Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are steps donors can take to drive progress toward more inclusive and equitable arts philanthropy.

• What role can equity play in your arts and culture giving strategy?

• Learn about how to improve equity in the arts.

It’s time for cultural philanthropy to get more creative. Encouraged by national organizations such as Grantmakers in the Arts, which is actively working to provide funders with new research, resources, and best practices, a small-but-growing number of funders are working with arts and culture organizations and individual donors to address inequities at the community level in creative, systemic ways.

Here’s a look at three steps funders can take to drive change toward more inclusive arts philanthropy, along with some examples from the field:

  • Commit to Achieving Clear, Concrete Goals It’s not enough to say you want to become more equitable. To make progress, arts funders must set explicit goals and develop concrete plans for improving their policies and practices. By setting goals around equity and inclusion, organizations maintain accountability and establish a shared understanding of what they seek to accomplish.
  • Engage Fellow Funders and Individual Donors Donors are most likely to give to an organization when they have a personal connection to its work. Many wealthy donors support big-name arts and culture organizations because they are more familiar with these organizations.
  • Commit to Collaborative Action As with any social issue, funders are more likely to achieve large-scale change if they share knowledge, pool financial resources, and speak with a united voice. Among arts and culture funders, long bound by tradition, collective action is particularly necessary.

Equity in the arts is an important missing ingredient in the larger social effort to increase equity. The good news is local arts and cultural institutions have the power to help drive equity and inclusion within and across communities by incubating diverse talent; illuminating unseen social issues; and improving civic vibrancy, health, and educational outcomes.

Read the full article about advancing equity in the arts by Kerry McCarthy and Maurine Knighton at Stanford Social Innovation Review.