At the closing plenary of the 2017 GIA Conference, Rip Rapson spoke on how The Kresge Foundation has reasserted its values and called on arts funders and cultural workers to continue to put their own values into action.
“In no time in my memory has it been more important for arts and culture to become part of a larger movement of social justice — helping strengthen the alliances necessary to speak and advance those truths of equity, fairness, and justice that we know to be inviolable.”
Read the full transcript.
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.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy has compiled a list of statements from nonprofit and foundation leaders following the events in Charlottesville, VA, including GIA member Grant Oliphant of The Heinz Endowments. In addition to these, other arts foundation leaders have voiced their responses:
“Even as brazen displays of hatred rightfully appall us, subtle, everyday acts of racism and bigotry need to be rendered just as unacceptable. This is our shared responsibility.”
— Board Chair Meghan Binger Brown and President Kate Wolford, The McKnight Foundation
“Anti-Semitism, like racism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of hate, are alive and well in American political discourse.”
— Sharon Alpert, The Nathan Cummings Foundation
“Whether through our grantmaking, other ways we can best support our partners, or the use of our own voice, we will remain vigilant about how we can play a role, along with many others, to ensure that hate does not prevail.”
— President James Canales, Barr Foundation
“Where we stand will define us for generations to come.”
— CEO Fred Blackwell, The San Francisco Foundation
“Our country’s public officials, thinkers, and artists must respond to this moment by telling the full, unvarnished history.”
— President Earl Lewis, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Barr Foundation President James Canales wrote a statement in response to recent news of racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and President Trump’s subsequent comments:
We at the Barr Foundation add our unequivocal voice to the growing chorus that explicitly renounces the violent expressions of hate and the vile racism and bigotry that we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend. Of course, such sentiments are not isolated to Virginia, and with a President who increasingly empowers these fringe actors, we will see more of it, even in Boston this coming weekend.
That we find ourselves in this moment only reinforces the fact that our work is far from complete on our way to fulfilling this country’s promise of “e pluribus unum.” It is a moment that should lead all of us to decide what we should do, how we can engage, and where we can commit energy and resources to demonstrate unambiguously that there are not “many sides” to moral imperatives such as fighting racism and combatting bigotry in all of its forms.
Read the full statement.
Pam Breaux, CEO of National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, argues that public and private funding are both necessary to fund arts and culture in America:
There is no question as to the public value of the arts and, to be clear, the ongoing debate is not whether the arts have a public benefit, but whether the responsibility to fund the arts should lie with the federal government or private philanthropies. Abundant research points to a clear answer: the private sector alone cannot fund the arts.
Public and private funders have significantly different mandates, and a solely philanthropic arts support model would leave many American communities behind.
Read the full article.
The Council on Foundations had published an informative update on how potential federal tax reforms affecting the charitable deduction (which allows individuals to write off contributions to nonprofits on their taxes) could negatively impact giving to private foundations. To mitigate consequences of changes to the charitable deduction, the Council encourages funders to advocate for “a universal charitable deduction as a part of tax reform.” The update from Council offers detailed information on how private foundations can engage in advocacy and lobbying on this issue.
Learn more from the Council on Foundations.
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.
The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) conducted a survey of foundation leaders about how they are reacting to the new administration, and the degree to which they are making changes as a result. Based on survey responses from 162 CEOs of US independent and community foundations making at least $5 million in grants annually, CEP has released a new report titled Shifting Winds: Foundations Respond to a New Political Context.
The study reveals that the reactions and responses of US foundations to the recent shift in national political context vary widely, but most foundations are changing their practices or shifting their emphases.
A new survey by Exponent Philanthropy shows the vast majority of its members (82%) expect the institution of philanthropy to play a more important role in society as a result of recent changes in Washington, DC. Issued in late March to Exponent Philanthropy’s members – foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors – the informal “Pulse Check” survey looked at how changes today in politics may impact philanthropic behavior in the year ahead, both in terms of giving practices and investments.
Read the full announcement from Exponent Philanthropy.
A recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review discusses how some foundations are using a systems change approach to work toward social change in the current political climate. “A key differentiator for systems change foundations,” author Mark R. Kramer writes, “is that they no longer try to pilot a small-scale program first and then take it to scale later; they confront the system at scale from the start.”
The article describes how systems change foundations approach social issues in ways that “think beyond their grantees” to address the ecosystem of factors which affect communities. Included are statements and examples from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Ford Foundation, T.L.L. Temple Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and others.
Read the article on the Stanford Social Innovation Review.