Respond, Recover, Reimagine: How funders are addressing the coronavirus pandemic

Throughout the month of April, GIA will presents this new blog series where funders share reflections and advice from different areas of the field as they strategize the most effective ways to approach recovery and response efforts. While we cannot know how this crisis will impact the future of the field, in this GIA blog series, funders will explore immediate and long-term strategies and respond to questions we are hearing from grantmakers. Check back each week as new post will be added regularly. You can explore all our COVID-19 resources here.

July 10, 2020 by admin

By Sharnita C. Johnson and Randy Engstrom

When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, like most people – and especially in my role as co-chair of the GIA Racial Equity Committee, with colleague Randy Engstrom, director at the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture – we agreed we wanted to say something to address the loss of life, ways of life, and the devastation the arts community was experiencing. While we literally work on opposite sides of the country, and in very different environments – Randy a public funder and me at a private foundation – we like most of our funding colleagues, sprang into action to get much needed resources to our grantee partners.

July 1, 2020 by Kerry McCarthy

As the coronavirus pandemic brought our city to a halt, The New York Community Trust and several philanthropic partners reached out to each other and quickly organized a powerful mobilization of funds to strengthen the city’s safety net.

The 18 lead partners created the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund to, in part, get urgently needed money to arts nonprofits whose survival was suddenly endangered. The needs across the city were enormous. But, because of our experience with previous catastrophic events such as September 11 and superstorm Sandy, we knew how we could respond: our grantmaking needed to be well-informed, precise, and go to where it would do the most good.

May 27, 2020 by tiffanywilhelm

Reflecting on: What advocacy is being done to address the needs of African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) arts communities in need of greater support?

At the top of my to-do list, I keep a list of links to resources that help me navigate philanthropy. They help me wrestle with questions like: how do I/we keep moving in the direction of justice? How can I/we acknowledge that systems of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism have been extracting resources and labor from land and people for centuries and that I/we’ve played a role in that? How can those of us in philanthropy (in its many forms) support the artists and organizers fighting to upend those systems with a myriad of strategies daily? Before the pandemic, during, and after. I’ve shared those links at the end of this post, and my work and words here are indebted to the individuals and collectives whose words are represented there, as well as many others.

May 20, 2020 by admin

From Esther Grimm and Meg Leary

Responding to: How can funders balance support for people or/and institutions knowing the impact of coronavirus pandemic has unequal impact across the arts ecosystem?

We are just two of the many partners involved in the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund (AIRF) effort that set sail in March. What follows is a glimpse into this work-in-progress from our vantage points at 3Arts and the Walder Foundation, along with some of our shared observations.

May 15, 2020 by admin

From Suzy Delvalle and Deana Haggag

Reflecting on: What recommendations do you have for how to create an equitable system of distribution for emergency relief funds?

Among the hardest hit in the COVID-19 crisis are the country’s over 2.5 million professional artists. Social distancing saves lives, but it has also cut off the livelihoods of artists across all disciplines. The answer — because social distancing is an absolute necessity — is an immediate and aggressive financial relief program. In response to this urgent need, on April 8th we launched Artist Relief, a coalition of seven arts grantmakers. While we can only speak to our own efforts, we hope that our experience can be a model for similar initiatives moving forward.

May 11, 2020 by admin

From NDN Collective, by Gaby Strong and Sarah Manning

Reflecting on: What advocacy is being done to address the needs of African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) arts communities in need of greater support?

The last four weeks at NDN Collective have been a poignant demonstration of Indigenous mobilization. We’ve seen this before. Our people have been here before. We are the survivors of disease and pandemics, of biological warfare, now called to respond and mobilize once again for the health and wellness of our people and the planet. We are up for it.

May 8, 2020 by Eleanor Savage

Reflecting on: How can funders apply an equity framework in this moment that’s based on need, lack of access to resources, etc.? Is this moment inherently different from responses to previous crises?

Earth Day 2020. I am sheltering in place in Minneapolis, MN, working from home. I have a Zoom meeting coming up on my calendar, but there’s time to squeeze in at least half of the Facebook Live event for Toshi Reagon’s concert version of Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower, produced by New York University Abu Dhabi. Toshi begins softly chanting “What you gonna do? What you gonna do? What you gonna do?” The chanting builds to the song “What You Gonna Do When This World’s On Fire.” A perfect exhortation for this time.

May 6, 2020 by admin

Mary Dell’Erba and Erika Hawthorne

Reflecting on: What resources are available for arts education organizations seeking immediate relief?

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and the many cancellations and shutdowns happening in response to it. Working through a crisis isn’t easy, and we applaud our colleagues for persevering to keep equitable access to arts education a priority as we adapt to a new normal.

May 1, 2020 by admin

From Dance/NYC by Alejandra Duque Cifuentes and Rosemary Reyes

Reflecting on: What are grantees asking for? How can funders listen and respond accordingly?

As a major service organization for dance in the metropolitan New York City area, Dance/NYC had to move quickly to address the needs of all of our constituents when COVID-19 arrived in March 2020.

April 29, 2020 by Brian McGuigan

Reflecting on: What are grantees asking for? How can funders listen and respond accordingly?

I have cried more in the last few weeks than I have in my entire life. My grief began the day Washington State Governor Jay Inslee banned large events in Seattle-area counties, effectively closing all cultural institutions, performance venues, and arts spaces. It was one of the State’s first steps in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Soon, a stay-at-home order would be issued, shuttering all non-essential businesses across Washington.