Arts Groups Receive Grants for New Phase of Equity Initiative

The Nonprofit Finance Fund and the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network have announced the selection of six arts organizations to participate in a new phase of an initiative aimed at addressing sustainability challenges created by systemic financial inequities in the country's arts and culture sector.

Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the initiative, Leveraging a Network for Equity (LANE), is a multimillion-dollar collaboration of NFF and NPN/VAN to build the capacity and organizational health of arts organizations that often are overlooked by mainstream funders. The organizations selected to participate have deep connections to their communities, have worked to achieve equity within their organizations, and exemplify innovative solutions to a demographically changing field. Organizations selected to participate in the current phase of the initiative include the Carpetbag Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee; the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas in Seattle, Washington; Junebug Productions in New Orleans, Louisiana; Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana in San Jose, California; the Myrna Loy Center in Helena, Montana; and Su Teatro in Denver, Colorado.

Over the next four years, the groups will receive expert assistance and access to significant capital investments to strengthen their business models and fundraising strategies, with the goal of also informing shifts in the sector at large. Among the activities the cohort will participate in is a three-day Financial Leadership Clinic, during which each organization will receive a customized financial analysis of its business model dynamics, insights into how to effectively communicate its financial needs and goals, and help articulating objectives that inform its activities over the next four years.

"These organizations preserve and innovate aesthetics that are not often well-represented in mainstream venues, though their contributions are vital to the cultural expression and legacy of their communities," said Sage Crump, LANE program specialist at NPN/VAN. "The entire NPN/VAN network will benefit from work addressing shared challenges, such as gentrification and displacement of core audiences, limited staff capacity, and facilities-related issues."