Funders Taking Action

In response to changes in the national political climate, many arts funders are interested in developing new grant programs and/or modifying existing programs to meet emergent or ongoing needs in the arts community.

ArtPlace Presidents Write a Joint Letter in Support of the NEA

Following the Trump Administration’s 2019 budget request that proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), among other cultural agencies, the foundation presidents who fund ArtPlace released a statement in support of cultural federal agencies and their role in strengthening communities.

“If we lose federal agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts, we will not only lose significant direct investments in communities across all 50 states, we also lose the infrastructure that brings us together as one United States of America,” write the letter’s authors.

This statement follows a letter sent by the Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) board of directors impressing upon Congress the urgent need to support appropriations funding for the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) at the highest levels proposed by either the House or Senate’s 2018 appropriations bills, and to reject outright the elimination of these agencies as proposed by the budget request.

Read the full letter here.

Read GIA’s letter.

The Resilience Fund

In February 2017, the Greater Washington Community Foundation (Washington, DC) in partnership with the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, established the Resilience Fund to respond to the critical needs of nonprofits working to support our region’s vulnerable communities as a result of changes in federal policy. To date, we have surpassed our $500,000 fundraising goal and extended it to $1 million total. The Fund announced its first round of grantees in August 2017, and an emergency grant in early September in response to the President’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Learn more.

Defending the Dream Fund Supports Community Organizing in the Trump Era

The Hill-Snowdon Foundation, General Service Foundation, Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation, the Whitman Institute and other partners have announced the 2nd round of the Defending the Dream Fund.  The Defending the Dream Fund was launched in April 2017 to help fund grassroots community organizing groups address a variety of new and urgent threats related to Trump era policies or practices at the federal, state or local level.  These threats continue to evolve and emerge and the second round of the Defending the Dream Fund seeks to support:

  • Community Organizing & Power Building
  • Multiple Issues, Immediate, Mid and Long-term & Intersectional Work
  • State and Local level organizing

Priority will be given to grassroots community based organizations with budgets under $1 million; as well as work that is focused on under-resourced regions of the country (e.g. the South, Mid-West, etc.).

Learn more about the Defending the Dream Fund.

Northern California Grantmakers to Host Event on Fighting Intolerance

With support from Gerbode Foundation, Tides, The California Wellness Foundation, and Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers will host a live event for grantmakers on “Fighting Intolerance in the Bay Area and Beyond.” From the event page:

Join us for a thought-provoking and insightful program with local and national experts on these complex issues, and come learn about what funders can do to help overcome these challenges. Our speakers will share their strategies in education, policy, organizing, communications, and other critical social change methodologies.

Learn more.

NEA Announces Grants to Support the Arts in Every U.S. State and Jurisdiction

From the National Endowment for the Arts:

As the only funder in the country to support arts activities in all 50 states and five U.S. jurisdictions, the National Endowment for the Arts announces its second round of funding for FY 2017. This funding round includes partnerships with state, jurisdictional, and regional arts agencies. The NEA will award 1,195 grants totaling $84.06 million to support organizations that employ artists and cultural workers to provide programs for thousands of people from Idaho to Maine; in urban centers such as Cleveland, Ohio and Dallas, Texas; and in rural towns as different as Haines, Alaska and Whitesburg, Kentucky.

Read the full announcement.

Nathan Cummings Foundation Increases Grantmaking, Plans Policy Changes to Support Grantees on the ‘Front Lines’

In a recent letter address to the field of philanthropy, President & CEO Sharon Alpert of The Nathan Cummings Foundation writes about how the foundation is adapting its practices to serve grantees on the “front lines” of injustice:

Our board was clear that this was no time for business as usual.  Gathered around our board table, we made the unanimous decision to increase our payout in 2017 and 2018, and to join with and encourage other philanthropic organizations to do the same.

We engaged our grantees through in-person conversations and an online survey, which brought us deep insights into the ways our grantees are responding to these challenging times and what they need from us now. Those insights have shaped our response in four primary ways.

Read the full statement from The Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Barr Foundation Announces Grants Supporting Freedom of Press

Barr Foundation has announced a set of grant awards totaling $1.43 million to support freedom of the press. This is the second set of grants in Barr’s 2017 Special Initiative, responding to dramatic shifts in the national context, to increased polarization, and to growing concerns about equity and opportunity for vulnerable populations.

Read more from Barr Foundation.

Funders Collaborate to Host Training on Digital Security for Artists

From Robert W. Deutsch Foundation:

From political dissent and protests against injustice, to influencing the public discourse and criticizing actions of the government, artists and cultural workers have been at the forefront of social change using creativity to help shift the way people think about the world. Now more than ever, artists and cultural workers need to protect their data and communications on digital platforms given the ways in which the Internet and new mobile technologies can increase the threat of mass surveillance and digital discrimination.

On Saturday, March 4, the ​Media Democracy Fund and Robert W. Deutsch Foundation co-sponsored a training session for artists and activists at Open Works. The workshop was free and focused on privacy and security tools for mobile phones, computers, and Internet usage.

Read more.

City of Seattle Forms Rapid Response Policy Coalition

In response to federal policy changes, the City of Seattle has formed a Rapid Response Policy Coalition, a group of City staff, private sector attorneys, non-profit staff, and other policy experts to offer analyses and action items on federal executive orders and legislation. The coalition has published a number of articles detailing the potential local impacts of federal policy in healthcare, arts, museums and libraries, and other sectors, including the following: