Building Political Will and Resources for Cultural Equity Funding
Monday, October 22, 10:00am – 11:30am
Organized and moderated by Robynn Takayama, program officer of Community Investments, San Francisco Arts Commission.
Presented by Brad Erickson, executive director, Theater Bay Area; Vinay Patel, executive director, Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center; and Pamela Peniston, artistic director, Queer Cultural Center.
Helicon Collaborative’s report, Not Just Money: Equity Issues in Cultural Philanthropy, revealed a disappointing trend in support for historically marginalized communities in the ten cities studied… except San Francisco. In the ’90s, a grassroots movement of San Francisco cultural leaders charted a visionary course to establish the Cultural Equity Endowment Fund with funding from a hotel tax so that all cultures have the financial resources for full cultural expression. With this funding, the San Francisco Arts Commission distributes approximately $3M annually to individual artists and arts organizations identifying with a historically marginalized community. At the same time, efforts to fortify the legislation included ballot initiatives that would increase funding for the arts ecosystem while placing a special focus on equity. In this session, organizers involved with the campaigns will provide an overview of how they galvanized the political will to pass the original legislation and the opportunities and challenges they’ve faced in bolstering it. Aspects include gaining consensus between small- and large- budget organizations, how to work with elected officials, and messaging. Attendees will then meet in small groups to workshop their own pathway.