Why Equity Matters from Grantmakers in the Arts

Why Equity Matters: New Ideas and Action Steps

Judi Jennings, Angelique Power, F. Javier Torres, and Holly Sidford

A new level of debate about equity began when the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) released its report Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy, by Holly Sidford, at the October 2011 GIA conference in San Francisco. Many philanthropists and practitioners spoke out strongly, both for and against the report’s argument that arts and culture funding is not keeping pace with changes in demographics, aesthetics, civic participation, education, and economic development. Since then, new writings and learning experiences, some of which are highlighted later in this article, as well as activities on local, regional, and national levels, have raised further questions about equity:

  • Is equity about access, outreach, and distribution of philanthropic funds?
  • Or is it about the essential roles that art and culture play in public life and social well-being?
  • How does equity in arts and cultural funding relate to racial and ethnic equity?
  • What about equity in arts and culturally based economic development?

The four of us offer information and varied perspectives about what equity means to us and to our work. We include positive pathways for advancing equity in workplaces, philanthropic guidelines, and practices throughout the field. By reviewing important recent learning experiences and raising hard questions, we aim to inspire further discussion and actions about why advancing equity matters.

Read the full article here.

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