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, Asian, Arab, 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.

June 6, 2023 by Jaime Sharp

"Until 2020 — the year when George Floyd was murdered, setting off a summer of protests demanding racial justice — civil-rights lawyer Ryan Haygood, CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, had never raised a dime from two of the state’s biggest grant makers, the Geraldine R. Dodge and Robert Wood Johnson foundations." said Alex Daniels, Marc Gunther, and Sono Motoyama for The Chronicle of Philanthropy. "Nor had the Rev. Charles Boyer, who leads Salvation and Social Justice, a faith-based nonprofit in Trenton, N.J., that organizes Black churches to advocate on issues of criminal justice, health care, and the wealth and income disparities Black Americans face."

Read More...
May 31, 2023 by Jaime Sharp

From Philanthropy Together: Addressing injustices in our giving circles and in our communities is complex, challenging, yet necessary work — and we need each other to keep learning and growing, wherever we are in our journeys.

The Equity and Justice in Collective Giving Webinar Series offers monthly content to explore themes that deepen our field’s shared commitment to equity.

Read More...
May 30, 2023 by Jaime Sharp

"On Inauguration Day in January 2021, many were left spellbound by Amanda Gorman’s 'The Hill We Climb.' As the youngest inaugural poet and first national youth poet laureate, Gorman’s words were both poignant and powerful." said Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario, Word in Black, for Afro News. "However, as the social media buzz surrounding her delivery began to subside, a critical question arose: how can we ensure that the next generation of Amanda Gormans have the resources they need to succeed?"

Read More...
May 24, 2023 by Jaime Sharp

From The Center for Effective Philanthropy: Across four research studies the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) has conducted in the past two years, we’ve noticed two concerning trends emerge for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Native American nonprofit leaders and communities (trends that we do not see for nonprofit leaders and communities of other races/ethnicities).

This report is co-authored by Ellie Buteau, Katarina Malmgren, and Hannah Martin.

Read the report here.

Read More...
May 23, 2023 by Jaime Sharp

"When Aria Florant, cofounder of Liberation Ventures, told her audience at the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’ 2022 national conference that '[the project of] reparations needs to shock the system, needs to disrupt White supremacist narratives, close the racial wealth gap, and build a culture of repair,' a question that arose for us was: How can we bring the insight and promise of the reparations movement to philanthropy, and how do we best use philanthropy to support the work of reparations?" said Jocelynne Rainey and Lisa Pilar Cowan for Nonprofit Quarterly. "Philanthropies like ours—the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the Brooklyn Community Foundation—that are funding work to address social, economic, and racial injustice must reckon with this contradiction and support the work of reparations."

Read More...
May 17, 2023 by Jaime Sharp

From the Dodge Foundation: At the Dodge Foundation, we are committed to engaging with and learning about racial justice-focused organizations working across the state of New Jersey. We have been supporting these types of organizations through our Imagine a New Way initiative over the last several years, connecting with organizations through intentional outreach and relationship building, and through a community-engaged grantmaking process in our Momentum Fund. Today, we are excited to announce that we are creating a new pathway for connection with racial justice-focused organizations that have not previously had access to the Dodge Foundation through our first-ever “Open Call.”

Read More...
May 9, 2023 by Jaime Sharp

"A major shift is happening in which BIPOC leaders are reclaiming rest, and a newly established philanthropic fund seeks to support it," said Nineequa Blanding for Nonprofit Quarterly. "In Washington state, the BIPOC-ED Coalition—a multicultural, cross-sector collective of nonprofit leaders working to promote community wellness and restoration—has committed $1.37M to fund sabbaticals for BIPOC leaders. Recognizing that rest is essential for healing and social justice, the coalition established a fund, resourced by philanthropic partners, to launch the Sabbatical Leadership Program. This effort enables nonprofit leaders of color to take a break from work and create room for self-care—on their own terms."

Read More...
May 8, 2023 by Jaime Sharp

From the Dodge Foundation: At the Dodge Foundation, we are committed to engaging with and learning about racial justice-focused organizations working across the state of New Jersey. We have been supporting these types of organizations through our Imagine a New Way initiative over the last several years, connecting with organizations through intentional outreach and relationship building, and through a community-engaged grantmaking process in our Momentum Fund. Today, we are excited to announce that we are creating a new pathway for connection with racial justice-focused organizations that have not previously had access to the Dodge Foundation through our first-ever “Open Call.”

Read More...
May 4, 2023 by Jaime Sharp

From ASC: In 2015, ASC began its journey towards cultural equity. Why? Because ASC’s staff and board realized that — to truly achieve the organization’s vision of “Culture for All”— all Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents must have equitable opportunity to participate in the cultural life of our region as audiences, volunteers, artists, administrators, board members and donors. ASC believes that everyone has cultural traditions that are inherently valuable, and that artists, scientists and historians play a unique role in challenging inequities and inspiring human understanding, justice and opportunity for all. 

Read More...
April 19, 2023 by Jaime Sharp

"At the end of last year, the Crenshaw Dairy Mart (CDM), a nonprofit cultural space rooted at the intersection of art and activism, announced its upcoming Fellowship for Abolition and the Advancement of the Creative Economy (CDM-FAACE). The first three artists selected as fellows are Autumn Breon, juice wood, and Oto-Abasi Attah; they will each receive a $100,000 stipend and healthcare," said Matt Stromberg for Hyperallergic. "The theme of the inaugural fellowship is 'Inglewood and Prototyping the Abolitionist Imagination,' stressing the importance of CDM’s location in Inglewood, a historically Black city from the 1960s through the ’90s (though Latinos are now the majority), bordered by South Central LA to the East, the 405 freeway to the West, and the 105 freeway to the South. All three fellows have roots in Inglewood, and they spoke about the impact that restrictive housing covenants (known as redlining) and freeway construction have had on communities of color in South LA."

Read More...