Giving Compass' Take:

• According to a new study, the nonprofit arts and culture sector in the South is seriously underfunded and the funding that is available is inequitably distributed.

• What ways can philanthropy expand the capacity of social justice in the South? What are alternative funding streams for nonprofits?

• Read about this foundation that went all-in for art activism. 

Based on interviews with grantmakers, artists, cultural activists, and community organizers, many of whom work with Black, LGBTQ, Indigenous, and other marginalized populations, the report, Freedom Maps: Activating legacies of culture, art, and activism in the U.S. South (39 pages, PDF), examined the practices and informal infrastructure that support the arts and culture in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

According to the report, many Southern practitioners work at the intersection between art, culture, and social justice work and are aware of the importance of building on the region's tradition of cultural organizing. At the same time, according to 2017 Foundation Center/Candid data, the arts sector in the South receives only $4.21 on a per capita basis in philanthropic support, compared with nearly $8 in the West, $9 in the Midwest, and more than $16 in the Northeast. The report also found that between 2015 and 2017, the 12 percent of arts and cultural organizations in the South that had annual budgets of at least $10 million received between 49 percent and 62 percent of total foundation funding for the arts, leaving a large majority of arts groups in the region to rely on other funding sources. As for public arts funding, state arts agencies in the South awarded about $0.50 on a per capita basis in 2016, while 9 percent of grants and only 2.5 percent of grant dollars awarded between 2007 and 2016 went to individual artists and 27 percent of grants but only 15.1 percent of grant dollars went to non-metro-area grantees.

Read the full article about the underfunding of Southern nonprofits and the arts by the team at Philanthropy News Digest.