How to Select and Run Successful, Stress-Free Panels

Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 2:00 EST / 11:00 PST

  • Frances Phillips, Program Director for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund, Walter and Elise Haas Fund
  • Jason Schupbach, Director of Design Programs, National Endowment for the Arts

Session 1 of the 10-part 2014 Web Conference Series

A recording of this presentation is available here.

Web conferences are free to the staff and board of GIA member organizations. The fee for nonmembers is $35. If you have already registered for another web conference in the 2014 series, please click the Register now! button and login, then click Agenda.


After a successful first run in 2010, GIA has invited Frances Phillips and Patrice Walker Powell to reprise, with added material and insights, their web conference on grants review panel management.

A lively, thoughtful grants review panel can be a high point in a program officer’s work. At the same time, there’s nothing worse than an imbalanced, ill-prepared, or over-zealous committee. No single formula will ensure a great panel meeting; but the speakers will share advice about staff planning, recruiting for balance, committee/panel orientation, compatibility, and rigor. They will touch upon issues including ethical questions, finding panel talent, tools for shaping decision-making, clarifying and controlling the staff’s role, and pros and cons of working toward consensus. They’ll even share a few panel issues that inspired on-the-spot problem-solving.

Presenter Bios:
Frances Phillips is program director for arts and the Creative Work Fund at the Walter and Elise Haas Fund in San Francisco. The Creative Work Fund awards grants of $10,000-$40,000 to artists creating new works in collaboration with nonprofit organizations. Since its inception in 1994, the Creative Work Fund has awarded more than $10 million to 296 projects. Annual panels composed of artists and arts professionals assist in the Fund’s review process.

Prior to her foundation work, Phillips was executive director of Intersection for the Arts (1986-94)—San Francisco’s oldest alternative arts space—and director of the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University (1983-86). She teaches grantwriting and creative writing at San Francisco State University.

Frances is board chair of Community Initiatives, one of California’s largest fiscal sponsorship organizations, and serves on the boards of Great Nonprofits and Kelsey Street Press. She also is co-editor of the Grantmakers in the Arts Reader, author of three small press books of poetry, and is the former poetry review editor for The Hungry Mind Review. With Stan Hutton, she recently co-authored The Nonprofit Kit for Dummies (Wiley, 2014).

Jason Schupbach is the Director of Design Programs for the National Endowment for the Arts, where he oversees all design and creative placemaking grantmaking and partnerships, including Our Town and Design Art Works grants, the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, and the NEA's involvement in the HUD Sandy Recovery Taskforce Rebuild by Design Competition. Previous to his current position, Jason served as the Creative Economy Director for Massachusetts. In that job he focused on the nexus of creativity, innovation and technology to grow the innovation industries cluster in the state. He formerly was the director of ArtistLink, a Ford Foundation initiative to stabilize and revitalize communities through the creation of affordable space and innovative environments for creatives. He has also worked for the Mayor of Chicago and New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs.