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.

An historical outline of GIA’s recent work in equity is available online, including GIA Reader articles, blog posts, and YouTube videos from past conference keynote sessions.

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.

April 30, 2009 by admin
Claudine Brown wants us to shore ourselves up with knowledge and examples of how much arts and culture are linked to everything we do. With this in mind, she offers us her own kit bag of reasons for sustaining arts and culture programs—and it's a big bag. Read More...
April 30, 2009 by admin
When presidents and CEOs of foundations try to balance a range of equally justifiable social agendas, where are the arts? Sponsored by GIA, six foundation leaders spent a day and a half together discussing just this topic in the summer of 2008. The relevance of their conversation and the preliminary conclusions they drew are perhaps even more urgent today than they were then, as foundations face increasingly serious questions of priority. Read More...
September 30, 2008 by admin
2008, 326 pages. Published by New Village Press, PO Box 3049 Oakland, CA, 94609, 
(510) 420-1361, www.newvillagepress.net Read More...
September 30, 2008 by admin
2008, 77 pages. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, 6 West 48th Street, 10th Floor, New York, NY, 10036, (212) 812-4335, www.rockpa.org http://rockpa.org/pdfs/Philanthropy_in_a_Changing_Society_full.pdf Read More...
May 31, 2008 by admin
2007, 246 pages. The New Press, 38 Greene St., NY, NY, 10013, (212) 629-8802, www.thenewpress.com Read More...
May 31, 2008 by admin
2007, 29 pages. The Media Justice Fund of the Funding Exchange, 666 Broadway Suite 500, NY, NY 10012, (212) 529-5300, www.fex.org/mjf Read More...
August 31, 2007 by admin
Poet, novelist, and dramatist Denise Chávez lives in the borderland between New Mexico and Mexico. There, following in the footsteps of the women of her family, particularly her Tiá Chita (who created a lending library in a small town in Texas), Denise is a founder of the Border Book Festival—creating a sense of community through books and writers. In visiting New Mexico, we wanted GIA members to experience the difference between its northern and southern regions. Read More...
August 31, 2007 by admin
Jeff Chang is widely known for chronicling the story of the hip-hop generation through his book Can't Stop Won't Stop and the recent anthology Total Chaos. In this Taos Journey essay, Chang looks back at the legacy of the multiculturalism movement of the 1960s and '70s; at the last several GIA conferences, grantmakers have gathered to discuss their concerns about crises in important culturally specific organizations formed during that period. Read More...
August 31, 2007 by admin
Changing media policy has affected and will continue to shape how art is made and distributed, whose voices are heard, and who has access to those voices. To take an angle on this multifaceted subject, we invited two articulate media experts into a conversation about their work—work that has profound implications for artists and for social justice activists. Jenny Toomey, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, interviews Loris Taylor, executive director of Native Public Media. Read More...
August 31, 2007 by admin
2006, 66 pages. Haigh-Scatena Foundation, P.O. Box 4399, Davis, CA 95617, 530-758-5327 This book by Ronald W. Clement, who has worked as both a grantmaker and grant seeker, details ways in which grantmakers can foster social change. Clement uses his forty years of experience in the field of social change to elucidate the obstacles that funders face Read More...