Americans for the Arts announced Diving into Racial Equity: The MAP Fund’s Exploration, a case study that delves into the MAP Fund's racial equity in arts and culture grantmaking, its efforts to change practices toward this goal, and how it has activated the framework "Aesthetic Perspectives", to help mitigate bias in proposal review.
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Media companies, both legacy and new ones, "still don’t accurately reflect the reality of this country amid our shifting demographics," writes Farai Chideya, program officer in the Creativity and Expressions team at the Ford Foundation, in a recent article.
Ben Hecht, president & CEO of Living Cities, a collective of 19 of the world’s wealthiest philanthropic and financial institutions, writes in The Chronicle of Philanthropy of their journey "to embed racial equity in our culture, which means becoming more accountable to the communities we serve and addressing the root causes of inequality."
I am honored to have this opportunity to interview Gary Steuer, president and CEO of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. Gary is a respected colleague, a member of Grantmakers in the Arts’ board of directors, and co-chair of the GIA Denver Conference Planning Committee for the upcoming annual conference. I am pleased to note that Bonfils-Stanton has been embracing equity in their support of Denver’s nonprofit community, including its arts organizations.
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A cultural nonprofit that supports visual artists in Chicago, Threewalls, announced that it will award $900,000 to artists who identify as African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA), according to Artforum. The initiative was launched after Threewalls received $1.2 million from the Surdna Foundation.
Marcus Walton, the new president and CEO of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), previous co-director of Racial Equity Initiatives (REI) at Borealis Philanthropy, reflected recently on some of the learnings from his work at Borealis that he hopes to bring with him to GEO.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become major topics of conversation in arts and culture within the past decade. Studies have shown that there is a marked lack of DEI in all areas of the sector, including audiences, artistic offerings, governing boards, professional staff, and financial support. Compounding this issue is the rapidly changing demographic makeup of the United States; it is estimated that by 2042, people of color will no longer be in the minority.
In a recent blog post, Living Cities -a collaborative of foundations and financial institutions working to close racial gaps- shares the lessons they have learned from Racial Equity Here, an initiative that supports five cities committed to improving racial equity.
As a society and country, we continue to struggle with the legacy of racism and the structural barriers that have been created to privilege some while oppressing others. Building racial equity and social justice takes dedication, inspiration, honesty, and a willingness to admit and learn from our failures. There are no foolproof guides or programs, nor one right path to achieving racial equity. It becomes a daily practice to question norms and work to make change.