Amplifying Arts and Equity in Philanthropy

Grantmakers in the Arts is delighted to share this year’s “Foundation Grants to Arts and Culture, 2016.” In their analysis, Candid (formerly Foundation Center) has included both grants made by foundations directly supporting culture through arts portfolios and grants in support of culture through Grantmakers in the Arts is grateful to amplify the work of other grantmakers – in such fields as education, community and economic development, climate justice, and information and communications – who also see the value of arts and culture as part of their work. This arts funding at the intersection approach is one which GIA recognizes culture as essential to all social change within the larger social sector.

As we saw in Steven Lawrence’s “Arts Funding at Twenty-Five,” from 2000-2014, foundation giving to arts and culture rose as an absolute number (from $3.7b to $4.9b) but fell as a percentage of foundation giving (from 13% to 8%). After inflation, that is a 3% decline.

Most recently, however, we have seen a 10% increase in support for culture by foundations, as Candid (formerly Foundation Center) reports in the upcoming issue of the GIA Reader. This huge increase occurs as overall giving by foundations has increased 2%. Arts and culture rose as foundations’ priority from sixth place to fifth place. We at Grantmakers in the Arts are delighted to see this trend and emboldened in our efforts advocating for the inclusion of culture – of artists and culture bearers – across fields and movements.

Another encouraging data point is greater than usual general operating support grants from foundations to cultural organizations. We encourage flexible giving, such as general operating support, through our Capitalization and Community Workshops with Rebecca Thomas Associates. Sixty percent (60%) of workshop participants reported that they have changed their giving practices since participating in GIA’s Capitalization and Community Workshops. We encourage flexible giving as one of the means by which grantmakers and organizations partner to fulfill both their missions together for our collective benefit.

Cultural expression is a part of all things, must be valued as such, and must be supported as flexibly, responsively, and in a manner as marked by trust as possible. Grantmakers in the Arts is grateful to Candid (formerly Foundation Center) for including the integration of culture in other grantmaking portfolios as part of their analysis of foundation giving. We are grateful to see the arts so well represented in other grantmaking portfolios. And we are grateful to see giving to arts and culture increasing. The arts have both intrinsic and adventitious value. We must support arts and culture in as many ways as possible.