Racial Equity

Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) is committed to addressing structural inequities and increasing philanthropic and government support for African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) artists and arts organizations. Racial equity is a lens through which GIA aims to conduct all of its work, as well as a specific area of its programming.

Since 2008, GIA has been elevating racial equity as a critical issue affecting the field. To actualize this work within the sector, GIA published its Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy Statement of Purpose in 2015. Through webinars, articles, convenings, and conference sessions, GIA provides training and information to support arts funders in addressing historic and structural inequity.

When referring to issues of racial equity, GIA uses the racial and ethnic identifiers African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American. GIA does not ask that anyone self-identify with or use any term other than ones they prefer. We use African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American – represented using the acronym ALAANA – because we believe the term, “people of color,” conflates together entire groups of people and as a contrast to white. This results in a continued centering of whiteness as the norm and the standard from which other identities deviate.

Similarly, GIA does not refer to organizations that are founded by, led by, and feature the work of ALAANA communities as “culturally-specific,” as we believe this term also centers whiteness as the norm from which other organizations deviate.

The term “ALANA” emerged from institutions of higher learning. Dr. Donald Brown, director of the Office of AHANA Student Programs at Boston College, developed the acronym which now is used at over 50 colleges and universities including Brown, Vassar, and Colgate.

“The term AHANA [ALANA] is not degrading, inaccurate, or stereotypical,” stated several undergraduate students to the Boston College Board of Trustees in 1978. “It is creative, unique, and symbolic of pride. AHANA [ALANA] was not developed to segregate its members from the remainder of the Campus community. It was developed to unite its members for the good of all and to inspire cultural awareness and destroy the void among students of different racial backgrounds. We do not want to feel ‘minor’.” The students argued that “minority” was an offensive and unacceptable term when applied to people of color.

At Canisius College, with the substitution of "Latino/a" for Hispanic, AHANA became ALANA. This change resulted from the fact that many people consider themselves Latinx rather than Hispanic. In the 2000s, GIA added a fourth “A” to include Arab Americans.

Our hope is that the terminology African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) is received as naming and honoring every racialized group in the U.S. GIA recognizes that no terms are perfect. We do not seek to impose language on members of any group and respect the manner in which anyone prefers to self-identify.

November 26, 2018 by Carmen Graciela Díaz
A new book, "Decolonizing Wealth," challenges colonial dynamics in philanthropy and finance, philanthropy's white supremacist legacy, and the little investment and support of POC-led efforts in communities as result of those dynamics. Read More...
November 19, 2018 by Carmen Graciela Díaz
The article How Grantmakers Can Use Power Mindfully to Advance Equity, part of the "Power in Philanthropy" series presented by Stanford Social Innovation Review and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, addresses that even if there may be barriers to utilizing power ethically and responsibly, "funders can —and must—overcome them to truly advance equity and justice." Read More...
November 9, 2018 by Carmen Graciela Díaz
In a recent interview with Philanthropy News Digest, Lori Villarosa, founder and executive director of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE), discussed racial equity, racial justice, and how the philanthropic field is working towards a more just society. Read More...
October 29, 2018 by admin
   Oakland Youth Poets Laureate (1.6Mb) For the Black menmy love cannot protect,you are radiant.Your eloquence is the gunthey swear you have when they shoot you.The speed of your tongueis justification to stand their ground.Your existence is the antithesis of their contentment,for the world is not prepared for you to succeed.You are powerful.Read More...
October 28, 2018 by admin
   Culture, Equity, and Cities (1.5Mb) Have you ever begun to just notice something and then suddenly you see it everywhere. Then you wonder, have I been out of it, or did this just become a thing?”Read More...
October 28, 2018 by admin
Today, Regina’s Door in Oakland serves as a healing artistic space for survivors of sex trafficking, as well as a launching pad for theatrical productions featuring the stories and performances of survivors. Its start came in 2014, when Regina Evans decided she needed to do something to help her community. “We have young girls being brutalized every day. In Oakland trafficking is very hidden, but if you go down International Boulevard, you also see very young girls — twelve, thirteen, fourteen years old, and you know they’re being raped,” she said.Read More...
October 3, 2018 by Carmen Graciela Díaz
After a yearlong process of introspection and conversations with grantee partners, the Surdna Foundation recently announced its refined program strategy, "Radical Imagination for Racial Justice." Read More...
October 1, 2018 by Carmen Graciela Díaz
A discussion tool to encourage racial equity in the review and selection process of artists and arts organizations was recently launched to interrogate and apply a racial equity lens to every step of the grantmaking process. Read More...
September 26, 2018 by Carmen Graciela Díaz
The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) released recently a report that showcases funding disparities for Latino arts and cultural organizations in Houston, Texas during the period 2010-2015. Read More...
September 5, 2018 by Carmen Graciela Díaz
"Centering the voice and leadership of Black folks in driving social change should be a top priority for all foundations and philanthropic organizations working to advance racial equity." Tasha Tucker, program director of Racial Justice Grants & Mission Investing at Trinity Wall Street, pointed that out in a post reflecting on Black Philanthropy Month. Read More...