Member Spotlight on Robert B. McMillen Foundation
For the month of March 2016, GIA’s photo banner features art and projects supported by the Robert B. McMillen Foundation. The Foundation is a unique, private family foundation whose office is nestled in the heart of the Cascade Range in Washington State. Small but mighty, it is a statewide organization focused on medical research and the arts, with particular emphasis on supporting working artists and the arts as an economic driver to create vibrant communities.
Robert B. McMillen Foundation directly support artists through its scholarship program and indirectly through grants made to non-profit organizations who focus on art education and capacity building opportunities for artists. This includes several entry points for funding opportunities for the Foundation, which include: K-12 education and making sure the arts are included in every student’s basic education in Washington State; deepening professional development practice for artists while still in school; and partnering adjunct artists with classroom teachers to create exciting project-based learning opportunities for students.
When asked what The Foundation is currently excited about, its president, Cassandra Town, shared:
The two most exciting things the Foundation is working on right now are centered on the issues of Advocacy and Access.
Advocacy: Funding resources continue to be limited. As a field, we need to find and/or create new solutions. The Foundation will be looking to partner with local non-profit organizations to help develop Advocacy tools and training for both artists and arts based non-profits
Access: As the Foundation’s office is located East of the Cascades, we’ve identified the issue of inequitable access to the arts and art offerings in a rural setting. Through conversations and collaboration, our goal is to address the issue of access and help bridge the geographic divide between Eastern and Western Washington that seems to occur naturally in our State.
Foundations operating and providing support to artists and arts organizations in rural America serve an important part of the funding infrastructure across the country. At GIA, we strive to share the unique opportunities and challenges facing the creative sector in rural areas, and are glad to have funders like Robert B. McMillen Foundation help raise awareness in the field.
Robert B. McMillen Foundation has been a GIA member since 2013.