I’m not certain but I think it has been 15 years since I attended a GIA conference. Much has changed since I was deeply involved in GIA, and for the better. The membership has grown in number and in the kinds of grantmakers who attend. In the early days there were very few public sector grantmakers, trustees, or smaller family foundations. The organization was a home base for staffed private, community, corporate, and family foundations, a place we could gather to share information and ideas. I’m sure fewer people felt like GIA was for them. Compared to GIA’s early years, last week’s conference was more diverse demographically, and courageous in the difficulty of topics brought forward for discussion.
Sarah lutman's Blog
The staff of the John L. and James S. Knight Foundation offered a terrific session on Transmedia Narrative on Tuesday. Presenters were Eric Schoenborn, Creative Director at Knight, and Nicole Chipi, Arts Program Associate. In the three main parts of their presentation, they showed examples of narratives they consider well told; described their internal creative processes for telling Knight’s own stories and how they choose which media to use; and offered advice to other grantmakers for ways to work with grantees to tell their stories effectively and to get their stories out to more people.
Susan Nelson of TDC gave us a healthy dose of her thought leadership in her GIA session with Olive Mosier of the William Penn Foundation. She presented — for the first time — the findings of a new report on Philadelphia cultural institutions that comes five years after the breakthrough study, Getting Beyond Breakeven: A Review of Capitalization Needs and Challenges of Philadelphia’s Arts and Culture Organizations. The 2009 study rocked the national philanthropic boat with its analysis of ways local grantmakers offered a robust but chaotic grants marketplace and showed that more than 70% of Philadelphia organizations had high financial literacy but weren’t able to apply it successfully to their operations. The report spurred both conversation and action across the U.S. and helped inform GIA’s own National Capitalization Project.
Days One and Two at the 2014 GIA conference in Houston have gone by quickly — jam packed days with sessions from early morning (8:00) through evening (9:00 or 10:00 + socializing) and almost no breaks. I have been Tweeting during several sessions @Lutman_Sarah and taking copious notes for future posts that will take some time to compose. So stay tuned.