Support for Creativity in Every Community

Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 2:00 EDT / 11:00 PDT [PASSED]

  • Roberto Bedoya, Executive Director, Tucson Pima Arts Council
  • Tom DeCaigny, Director of Cultural Affairs, San Francisco Arts Commission
  • Jill Paulsen, Deputy Director, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

Session 6 of the 10-part 2014 Web Conference Series

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.


For decades, arts funders have been supporting creativity in communities where people live, and no groups are positioned to do this more effectively and efficiently than local arts agencies. Included in the missions of these governmental and nonprofit organizations is a mandate taken very seriously: service to all who live there. This webinar will feature a few extraordinary programs, both new and longstanding, that reflect a commitment to what some might describe as "underserved populations" and others might describe as communities within communities where a sense of shared experience, family, heritage, and culture provides inspiration for artists and audiences. Building on the challenge to engage communities, these three organizations have deliberately maintained programs to support diverse art forms and artists.

Jill Paulsen of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture will discuss their co-funding of thirty-five resident-led arts and culture programs through Cleveland Foundation’s grassroots community-building Neighborhood Connections Program; and Tom DeCaigny will provide an overview of San Francisco Art Commission’s Cultural Equity Grants, given to arts organizations and individual artists to nurture the continuing growth of a vibrant and diverse arts ecosystem, with an emphasis on culturally specific and historically underserved communities. Roberto Bedoya, Tucson Pima Arts Council, will present on their PLACE Initiative Grants, which were designed to leverage and enhance resources and talent to implement arts-based civic engagement projects that deal with issues of cross-cultural understanding, tolerance, and/or civil society.

Presenter Bios:
Roberto Bedoya has consistently supported arts-based civic engagement projects and advocated for expanded definitions of inclusion and belonging throughout his career. As executive director of the Tucson Pima Arts Council, he established the innovative PLACE (People, Land, Arts, Culture, and Engagement) Initiative to support projects in Tucson. Bedoya’s tenure as executive director of the National Association of Artists’ Organizations (NAAO) from 1996 to 2001 included serving as co-plaintiff in the lawsuit Finley vs. NEA. His essays “U.S. Cultural Policy: Its Politics of Participation, Its Creative Potential” and “Creative Placemaking and the Politics of Belonging and Dis-Belonging” reframed the discussion on cultural policy to shed light on exclusionary practices in cultural policy decision-making. Bedoya is also a poet, whose work has appeared in numerous publications, and an art consultant, with projects for Creative Capital Foundation, the Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Urban Institute.
Tom DeCaigny is the director of cultural affairs for the City and County of San Francisco. He oversees the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), a $20 million City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts sector, leading cultural policy, and creating an enhanced urban environment. Before his 2012 appointment, Tom was an independent consultant and strategist in the fields of arts and culture, youth development, and education. He served nine years as executive director of Performing Arts Workshop, a San Francisco-based organization dedicated to helping marginalized young people develop critical thinking, creative expression, and basic learning skills through the arts. He helped found an arts middle school for youth in the juvenile justice system, managed the AIDS Memorial Quilt’s National Youth Education Program, and conducted research for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. He is a 2007 alumnus of the LeaderSpring fellowship program and was invited to present at the first-ever UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education in Lisbon, Portugal. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the California Alliance for Arts Education and is a prior co-chair of LYRIC, an LGBTQQ youth community center in San Francisco. Tom has a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from Macalester College in St. Paul, and currently resides in San Francisco.
As deputy director, Jill Paulsen oversees Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s grantmaking programs, strategy, research, and evaluation. She’s committed to building strong relationships with CAC’s cultural partners and strives to help connect the work of arts and cultural organizations to the needs of our community.

Prior to joining CAC in 2011, Jill was a program officer at the Cleveland Foundation, overseeing a portfolio of nearly $18 million for more than 75 grantees representing arts and culture, economic development, education, and health/human service organizations. In addition to her experience in public and community foundation philanthropy, Jill served as the first fellow at the George Gund Foundation, Ohio’s largest family foundation. Jill was also a grantmaking consultant to the Corporation for National and Community Service (Washington, DC) and worked at the Minnesota AIDS Project in her hometown of Minneapolis.

