Racial Equity

Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) is committed to addressing structural inequities and increasing philanthropic and government support for BIPOC artists and arts organizations. Racial equity is a lens through which GIA aims to conduct all of its work, as well as a specific area of its programming.

Since 2008, GIA has been elevating racial equity as a critical issue affecting the field. To actualize this work within the sector, GIA published its Racial Equity in Arts Funding Statement of Purpose in 2015. Through webinars, articles, convenings, and conference sessions, GIA provides training and information to support arts funders in addressing historic and structural inequity through their grantmaking practices as part of an effort for racial justice as a means toward justice for all.

GIA believes that all oppressed groups should benefit from funding. We give primacy to race because racism is the means by which oppressed groups are manipulated into opposing programs that assist them. Therefore, Grantmakers in the Arts’ equity work – including our discussions of support for trans artists, artists with disabilities and for disability arts – is NOT race-exclusive but IS race-explicit. GIA’s vision for the future of our work is to increasingly reveal how the liberation of all oppressed people is interdependent.

GIA has made a strategic decision to foreground racial equity in our work for several reasons:

  • Within other oppressed peoples’ communities (including women, members of the lgbtqi community, people with disabilities, and others), it has been well-documented that people of color still face the worst social outcomes.
  • GIA feels that others’ strategies of combining considerations of race with other considerations too often result in racialized people being pushed into the background or ignored.
  • The U.S.’ creation of race was established to keep oppressed peoples separate.

Unless we articulate our support for racialized peoples, while calling out this separation strategy, we inadvertently reinforce this separation strategy.

Specific themes of our racial equity programming include:

  • The analysis of how funding practices create structural challenges for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color/ALAANA (African, Latinx, Arab, Asian, Native-American) organizations (Eurocentric quality standards, matching requirements, among others).
  • The impact of these practices, as manifest in racialized disparities in levels of funding.
  • An exploration of the use of coded language to justify racial inequity (i.e. referring to white audiences as “general” or “mainstream,” while organizations of color are “culturally-specific.”

When it comes to self-identifying language, GIA seeks to use terms that communicate our respect. We do not seek to impose language on members of any group. We respect the manner in which anyone prefers to self-identify.When referring to issues of racial equity, “we use the term BIPOC to highlight the unique relationship to whiteness that Indigenous and Black people have, which shapes the experiences of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a U.S. context.” We take this explanation and practice from the BIPOC Project.

GIA has also used the racial and ethnic identifiers African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American. We have used African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American – represented using the acronym ALAANA – because we know that many believe the term, “people of color,” conflates together entire groups of people and as a contrast to white. This results in a continued centering of whiteness as the norm and the standard from which other identities deviate.

GIA does not refer to organizations that are founded by, led by, and feature the work of ALAANA/BIPOC communities as “culturally-specific,” as we believe this term centers whiteness as the norm from which other organizations deviate.

GIA is committed to communicating respectfully. GIA does not ask that anyone self-identify with or use any term other than ones they prefer.

July 27, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) recently announced a financial and organizational assessment of the IABD dance company membership. The research, The Black Report: What You Thought You Knew About Black Dance", analyzes a sample of 30 Black-led dance companies from across the United States, details the announcement.

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July 20, 2020 by admin

The full transcript of this podcast is published below.
Explore the full GIA podcast.

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July 20, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

Responding to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism in the US, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation announced additional grantmaking actions both on COVID-19 and on combating racism, including three new anti-racism grants.

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July 13, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

In a recent piece, Gary Stewart reflects on Forbes on Black Lives Matters and the importance impact investment and foundations operating within the scope of program related investments can have in this moment.

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July 9, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

The coronavirus pandemic and the uprisings over police brutality and systemic racism have had a clear impact in communications in the philanthropic field, as a recent survey conducted by the Communications Network and Atlantic 57 has revealed.

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June 23, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

Belonging in Oakland: A Just City Cultural Fund is a new multi-year program that will fund Oakland cultural practitioners of color to radically reimagine a racially just city, according to the recent announcement.

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June 22, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

"Racial equity is about shifting power and resources. It involves dismantling AND rebuilding systems," said Angelique Power, president of The Field Foundation of Illinois in a recent interview with La Piana Consulting.

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June 18, 2020 by admin

It’s a great holiday to be sharing with each of you today, Juneteenth! As we gather – remotely – to honor and celebrate the power and jubilation of this day, liberation for ancestors and elders, we hope to echo the voices and experiences of Black artists who have brought us joy, made us feel seen, challenged, supported, and taught us so much. We come here with deep gratitude and deeper commitment to investing in a future of liberation for Black peoples everywhere.

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June 15, 2020 by admin

Throughout this resource hub, we aim to amplify funds and resources that explicitly center Black artists, cultural communities, and experiences. Additionally, we borrow a lens from the BIPOC project1 that centers Black and Indigenous folks - whose experiences shape relationships for all ALAANA/POC people’s relationships with white supremacy culture – as another dimension of resource and financial investment intended to realize justice.

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