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 7, 2016 by Monica

The League of American Orchestras has released two reports on diversity in orchestras. The first, Forty Years of Fellowships, analyzes the efficacy and impact of fellowship programs for African American and Latino musicians. The second report, Racial/Ethnic and Gender Diversity in the Orchestra Field examines diversity among orchestra staff, boards, conductors and instrumentalists.

Read the reports.

Posted on September 27, 2016 by Monica

A new report commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation surveys the efforts of 15 foundations, including Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Surdna Foundation, that are working to “incorporate equity — both in their internal operations and in their grantmaking.” The Road to Achieving Equity presents key findings from the survey, challenges the foundations have faced, and recommendations for foundations looking to begin their own work toward equity.

Read the report.

Posted on September 20, 2016 by Monica

Grantmakers in the Arts has released an expansion of its landmark Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy Statement of Purpose with new definitions, recommendations, and resources to support arts funders in taking up and continuing this important work. Highlights of this release include sets of actionable steps that individuals and institutions can take to advance racial equity in arts philanthropy, recordings of GIA’s highly attended web conference series on racial equity in grantmaking, and the results of GIA’s internal racial equity audit.

Posted on September 14, 2016 by Monica

By Ana Sofia Knauf, writing for The Stranger:

The [Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS)] launched a series of racial equity workshops in August to raise "community-wide awareness about existing inequities" and to ensure arts organizations had the training to discuss racial issues. . . . To meet [high] demand, ARTS officials announced they commissioned two more workshops, which will be held in late September. Carmen Morgan, national speaker on diversity issues and founder of artEquity, will lead the discussions, both of which focus on supporting people of color as organizations grapple with racial equity.

Read the article.

Posted on August 31, 2016 by Monica

A recent article from Createquity identifies and discusses four different visions for cultural equity:

The further we delved into the literature around cultural equity, and the more we consulted experts and connected with some of the activists who precede us, the more we came to realize that shared understanding simply doesn’t exist. . . . But in our own conversations, we found it helpful to divide the visions for success we were reading and hearing from advocates into four archetypes: Diversity, Prosperity, Redistribution, and Self-Determination.

Read the full article.

Posted on August 30, 2016 by Monica

A new blog post from the Johnson Scholarship Foundations highlights the work of four Native American women in nonprofits and philanthropy who are driving change in their communities. Lori Pourier, executive director of First People’s Fund, is recognized as “a leader in the field – not just for Native arts and culture – but arts and culture period. She is the go-to person for the ‘creative economy’ in Indian Country."

Read the article.

Posted on August 29, 2016 by Monica

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission has released a new literature review on Public Engagement in the Arts. The report explores different ways in which “public engagement” can be defined and practiced, the purposes public engagement has been used for in the arts, and how the terms “audience” and “participant” have evolved and blurred over time. It also places public engagement in the context of one of the most urgent conversations taking place in arts and culture today, that of cultural equity and inclusion.

Read the report.

Posted on August 9, 2016 by SuJ'n

In July and August 2016, GIA hosted four web conferences devoted to the topic of grantmaking practices that advance racial equity. The sessions offered concrete examples from the field on how various grantmakers from public, private, and intermediary perspectives are approaching different aspects of the grantmaking cycle to address inequities that have been traditionally imbedded in their organizational practices or in the funding ecosystem.

The series event page provides a list of links to the programs discussed and resources mentioned in the presentations. Other valuable resources listed include an excellent six-part video learning series for philanthropy, Putting Racism on the Table, organized and hosted by the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.

Posted on August 3, 2016 by Sustainable Arts Foundation

The Sustainable Arts Foundation has recently committed to increasing racial equity in the arts. Starting this fall, at least half of our awards will go to applicants of color. Visit their website to read more about this decision and the thinking behind it.

Posted on July 20, 2016 by Monica

Artist Trust has announced the first iteration of its Racial Equity plan, introduced in a press release as "the next step in showing dedication to equity in the arts." The intention of the plan is to address and change historical and ongoing disparities in access to institutional funding, recognition, business practices, and job opportunities. It highlights shifting paradigms in Artist Trust programs, operations, and communications, both showcasing work that is in progress, revealing future plans, and celebrating past successes.

Read the plan.

Posted on July 13, 2016 by Monica

Alternate ROOTS, First Peoples Fund, National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), and PA'I Foundation have collaborated to create the Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI), a new year-long personal and leadership development program for artists, culture bearers, and other arts professionals. The four partner organizations have created ILI out of a shared commitment to pursue cultural equity and to support artists, culture bearers, and other arts professionals as change-makers in their communities.

Read the full announcement.

Posted on July 12, 2016 by Monica

In a recent blog post, Arleta Little, program officer for the arts at The McKnight Foundation, discusses racial disparities in arts philanthropy and how McKnight and other organizations are working to address it:

Given historic inequities and shifting demographics, increasing arts funding alone does not address the structural issues affecting how these funds are distributed. We must change the minds (leadership and decision making) and the mechanisms (the institutional policies and practices) that prevent more equitable distributions of resources. This is racial equity work.

Read the full article.

Posted on April 12, 2016 by Monica

The fifth and final State of the Work report has been released by the D5 Coalition. The coalition is a five-year collaboration of foundations, donors, associations, and organizations with an aim to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy. The final State of the Work report focuses on “stories of people in foundations who have taken action to advance [diversity, equity, and inclusion].” A separate forthcoming report will reflect on sector progress over the past five years of the coalition's work.

Read the report

Posted on April 7, 2016 by Monica

In an article posted in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Phillip Henderson of Surdna Foundation and Rip Rapson of The Kresge Foundation discuss how some of their programs have helped to address economic and racial inequities.

For a nation whose majority population will soon be people of color, [economic] inequities loom large over the future prosperity of cities and their surrounding metropolitan regions — and pose a major challenge for philanthropy to tackle.

Read the full article.

Posted on February 11, 2016 by Steve

Eleanor Savage, of the Jerome Foundation, penned this article in October 2015 for the Arts in a Changing America website:

When Roberta Uno asked me to be part of an ArtChangeUS panel responding to the question of how we shift the paradigm from diversity, inclusion, and representation to equity, desegregation, and transformation, I struggled with how to answer. I am an artist, racial and social justice activist, and I work for Jerome Foundation, an independent foundation that funds the arts. I don’t honestly feel that the arts and culture community as a whole is operating from the standard of diversity or equity. The paradigm I experience daily is still racism, segregation, and exclusion of people of color. As evidence of this, I collected some typical comments that I and other program officers in the funding world hear in response to efforts to address diversity or equity…

Read the full article.

Posted on January 25, 2016 by Steve

The National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) at Southern Methodist University has released a white paper titled “Does ‘Strong and Effective’ Look Different for Culturally Specific Organizations?” that examines the distinguishing characteristics of arts organizations that primarily serve Asian-American, African-American, and Hispanic/Latino communities. The study is intended to provide insights, based on measurable data, about the operating contexts and unique challenges that these organizations face.

Learn more about this white paper.

Posted on December 14, 2015 by Steve

From Jennifer Smith, writing for The Wall Street Journal:

An effort to measure whether New York City’s cultural organizations reflect the famously diverse metropolis they serve has focused fresh attention on a concern that has bedeviled some in the arts world for years. National surveys indicate that employees at U.S. museums, for example, are predominantly white, even as the broader population becomes more racially and ethnically diverse. In New York City, non-Hispanic whites account for about one-third of the total population, according to the U.S. Census.

Read the full article.

Posted on December 1, 2015 by Steve

From the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures:

If we consider the most recurring misconceptions about these two very different terms -diversity and inclusion-, they have to do with either making them interchangeable –so that they both end up meaning the same thing- or with suggesting that if we’ve got one, then we’ve automatically got the other. Either way, the point is that a lack of clarity on what these two concepts are about is a great way of not realizing them. And so we must ask: is diversity the same thing as inclusion? If we manage to create an environment of inclusion, does that mean we have diversity? Is it true that we can have diversity without any inclusion? And finally, perhaps the most powerful question, why does it matter that we achieve either of these equitable goals?

The strange part is that, under most conditions, it doesn’t matter. In fact, diversity and inclusion –or D&I- only matter within a framework of democracy, within a shared political context through which we’re all recognized as equals: democracy being itself that framework which, in the end, presents us with equality. There have been, of course, all too many other socio-politico models in our recent past...

Posted on November 3, 2015 by Steve

On Thursday, November 19, 2015, a public forum will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to release the findings of a study conducted by the Urban Institute and funded by The Heinz Endowments. The forum, Building Bridges to Economic Opportunity for African American Men, will provide a chance for public discussion of key findings from the report, “Barriers & Bridges: An Action Plan for Overcoming Obstacles and Unlocking Opportunities for African American Men,” that will be released during the forum. The forum is sponsored by The Heinz Endowments’ African American Men and Boys Task Force, and will take place at the Hill House Association’s Kaufmann Center in Pittsburgh. Learn more and register here.

Posted on October 1, 2015 by Steve

From Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation:

[W]e were established by a market system and endowed by the money of the past century’s 1 percent. We are stewards of enormous resources — participants in and beneficiaries of a market system. As a result, our work is quite literally enabled by returns on capital. In turn, I believe we are obligated “to strengthen and improve” the system of which we are part. My conviction is no anathema to capitalism. Adam Smith himself argued that the “invisible hand” could not be blind to the condition of society, and that “no society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” This from a visionary who was not only the forefather of American capitalism but also the author of Theory of Moral Sentiments, which he regarded as more important than his Wealth of Nations.

Philanthropy’s role is to contribute to the “flourishing” of the “far greater part” — to help foster a stronger safety net and a level playing field. With each generation, we should be guided by our legacy of support for social progress and human achievement in the spirit of the Green Revolution, advances in public...