Supporting a Thriving Bay Area Performing Arts Ecosystem: A Mid-Point Assessment of the Hewlett Foundation's Performing Arts Program

Supporting a Thriving Bay Area Performing Arts Ecosystem: A Mid-Point Assessment of the Hewlett Foundation's Performing Arts Program

An evaluation of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's strategic framework for its Performing Arts Program, implemented in 2012 following a budget cut, finds that its multiyear grants, general operating support, capacity and infrastructure support, and intermediary grantmaking have been essential to the Bay Area's arts ecosystem. The report, Supporting a Thriving Bay Area Performing Arts Ecosystem: A Mid-Point Assessment of the Hewlett Foundation's Performing Arts Program (42 pages, PDF), examined the program's accomplishments through 2014 of the 2012-17 framework and found that the total amount awarded and the number of grantees were only slightly below 2008 levels. In 2014, 73 percent of its grants were awarded for general operating support, 14 percent for specific performances or productions, and 12 percent for organizational effectiveness activities. Of the program's three focus areas, continuity and engagement accounted for 56 percent of total 2014 grant dollars, arts education for 26 percent, and infrastructure for 18 percent. Recommendations for the program include supporting audience engagement efforts; facilitating networking, collaboration, and learning among grantees doing similar work; prioritizing capacity-building grants; and increasing grant dollars as well as funding for regranting intermediaries in support of underserved communities.