diversify culturally, and an increasing number of nonprofit organizations are geared to serve its diverse communities. But the vast majority of philanthropic support is still going to major institutions that serve a majority white and upper-class audience. . . . While larger, mainstream organizations receive the bulk of arts funding, [said Arleta Little, arts program officer at The McKnight Foundation], smaller organizations — particularly those working with and led by people of color — are kept in a perpetual survival mode.

Read and listen on Minnesota Public Radio.

Posted on January 18, 2017 by Monica

A recent blog post on The Huffington Post expresses the importance of equity as New York City works to create its first-ever cultural plan:

New York’s plan – to be released this summer – follows Boston’s, which was revealed in 2016. How do we get New York to deeply embrace the full meaning of cultural equity in this plan? This is the question among funders at the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund in The New York Community Trust, where we seek to influence policy and advance equity in arts and culture.

Read the full post.

Posted on January 9, 2017 by Monica

A recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review advocates a “shift from a framework that grounds giving in ‘charity’ to one that grounds giving in ‘justice.’” The authors ask funders to interrogate the historic inequities which have made philanthropy necessary, offering a set of questions for philanthropic field to examine their own practices under this framework.

Read the article.

Posted on January 3, 2017 by Monica

The New York Community Trust has announced a new program called The Liberty Fund, a “special funding opportunity to help New York City nonprofits address immediate issues affecting vulnerable New Yorkers.” The fund is a partnership with the New York Foundation and aims to address issues related to identity-based discrimination, mental health, health care, immigrant rights, and other time-sensitive needs.

Learn more.

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Monica

A recent article in Crain’s Chicago Business highlights the work of Enrich Chicago, “a coalition of 14 nonprofits and seven foundations whose goal is racial equity, in terms of management, funding, and artist support, for Chicago-area ALAANA nonprofits by 2050.” The coalition was founded in 2014 by Angelique Power, GIA board member and president of The Field Foundation of Illinois, and Brett Batterson, former executive director of Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

Read the article.