Jill is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Grinnell College with bachelor’s degrees in French and sociology, and has a Master’s degree in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University. She is a graduate of the Wilder Foundation’s James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, the Diversity Center’s Lead Diversity program, and the YWCA Momentum women’s executive leadership program. She is on the board of Care Alliance community health center and chairs the AIDS Funding Collaborative advisory board. Jill is a resident of downtown Cleveland.

Questions from Online Session

Note: The following are questions that were not addressed during the web conference session due to time constraints. We’ve asked the presenters to consider them and present their answers here.

Questions to Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

Is Cuyahoga Arts & Culture hands-on with the Neighborhood work? Or does NC take lead? Any other partner funders?

Jill Paulsen: Cuyahoga Arts & Culture funds the program – but trusts Neighborhood Connections, an affiliate of the Cleveland Foundation, to handle day-to-day operations and long-term program strategy. As I noted in my presentation, volunteer grantmaking committee members (all residents of Cleveland and East Cleveland) make the funding decisions. We have a Shared Expectations agreement with Neighborhood Connections that ensures we work together as partners (in handling communications, PR, spreading the word about the program to potential applicants, and offering technical assistance to grant recipients, as well as for providing feedback to each other to keep the partnership strong). There are no other current funders besides the founding-core funder (Cleveland Foundation) and CAC; one past funder was Living Cities.

Did Cuyahoga go through a cultural planning — or a broad based community planning process?

Jill: CAC has not conducted a broad-based community planning process since it first started grantmaking in 2008. That noted, we seek and incorporate stakeholder feedback into every stage of our grantmaking work. Additionally, the Cuyahoga community came together in 2000 to develop a regional cultural plan, part of which set the goal of increasing public funds for arts and culture (which led to the creation of CAC).

What measurable outcomes have you shared with funders to raise dollars for these programs? Which have been most effective?

Jill: CAC is a subdivision of the state of Ohio; we have a dedicated revenue source and therefore do not fundraise for our grantmaking.

Question to Tucson Pima Arts Council

Does TPAC share their evaluation development and findings with area funders and nonprofits?

Roberto Bedoya: YES… We are active dialogue with our philanthropic peers about our impact areas. For more information about our evaluation efforts, see our report.

Questions for All Presenters

How do you see equitable grantmaking occurring in communities/regions that are not as diverse or have the breath (and depth) of financial resources that the cities/communities that you represent?

Jill: Being committed to issues of equity and inclusion — if it’s an organizational value — can and should occur regardless of your foundation/agency grantmaking budget or your community’s exact make-up (race, ethnicity, ability, age, gender, socio-economics, sexual orientation, etc). I recommend the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy, as well as the D5 Coalition’s work to increase philanthropy’s diversity, equity and inclusiveness, for additional resources.

Are any of you using tax policy to enhance your strategic objectives?

Jill: N/A.
Roberto: Not in my case. TPAC is supported by the general fund.

Do you have materials/info available on capacity building and leadership development efforts? Program(s) structure(s)? Assessments — what is or isn’t working?

Jill: For additional information on capacity building programs that Cuyahoga Arts & Culture offers its cultural partners, visit our website at
Roberto: For engagement work let me suggest Animating Democracy .. there are a good source. We have also worked with Creative Capital (NYC) and the Center for Performance and Civic Practice (Chicago). We facilitate a peer learning network among the PLACE Grantee who meet on an ad-hoc basis to share information about their process — what’s working and what’s not working.

What type initial engagement activities did you use to bring the community together?

Roberto: PLACE awards are artists driven projects and as such the artists and their partners define the engagement activities. Our grant guideline articulate the principle behind the initiative. Must projects are multidisciplinary in form.

What is the level of risktaking that your agency is willing to take in dealing with these new projects?

Jill: We see modest investments like the one we made in Neighborhood Connections (less than $200,000 over 2 years) as an opportunity to test new ideas and inform all our grant programs (which will total more than $15M in 2014). By viewing this work as a learning opportunity (an ‘R&D test kitchen’ that informs all our work), it’s less about taking risks and more about investing in the future of our work and our community.
Roberto: Not much… given the shooting of January 8 of Gabby Giffords… the general public has been very supported of building social cohesion and PLACE is seen as part of this effort.

What percentage of your overall grantmaking dollars, are going specifically to communities of color and/or immigrant/refugee communities?

Jill: CAC does not currently track its grantmaking by race/ethnicity/nationality of residents served.