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 November 17, 2014 by SuJ'n

The Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund of San Francisco is offering a two year paid Program Fellowship at a starting annual salary of $70,000, plus benefits, with substantial professional development opportunities averaging a day a month (including senior staff coaching and mentoring, staff training and meetings, participation in workshops, and conferences). Applications are due by December 22, 2014 with the term to start on or about February 2, 2015.

Learn more.

Posted on November 10, 2014 by SuJ'n

During the summer of 2014, the editorial team at Createquity scanned the research on diversity in arts patronage, arts creation, and arts administration. It found that research generally fell into four categories: 1) arts participation, 2) broad demographic shifts impacting the field, 3) specific demographic shifts impacting specific disciplines, and 4) recommendations to arts organizations on how to diversify their audiences. Last week, the team shared about its initial thoughts on the research scan and the development of their hypotheses. Read more here.

Posted on October 22, 2014 by SuJ'n

In October 2014, at the GIA 2014 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. Here it is:

23 Key Strategies/Best Practices

  1. Question what we accept as given language. Excellence redefined: rigor, aesthetic value, innovation (R. Uno)
  2. Re-examine the intersection of arts and culture through the lens of today’s demographics (under-represented to whom/which community?) (R. Uno)
  3. Shifting the paradigm of current inequity. How do we fund up smaller organizations and build their capacity? (R. Uno)
  4. Work with large, non-diverse organizations, as well as small, diverse organizations. Encourage meaningful, intentional cohorts and partnerships within organizations and between...
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.

Increasingly this community is doing just that – sharing knowledge, practices, research and data, approaches, concerns and more; sharing all of that not just with each other, but across the field. The challenges all remain, with ever greater complexity involved. GIA is pitching a big tent, with notable success.

Read the full post.

Posted on October 15, 2014 by Steve

Conference blogger Latoya Peterson turns in her first set of observations from Houston:

Can a conversation about race be a performance? What does that simple framework shift do to the conversation? The answer: everything. The long table conversation is a fascinating thing to watch unfold. Participants come in and out as they please. There is snacking and scribbling, mostly on topic. Some people were determined watchers, setting up camp on the chairs on the far edge of the perimeter. And others eagerly queued up in the seats closest to the table, waiting for the moment they could tap someone on the shoulder, sending that performer out and putting themselves into the conversation.

Read the full post.

Posted on September 29, 2014 by Janet

By Janet Brown from her blog Better Together

My first year at Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) was 2009. When I travelled the country to meet members and learn about their work, I was surprised by my conversations with most private funders.

These funders said their work differed from their peers because they were focused on small organizations; African, Latino(a), Asian, and Native American (ALANA) organizations; issues of equity; and the changing demographics in their communities. Everyone assumed that GIA’s core membership primarily supported large professional arts institutions and those that were funding beyond that were isolated cases. It seemed everyone I talked with was “different.” This made me realize there was a growing trend in arts philanthropy not being openly discussed. Most funders viewed their peers from an historical perspective. Instead, I could see a collective movement in process - and a need for the coordination of shared best practices and experiences.

Around the same time, social justice funders within GIA were creating a standard of operations for themselves. At the Taos conference in 2007, Claudine Brown, then at the Nathan Cummings Foundation,...

Posted on September 16, 2014 by Steve

Rick Lowe of Project Row Houses in Houston, Texas, has been named as a MacArthur Fellow in the 2014 class that will be announced on September 18. Lowe will be the keynote speaker at the Tuesday Luncheon Plenary of the GIA 2014 Conference taking place next month in Houston. Read about Mr. Lowe and the entire 2014 class.

Posted on August 19, 2014 by SuJ'n

Last month, Helicon Collaborative published Making Meaningful Connections: Characteristics of Arts Groups that Engage New and Diverse Participants with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. This research shares the attributes of organizations that successfully invite, reach, and meet the needs of diverse audiences. On its heels, the Regional Arts & Culture Council based in Portland, Oregon recently published An Introduction to Engaging Diverse Audiences. This toolkit presents six building blocks that build and strengthen community relationships and provides an excellent compilation of other previously released resources, including the Helicon report.

Posted on July 28, 2014 by Steve

An initiative is underway to stimulate a broader conversation within the field of philanthropy to articulate the values and practices of justice funders. This conversation is being facilitated through a weekly blog series that seeks new voices for inspiration, stimulation, and provocation that will “generate contemplation and discussion now, as well as serve to generate content for a framework for social justice philanthropy that we can begin layering with examples of existing practice over the course of the next year.” Do join this conversation and tag your social media with #justicefunder.

What is a Justice Funder blog.

Posted on June 3, 2014 by Steve

A new report by the D5 coalition and Forward Change, Philanthropic Paths: An Exploratory Study of the Career Pathways of Professionals of Color in Philanthropy, explores the various paths professionals of color take as they advance to leadership positions in philanthropy as well as the tools that helped them get there and gave them staying power. It provides a nuanced picture of the career experiences of 43 philanthropic professionals of color ranging from Program Officers to CEOs working in an array of foundations.

Through an exploration of the perceptions, analyses, and career histories of people of color working in the philanthropic sector, this study aims to advance the field’s understanding of the following questions:

  1. What are the career pathways of people of color in philanthropy in terms of how they enter the
    field and advance to higher levels of seniority?
  2. What factors do philanthropic professionals of color view as posing the greatest barriers and
    contributors to career advancement in the sector?
  3. What is the perceived value of and...
Posted on May 31, 2014 by SuJ'n

In order to better showcase the work GIA, its members, and other funders and researchers are doing in the areas of racial equity & social justice, we have transformed our previously static Arts and Social Justice page to a more dynamic group page. We have also distinguished Racial Equity as a priority within the broad realm of social justice. This is consistent with the 2013 GIA Board action to make racial equity a core part of our work. While the posts on this page start in mid-year 2014, GIA has been working on race and social justice matters for many years. For a recent history of the work GIA has done in this area, click here.