What We're Reading: “There’s No Going Back.” Six Questions for Sage Crump of the National Performance Network

"In 2016, the New Orleans-based National Performance Network (NPN) launched Leveraging a Network for Equity (LANE) to support arts organizations of color and rural arts organizations. In the ensuing years, the network provided its cohort members with general operating support, technical assistance, and consulting services 'to ensure these organizations can thrive in ways that are consistent with their values.'"

"Fast-forward to July 2022. With the initiative set to wind down, the NPN announced the formation of the Department of Racial Justice and Movement Building to continue and expand the work. In doing so, the network named Sage Crump, who led and helped shape LANE since its inception, as the department’s director."

"What makes me optimistic is the wide range of experiments that I’m watching people try. I am seeing deeper relationships between funders and grantees. I’m seeing a deeper exchange of information and learning," said Crump when asked about what makes her optimistic and pessimistic about philanthropy.

"I get to work with program officers from a wide range of foundations. Some are beginning their learning curves and others are doing all the things that we’re supposed to do and want to be sure they’re aligned with that which is just and right. Going back to what Boggs said about context, more people now are asking important questions about philanthropy — 'What role could and shouldn’t it be playing? What does the road toward its obsolescence look like?'”

"But one of the things that feels haphazard in our field is our political development — where we are doing good things, but not changing the underlying structure. I think doing something good is laudable, but if it doesn’t have a long-term vision, that can still be a stumbling block for us."

Read the full announcement here.