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 Funding 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.

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...
July 31, 2007 by admin
When I started DJing back in the early '70s, it was just something that we were doing for fun. I came from “the people's choice,” from the street. If the people like you, they will support you and your work will speak for itself. The parties I gave happened to catch on. They became a rite of passage for young people in the Bronx. Then the younger generation came in and started putting their spin on what I had started. I set down the blueprint, and all the architects started adding on this level and that level. Pretty soon, before we even knew it, it had started to evolve. Read More...
June 30, 2006 by admin
October 2005, 200 pages, $19.95. New Village Press, Oakland, CA, 510-420-1361, www.newvillagepress.net A Beginner's Guide to Community-based Arts is a wonderfully designed and accessible training guidebook for teachers, artists, and activists wanting to use art as a vehicle for social change. Lead writer Mat Schwarzman and cartoonist Keith Knight create graphic profiles of ten exemplary practitioners followed by activities, exercises, discussion questions, and resources on how to connect with and develop art emanating out of a particular community. Read More...
June 30, 2006 by admin
2005, 18 pages. Neighborhood Funders Group, 1301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036, 202-833-4690, www.nfg.org Download PDF: www.nfg.org/publications/nfg_25_years.pdf This brief report documents the work of this organization and the growth of the community development field in philanthropy since 1980. Read More...
June 30, 2006 by admin
2005, 82 pages. The Foundation Center, 79 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10003-3076, 212-620-4230. Published in cooperation with the Independent Sector, this report is the first comprehensive analysis of U.S. foundation funding for social justice from 1998 to 2002, based on data that includes all grants of over $10,000 from more than 1,000 of the nation's largest private and community foundations. Read More...
June 30, 2006 by admin
A few years ago, Laura Penn, managing director of Intiman Theatre in Seattle, met me for coffee at the Saint Francis Hotel. I was between sessions of the Independent Sector's (IS) national conference in San Francisco. Laura had never heard of IS and was curious about it. The Independent Sector is a coalition of corporations, foundations, and private voluntary organizations that works to strengthen nonprofit organizations and is committed to advancing the common good in the U.S. Read More...